On Saturday, April 7, 2018, IBF Super Welterweight titleholder “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KO) will look to pave his way to super stardom by defeating IBO and WBA champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (25-2-2, 14 KO).
Lara comes into this fight having won six of his last seven bouts, his only loss coming by controversial split decision to Canelo Alvarez. Hurd has yet to lose in his professional career and comes into fight night on a seven-fight knockout streak.
Both fighters are eager to unify their belts and move on to face WBC titleholder, Jermell Charlo in the future.
Continue reading to see the three keys that will help Hurd unify those belts and rise to new heights in the 154-pound division.
1. Watch for the Patterns
Erislandy Lara has deceptive power, having floored three of his last four opponents with the left uppercut alone. The catch that comes with this however is that his most powerful shots come off the back foot.
As talented as Lara is, his ability to begin and sustain an attack is his most lacking attribute, and it shows through patterns.
In his fights against both Terrell Gausha and Yuri Foreman, he began his attacks similarly every time: coming in from straight ahead throwing either a basic one-two combination or a wide overhand right followed directly by an attempt to smother his opponent.
Gausha noticed this in their matchup and timed it perfectly, landing his best shot of the night and stunning Lara momentarily.
If Jarrett Hurd can time this, he can hurt and pressure Lara, forcing him to be uncomfortable and abandoning his game plan at critical moments in the fight.
2. Turn Up the Volume
Although his attack is lacking, Erislandy Lara is one of the best defensive fighters in boxing currently. He is so confident in his defensive abilities in fact, that he puts himself in corners at times, often coming out unscathed.
In the fight against Yuri Foreman however, Lara found himself smothered by Foreman’s constant pressure in the opening rounds of the fight. Jarrett Hurd must keep Lara uncomfortable throughout the fight by forcing him out of the middle of the ring and constantly pressuring him.
Hurd must also learn from Foreman’s mistakes however. Foreman noticed his early success and got too excited, opening himself up more and he paid the ultimate price for it, getting knocked out by a hard left uppercut from the inside.
If Hurd can keep himself calm and collected whilst maintaining constant pressure on Lara, his chances of victory should increase substantially.
3. Watch your Feet
One of the problems almost every orthodox fighter faces against a southpaw is their feet will often get stepped on, prohibiting them from being able to move properly. Erislandy Lara uses this tactic often against his opponents.
He will often step on the lead foot of his opponent as they are against the ropes and throw multiple combinations. Because of his foot, they are unable to pivot away and are either thrown off balance or trapped and forced to take some of his punches.
The best way for Jarrett Hurd to avoid this would be, firstly, to use his longer reach and stay on the offensive, not allowing Lara to catch him against the ropes. The second thing “Swift” must do is, if caught in the trap, stay patient and focus on a timed counter punch.
If Hurd can land one counter punch whilst caught in the trap, even if it does not stun Lara, it will stick in his mind throughout the night, causing him to think twice before stepping on Hurd’s foot again.
Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing