While and after Erislandy Lara had his way with Terrell Gausha at Barclays Center on the October 14 card dominated by 154 pound aces, there wasn’t a resultant buzz eruption.
There was no mass of fans Tweeting excitedly about what they wanted to see Lara doing next.
No surprise, really, being that the Cuban-born Floridian so handily dealt with the Ohioan Gausha that there wasn’t a lick of drama seen in the 12-round title defense for the victor.
The bout served as the main event at the arena and on Showtime, in retrospect perhaps a decision suits would like back, after the Jarrett Hurd-Austin Trout tango over-delivered, with Hurd needing to make a push in the latter rounds to grind down the savvy vet Trout, who was popping and sliding for as long as his legs allowed, and Jermell Charlo Godzilla-stomped his foe.
After that night, Hurd got props, though of course the Twitter nit pickers grumbled that “he gets hit too much” and other such dissective slams. Trout got props for giving a great go of it, and Jermell Charlo grabbed buzz by the fistful, with his first round demo job on Erickson Lubin.
Kick it forward to the new year, a few months later, and most of those guys topping that card are looking for new hills to climb. And there is indeed an appetite to see Lara in the ring again, even after he didn’t offer shock and/or awe in Brooklyn. The craving comes from, how about this, Hurd, who would very much like to see himself try and hand Lara his third loss as a pro. Only, this time, around, he wants that done in a way that removes any arguments or debate about whether said loss was deserved.
The 27-year-old Hurd popped onto radar screens when he downed Frank Galarza on ShoBox in 2015. He followed that up with a W over Oscar Molina, at Barclays Center, and I thought, on that night, he’d seen be getting a title shot. Indeed; one win over Jo Jo Dan, and then he took on Tony Harrison, with the IBF’s 154 title, vacant, up for grabs. Hurd, who lives in Accokeek, Maryland, chatted with us on Tuesday, after a training session.
Trainer Ernesto Rodriguez put him on the line, and he laid out his new year kickoff wish list.
“I definitely want a fight with Lara to be signed,” Hurd, owning a 21-0 (15 KOs) mark, told me. “(My people) talked to Lara’s manager, they are trying for April, it sounds like. I definitely think it’s going to happen.”
Interesting; the fans were sitting on their hands during the Lara-Gausha match…Lara (25-2-2) is technically quite proficient…he’s no easy out…you have to force him into not doing what he wants to do…a fan-friendly match is not a given. So…why, Hurd?
“I think no matter who I fight, it’s going to be exciting. Lara, and his style, people don’t always want to see that, but I can look at it and appreciate it. He sometimes out-classes guys and then he doesn’t pick it up. I can assure you, Hurd versus Lara, it’s not going to be that sort of fight. I’m not going to fight his fight, he’s going to fight the fight at my pace.”
Hurd took the time to enjoy the holiday. He hung with his galpal, and very much enjoyed the love he gets when he’s out and about in town. Some NFLers come from that spot, and Hurd said that he too gets pats on the backs and attaboys from locals.
He’s not taking on the boo birds on social who would have found holes in Sugar Ray Robinson’s game and taken that to Twitter. As for the dissectors, “there’s always something I could do better,” he says, generously toward those harsh-tongues. “If you don’t have haters, you aren’t doing something right.”
He knows the strides he’s made, and wouldn’t trade trainer Ernesto Rodriguez (age 43; 8–0 as a pro ’97-’99; retired to get stable job; spent 17 years as a cop) for any of the “all-stars” who win BWAA awards, it sounds like.
“I’ve been criticized my last two fights, for getting hit. And of course, I do want to get hit less! But I fought that certain way against Trout on purpose. I wanted to make a big statement. And it caused me to get hit. But Ernesto envisioned this all a long time ago. He’s one of the best in the world. (Rodriguez took the lead reigns when head coach Tom Browner died two years before Hurd turned pro, in 2012).
“It’s falling into place the way we want it to be. He’s like the wizard. And he’s saying I’m gonna stop Lara! And I think most definitely I can stop him. I know Lara is a survivor…but he has losses and draws, none convincing. Some people think he won all of them. But I will win decisively.”
My three cents: Pure props to Hurd for wanting to saddle up on the crafty Cuban. He’s near impossible to look great against. No matter what that fight looks like, Hurd deserves back pats for craving it. And I’m not down with the dissectors, in case you haven’t read between those lines. Hurd has some intangibles that are, I believe, more meaningful than any defensive deficiency or what have you.