Jarrett Hurd and Julian Williams will headline tomorrow night on FOX, with two 154-pound titles on the line in Fairfax, Virginia. We offer our thoughts and predictions.
Julian Williams is a good boxer and a legitimate top 10 fighter at 154 pounds, but I think Hurd is just all wrong for him. Hurd’s size and ability to impose his will on opponents has been clear in wins over Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, and Tony Harrison.
Lara went the full 12, barely, but Trout and Harrison got broken down and stopped after having some early success boxing Hurd, who is not the slickest guy or anything. There will come a point — perhaps when he moves to 160 — that Hurd will meet his match, either someone he can’t physically bully or someone who is too good of a boxer for him to negate their advantages with his style. But it won’t be Saturday. Williams is no pushover, but this matchup is going to be hell for him. Hurd TKO-7
This should be a good fight! Julian Williams is a really good, competent boxer who has a pretty well-rounded skill set and hasn’t appeared to be ruined by his knockout loss to Jermall Charlo in late 2016. That said, Hurd has taken on top quality operators such as Erislandy Lara before and come through victorious. The thing here is that Hurd is generally a match-up nightmare for just about everyone at 154lbs. He’s physically huge for the weight class, appears to have a cast-iron chin, and probably has the best motor of all the top fighters in the division.
Hurd may be a slow starter, which he acknowledges, but because he eats such a good shot it generally doesn’t put him in much danger before he starts coming on. And once Hurd starts coming on, he just doesn’t stop. That kind of pressure can be overwhelming, and until someone cracks Hurd’s chin — which I don’t see Williams doing — it’ll continue to wear on opponents. Therefore I predict Williams fighting a tactically solid fight for a few rounds until Hurd flips the switch and decides to tank some punches in order to land his own. From there I see Williams fading from Hurd’s constant pressure attack by the mid-rounds before Hurd eventually accumulates enough damage to finish him off. Hurd TKO-8
Patrick L. Stumberg
I’ll admit to a bit of personal bias here, as Hurd is among my favorite fighters in the sport, but this doesn’t seem like a terribly tough out for him. Having competitive fights with Ishe Smith and Nathaniel Gallimore doesn’t exactly convince me that “J-Rock” is ready to hop back onto the world stage.
We’ve seen Williams struggle with lesser foes than Hurd and we’ve seen Hurd make his power work against greater foes than Williams. “Swift” finds the mark with one of those point-blank bombs of his sometime in the middle rounds. Hurd TKO-6
If Williams is to get any success in Virginia, I fully expect it to come in the opening stanzas of the fight. Hurd’s physicality can’t be ignored in this defence of his junior middleweight titles, with a considerable reach advantage sure to limit “J Rock” in their exchanges. I expect Hurd to come rumbling forward in the second half of the fight and systematically break down Williams. Williams is a solid contender, but he has arguably reached the ceiling of his talent. Hurd will have to be patient (which he has shown in his slow start to contests), but should eventually get the stoppage. Hurd TKO-8