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Jarrett Hurd not taking Julian Williams lightly, and doesn’t see a problem with starting slow in fights

The titleholder gets a home main event this Saturday on FOX.

Jarrett Hurd v Jason Welborn Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Jarrett Hurd is set to defend his WBA and IBF junior middleweight titles this Saturday in a PBC on FOX main event from Fairfax, Virginia, and the 28-year-old titleholder appeared on this weekend’s Inside PBC Boxing to discuss the matchup and how the preparations have gone.

Hurd (23-0, 16 KO) is from Accokeek, Maryland, and is getting what amounts to a home fight this time out, as Fairfax is just about 30 miles away. Boxing fans often want to see more “local” type events like this — including myself, because it just makes for better atmosphere — but some fighters do get bothered fighting closer to home.

Hurd says it hasn’t been a big deal for him, though, other than relatives and friends asking him for tickets.

“It doesn’t stress me out. The only thing I was worried about is being bugged by my family members and the ones close to me about the event being at home,” he said. “When you fight out of town, the last week you really get to yourself, you’re away from everything and you focus on the fight. That was the only thing I was worried about, was they would be bugging me for tickets and things like that. And I was definitely right, they was worrying me to death.”

Philadelphia’s Williams (26-1-1, 16 KO) is certainly the underdog here, as he tries for a world title for the second time following a 2016 knockout loss to Jermall Charlo. Williams fought well in that fight before being overpowered, and many are expecting a similar result this time, but Hurd isn’t taking “J Rock” lightly at all.

“I know that this is a big opportunity for him, so I know he’s coming fully prepared,” he said. “This is a chance to win not only one title but two titles. I’m just expecting the best Julian Williams, and a good Julian Williams is always a dangerous one.”

Hurd has become known in the division for his natural size advantages — he’s 6’1” and has a long reach, and he generally looks huge compared to opponents on fight night, which he acknowledges and says leads to opponents doing their best to outbox him, while he tries to wear them out and beat them down.

“Me being the size of fighter I am and how big I am for the weight class, I don’t see anyone doing anything different other than trying to box, score and outpoint me, and the next thing I know, I look up and 12 rounds are over,” he said. “So I don’t expect him to stand toe-to-toe or bring the fight to me. I will have to bring the fight to him, and he’ll try to outbox me, use his skills — he’s maybe a tad sharper than me in some spots, and he’ll try to use that.”

The other, less flattering thing that Hurd is known for is starting slow in fights, which we even saw in December, when he knocked out Jason Welborn with a body shot in the fourth round.

Welborn, knowing Hurd starts slow, did his best to attack quickly and try to get to Hurd in the early rounds, but he just didn’t have the power to bother Hurd, who seemingly flipped a switch and just wiped out the game but overmatched Welborn.

Hurd, though, doesn’t see the slow starts as a big issue, and says he’ll continue doing what he does.

“The first or second round, I’m gonna go out there and feel my opponent out, because we’re both fresh, we’re both cold, I don’t wanna go out there and run into anything or go out there and make any stupid mistakes,” he said. “So the first two rounds for me is the feeling out process. Sometimes it may take three or four rounds, but for sure the first two rounds are always gonna be a feeling out process.”

He was also asked if it bothers him that he’s an unbeaten guy with two titles, but doesn’t see his name on pound-for-pound lists.

“At the end of the day, the pound-for-pound list is only opinion,” he said. “I do think about that sometimes, but I don’t worry too much, because I know in the future I’ll be up there.”

Hurd vs Williams headlines a FOX tripleheader on Saturday, beginning at 8:00 pm ET. The show will also air on ITV4 in the United Kingdom. Bad Left Hook will have live coverage.

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