Former 154-pound titleholder Jarrett Hurd was a guest on the PBC Podcast this week, and talked about his training, what he wants to do next, and his main goal, a fight with three-belt titlist Jermell Charlo.
Hurd (24-1, 16 KO) remains a strong contender in an exciting, competitive division, where PBC has the bulk of the top fighters and thus can make good fights consistently if they so choose.
Last we saw the Maryland native, Hurd won a decision over Francisco Santana in Jan. 2020, working to box more and brawl a bit less. Reactions to the performance were mixed, but it was a clear win, and Hurd, now 30, says that while he and trainer Kay Coroma have worked on the boxing, it’s more to mix up his approach than totally change it.
“I’ve still got that old Jarrett in me,” he said with a chuckle. “Basically it’s trying to get back to something I got away from. Fight after fight after fight, I was walking guys down, using my size, using my engine to overwhelm and try to wear these fighters down. Unfortunately when I tried that in the Julian Williams fight, that just wasn’t enough, and I needed to switch it up to plan B. Instead of fighting and trying to wear him down, get back on my jab and use my skills, and that’s what we’re trying to get back to, so I can have that arsenal in my back pocket if I need it.”
The 2019 loss to Julian Williams clearly still stings Hurd, and he says he’d like to get a rematch, though he’s more focused on titles at the moment. Hurd feels he did learn something in the fight, and that it caused him to change his approach some.
“I feel like if I fought Julian Williams the very next day, I would have won. It’s just that I went in the fight with the wrong game plan and I didn’t switch it up,” he said. “I just had my mind focused on overwhelming him, breaking him down until he got tired. Not thinking that, man, this is the biggest fight of his career, he trained for this, he’s not gonna get tired.
“I just had a one-track mind to continue doing it until he (breaks down), and next I know, 12 rounds is over. What it did was teach me not to go into a fight with just a game plan, have multiple.”
Hurd doesn’t currently have a fight scheduled, but says Al Haymon has told him to stay ready, and that they’re working on a return date. He’s got one main opponent in mind, but also is prepared to fight otherwise if need be.
“The way I’ve been training, I’m staying sharp, so I’m ready for anyone. It doesn’t matter right now,” he said. “I’ll take some pretty big names (as a tune-up), but what I really want to do, the fight I want, I want the (Jermell) Charlo fight, man.”
There was a time when a Charlo-Hurd fight was seemingly the fight to make at 154 pounds, and Hurd feels it’s still the most notable fight for the division.
“Brian Castano has a title and all that, they could (fight for) an undisputed championship at 154, but to be honest, the biggest fight at 154 is me versus Jermell Charlo,” he said. “Even though I had a setback with ‘J Rock,’ and he lost to Tony Harrison, he was able to avenge the loss. But there’s still a lot of unanswered questions of who’s really the best at 154 until we face each other.”
Hurd does have respect for Castano, who just won the WBO title from Patrick Teixeira, and himself wants to face Charlo for all four major belts at junior middleweight. If they do fight next, Hurd heavily favors Charlo.
“I’d give it to Jermell. Brian Castano is a great fighter, I just think that him being so close range with his height, I think Jermell would be able to be on the outside and land some solid punches,” he said. “I wouldn’t say he’d stop him, because I’ve seen too many fights on how good Brian Castano’s chin is and how sturdy he is as a fighter, but I know for a fact Jermell would get the win.”
Hurd says he’s probably got about a year left to fight at 154 before he’ll have to move up to 160, which has long been a question just on how big he is at the weight, not just in height or anything, but the way he’s built, where he often looks notably bigger than opponents on fight night. And it is, again, the Charlo fight he wants to get before he has to go up in weight.
“I told myself I would stay here as long as I can, I just want to fight Jermell. I only say that because of the back-and-forth we had, and I don’t want to move up without those answers for myself,” he said. “I want to let the world see I’m the best 154-pounder until I move up to 160. Hopefully it’s not too far around the corner. If I had to answer how long I’ll be at 154, I’d say for maybe another year and I’ll move up.”