Jarrett “Swift” Hurd’s First Title Defense is a Serious Challenge
By Eric Lunger
There is a perception in boxing today that too many fighters, when they finally reach that goal of grabbing their first belt, spend too much time resting on their laurels, maybe trying to maximize their earning power by dusting a few weak challengers. And who can blame them, really? Success in boxing requires years of sacrifice and rigorous training, so once a fighter reaches the top, there is no hurry to risk that coveted position.
So big respect to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs), who has set his first title defense against Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs). Hurd, who proudly hails from Accokeek, Maryland, won the IBF super welterweight belt last February in a tactical and very professional stoppage of well-regarded veteran Tony Harrison (24-2, 20 KOs). Although it was Hurd’s first title fight, he approached the bout methodically and patiently, doing some serious bodywork with his left hook and waiting for an opening. Hurd was also surprisingly versatile in this bout, working behind the jab from range but also comfortable and effective on the inside. Hurd is classically trained, so to speak, and takes pride in being able to display all aspects of the craft.
Austin Trout, from Las Cruces, New Mexico, is a serious threat. He has a long professional resume — he fought Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, and Canelo Alvarez back to back — and he brings a tricky, southpaw style into the ring. Trout has a full professional tool kit and enough experience to make adjustments during the fight. His last bout, against rising star Jermall Charlo, was a close unanimous decision loss (116-112, 115-113, 116-112). While making no excuses, Trout was bitterly disappointed with his loss to Charlo, and the Hurd fight might be his last chance to regain a top spot in the division.
As I see it, Hurd still has some defensive issues that Trout may be able to exploit, while Trout is vulnerable to a short right counter when he fights on his front foot. This bout may hinge on ring IQ and ring adjustment — which fighter will be able to solve his opponent first?
This will be an exciting card, also featuringMikey Garcia vs. Adrian Broner. Garcia, a multiple division champ, is moving up to 140 lbs. Having put his legal issues behind him, Garcia destroyed an overmatched Dejan Zlaticanin in a scary knockout in January, and he is looking to make up lost time. Technically proficient, Garcia sits down on his punches, generates real power, and has a mean streak when he steps between the ropes. No disrespect to Broner, who is a warrior in the ring whatever problems he may have away from boxing, but I think Garcia will clean out most of the division, setting up a potential super-fight showdown with Terence Crawford.
Showtime is broadcasting the fight on July 29th and it looks like the card will land at Barkley’s Center in Brooklyn, a fantastic venue for boxing.