PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder will return to his home state at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama to defend his title against top rated and unbeaten heavyweight contender Gerald Washington live on the Fox network.
The co-main event of the night will be between Jarrett Hurd and Tony Harrison for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Fox Sports 1 will also feature some of the undercard bouts, which include a heavyweight fight between Dominic Breazeale and Izuagbe Ugonoh as well as rising prospect Caleb Plant.
The following is a preview of the two title fights set to be televised on Saturday night.
Tony Harrison (24-1) vs. Jarrett Hurd (19-0); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
The first world title fight to be televised will be a very competitive one and is a tough bout to pick.
Harrison and Hurd have very similar physical characteristics. Surprisingly, both boxers are 6’1” tall and both fighters have a reach of 76 ½”. Both boxers are also the same age and are in the midst of their athletic prime at twenty six years old.
Harrison, a Detroit, Michigan native, has a slight edge in amateur experience and success and comes from a boxing family. Both his Father Ali Salaam and Grandfather Henry Hank competed professionally with moderate to good success as a boxer. Harrison was also previously trained by the late, great, Emmanuel Steward.
Both boxers have also been very active in the past two years. Harrison fought two times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Hurd has never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Ionut Dan Ion, Oscar Molina, Frank Galarza, and Jeff Lentz. He has won his past five fights by knockout.
Harrison has defeated the likes of Siarhei Rabchanka, Fernando Guerrero, Antwone Smith, Tyrone Brunson, Bronco McKart, and Grady Brewer. His lone loss was to Willie Nelson.
This is a tough bout to pick, but when Harrison fought someone at the level of Jarret Hurd he came up short. Hurd’s power is at least equal to that of Willie Nelson, and Harrison’s confidence may not be where it’s needed to defeat someone like Jarrett Hurd since his knockout loss.
This writer has to give Jarrett Hurd a slight edge over Tony Harrison.
Deontay Wilder (37-0) vs. Gerald Washington (18-0-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
Deontay Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Andrzej Wawrzyk, and received heavy criticism for his choice of opponents, but that bout was cancelled due to Wawrzyk failing a pre-fight drug test.
Gerald Washington was chosen as a replacement opponent despite the fact other well known heavyweights such as Louis Ortiz offered to fight Wilder as a replacement.
Wilder is three years younger than his opponent and will have a one inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage. Wilder also has a much deeper amateur background. Wilder won the bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the United States. Washington has no amateur accomplishments to speak of. However, Washington does have an athletic background as he played tight end and defense end for the University of Southern California and played on the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills.
Washington started boxing late and made his pro debut at the age of thirty. He has stopped twelve of his opponents. Wilder has stopped thirty six of his opponents and the only man to last all twelve rounds with him was former world title holder Bermane Stiverne. Wilder has stopped four of his past five opponents while Washington has only stopped two of his past five opponents.
Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Washington fought twice in 2016 and in 2015. Wilder fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Wilder clearly has the better professional resume. He has beaten the likes of Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johan Suhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich. Washington has defeated the likes of Ray Austin and Eddie Chambers and had a controversial draw with Amir Mansour.
Washington is a tremendous athlete, but he is not on the level of World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder. Wilder is fighting in front of his hometown fans and will likely put on another exciting stoppage victory for them to enjoy.