American boxing is in desperate need of a new poster boy. Floyd Mayweather is retired perhaps he will have one last fight with Pacquiao but that’s ultimately irrelevant he’s 41 and done fighting the best fighters in the world. Someone needs to take the torch There are lots of outstanding candidates, namely Errol Spence and Terence Bud Crawford but both those men seem reluctant to fight each other. There is one man who is willing to take any fight, unified 154-pound champ, Jarrett Hurd. Unlike many of the sports other poster boys who had Olympic success and were given a major platform on day one of the professional careers, like Oscar, Floyd, and Andre Ward, Hurd had less than a stellar start and had to scratch and claw for every inch has gotten thus far.
Hurd was raised in suburban Accokeek, Maryland and graduated from Gwynn Park High School a middle-class neighborhood and middle-class high school and had two professional parents. He wasn’t a stand-out amateur, compiling a 32-8 record in 40 amateurs not exactly the stereotypical background of a ferocious world champion. However, despite Hurd’s lack of achievement a DC area promotional outfit called Keystone Boxing took note of Hurd, who made professional debut on September 2012. Swift had a successful but mostly unheard of beginning to his career putting together 16 straight wins before finally making it to television on Showtime’s ShoBox and he pulled an upset over previously unbeaten and highly regarded prospect Frank Galarza, Swift started slowly but picked up the pace and broke Galarza down and stopped his opponent. Upsets and wearing his opponents down two trends that seem to follow Hurd around
Hurd’s rise from unknown prospect to world champion was “Swift” to say the least. In a 16 month span he went from pulling an upset over Jo Jo Dan then Tony Harrison then shocking come from behind upsets over both Austin Trout and future hall of famer and Pound for Pound elite Erislandy Lara. In 16 months Hurd went from unknown to all but the hardest of hardcore fans to pound for pound elite and a unified champion in one of the boxings most loaded divisions. A rise that was so quick and unexpected that it almost didn’t happen. Hurd was considering giving up boxing to be a firefighter, becoming a world champion was equally unexpected. Just weeks before his fight with Harrison, IBF Champ Jeramall Charlo vacated his belt to move up to middleweight, making the Hurd/Harrison fight from a title eliminator to a world title fight for the now-vacant IBF Jr Middleweight strap. Hurd drove from his home in Maryland to the arena in Alabama in a rented van, went in won the world title and took it back through the metal detector and flew it home via coach. Not exactly the glitz and glamour we associate with so many other world champions.
Often times a newly minted world champ will take a “gimme” as his first title defense a softer touch, a victory lap to celebrate their new crown. Hurd wasn’t about to do that, in his first defense he took the biggest challenge of his career former world champ, Austin Trout. Hurd started slow, but wore Trout down and got the upset victory. He then made a unification fight with the 154-pound kingpin and WBA champ Erislandy Lara, a fight where he was supposed to be outclassed and exposed. Instead, Hurd started slowly but wore Lara down, dropped him in the final round and pulled the upset on what is thus far in 2018 the fight of the year.
The future is more than bright for Hurd, he has the personality, the story, the fan-friendly style, and the will to be the next great face of American boxing, in addition, he is in the weight class that can make him that level of superstar quite swiftly. A rematch of the fight of the year is an option, a fight with Kell Brook, a mismatch that Hurd would almost certainly win by knockout and would be quite profitable and better introduce his unique skill set to the UK sweet science fans a unification fight with Jermell Charlo would be an incredibly hot ticket. However, the fight that would captivate the imagination of the fight fans would be a toe to toe slugfest with 21-year old Mexican and Golden Boy protege Jaime Mungia a monstrous puncher who is defensively flawed. A Hurd/Munguia unification fight would feature off the charts knockout punching and nonstop come forward action between perhaps the two biggest Jr. Middleweights we have ever seen. In addition to that Hurd has said he is more than willing to stay at 154 and take on Errol Spence a fellow pound for pound elite who currently holds the IBF welterweight strap. At a time where seemingly everyone on the Al Haymon/PBC/Showtime side have conveniently found an excuse to not fight Spence, Hurd is actively pursuing a fight with the so-called boogeyman, challenging him and calling him out, doing the same thing Hurd has always done take the toughest fight possible go in and break his man down and beat him late.
If Hurd could beat a couple of the names on the list and do it in his same entertaining style and in the fashion he hasn’t wavered from so far in his career he will have the names on his resume and the fan-friendly style wins that will make him a mega-crossover star that would all lead up to a dream fight at 160 with Canelo Alvarez, the biggest draw in the sport. We are projecting here, as the fight is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, hasn’t been discussed and Hurd would enter as a prohibitive underdog. Canelo has a major gas tank problem, he has faded late in fights in all of his notable fights except for the first GGG bout which is now highly questionable due to failing two drug tests in preparation for his rematch, a rematch Canelo faded late and let GGG rally late and capture the last three rounds in the eyes of most fans. Fading late against Jarrett Hurd is a recipe for disaster and a recipe to end up flat on your back and that’s Canelo’s Achilles heel. With all the names at 147-154 and Hurd’s outgoing personality, fan-friendly style and willingness to fight anyone at any time and Canelo who may be tailor-made for Hurd being the biggest draw and cash cow of the sport gives Hurd a clear-cut path to being the biggest star and next great face of American boxing, he just needs to be persistent wear down his opponent and pull the upset.