IN PHOTOS: 5 Things We Learned About Julian Williams and Jarrett Hurd Over the Weekend—Charlo, Hopkins, Marquez, More!
By Paul R. Jones! May 12, 2019 – During a week when one of the stock market’s most anticipated IPOs in decades—for rideshare giant Uber—tumbled in its trading debut, Julian “J Rock” Williams’ (27-1-1, 1 NC 16 KOs) stock soared after beating former 154-pound champ “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision on Saturday night at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
No hyperbole, Hurd vs Williams was an instant classic. An obvious Fight of the Year and Upset of the Year candidate all rolled into one.
If you missed it, shame on you.
Nevertheless, here are 5 things that we learned about newly-minted IBF, WBA, and IBO World Champ Julian Williams and Jarrett Hurd over the weekend:
1 – Team Williams did its homework.
Williams’ trainer, Stephen Edwards, might be one of the sharpest cornermen that you’ve never heard of. He always has Williams physically prepared for fights, which is a byproduct of Williams’ work ethic and implementing novel training techniques (e.g., hypoxic training).
However, Edwards and Williams deserve credit for their mental preparation for Hurd, which undoubtedly included hours of film study looking for Hurd’s tells.
Obviously, they found a few.
“We studied [Hurd]. Both me and Julian,” Edwards explained. “We had him down pat. We knew Julian was stronger.”
Added Williams, “We knew [Hurd] had certain tendencies and [we] worked on his tendencies.”
This was clearly evident in the clinches. For instance, when Hurd looked to clinch with Williams, Williams used this lull in the action as an opportunity to pounce on Hurd.
In fact, it was Williams’ ability to “bump” Hurd off with his left shoulder while in the clinch (creating space), followed by a fastball right hand to Hurd’s temple, that produced the fight’s only knockdown. This subtle movement-punch combo was elegant in its simplicity, but befuddled Hurd throughout the fight.
Williams’ even impressed Hurd with his infighting. “He is a lot sharper than I expected,” said Hurd.
“I knew he had great inside game. It was a little better than I expected,” Hurd added. “He landed some great shots inside.”
2- Reports of Williams’ lacking defense are greatly exaggerated.
I don’t mean to sound Twainian, but boxing pundits and fans were generally bearish on Williams’ chin and defense following his knockout loss to Jermall Charlo in 2016.
Yet, against Hurd, Williams’ “presumed” deficit became his biggest surfeit. A clear indicator: Williams stifled Hurd’s normal punch output, holding the former champ to an anemic 16% of his jabs landed, according to CompuBox figures.
3 – It sounds cliché, but fights aren’t won on paper.
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, considering that Hurd was a prohibitive favorite among Vegas bookies and predicted to win by 82% of people polled by Premier Boxing Champions, Williams clicked on all cylinders and buzzed through the hard-charging Hurd in way that no opponent has to date.
“The whole world doubted me,” said Williams. “I went into this fight a 5-to-1 underdog . . . . [But] he couldn’t hurt me.”
Not only could Hurd not hurt the 29-year-old Williams, but the fighter dubbed “Swift” looked a step slower on Saturday.
Williams made a similar observation: “I saw everything [Hurd] was throwing,” he said. “I just stayed poised. . . listened to my coach and I just worked,” Williams added.
And make no mistake, Williams’ win wasn’t a fluke.
No, it felt more like Williams ripped a page from the playbook of former Undisputed Middleweight Champion Bernard Hopkins and the late “Bouie” Fisher on how to clinically dissect a pound-for-pound level fighter in enemy territory.
4 – There’s a “blueprint” for beating Hurd, but it isn’t easy to execute.
Like football, boxing is a copycat sport. So, it won’t take long for fighters at (or near) junior middleweight to try to replicate Williams’ plan should they ever face Hurd.
At minimum, beating Hurd requires a sturdy chin, respectable power, and equal measures of ring IQ and high-octane cardio.
You also need sound punch placement, a solid inside game, the ability to turn Hurd and use angles, and the hutzpah to force the Marylander to fight backing up.
Williams showed proficiency in all of these areas on Saturday.
In fact, he out-punched and out-landed Hurd more so than any other opponent Hurd’s faced per CompuBox stats.
Team Hurd will have to correct their mistakes ASAP, unless other fighters will surely exploit them.
5 – There are no moral victories in boxing, but Hurd can hang his hat on these two things.
First, Hurd showed he can handle what former World Champion and SHOBOX expert analyst Raul Marquez considers “level 2 adversity.” This level of hardship occurs when a fighter is hurt, busted up, and put on his wallet early in a fight, but gets back up to continue on without knowing what will happen over the second half of a fight.
The fact that Hurd experienced such adversity, and managed to fight on over the course of 12 rounds bodes well for the former champ.
It will also be an invaluable lesson and confidence builder for Hurd moving forward.
Second, a loss is sometimes a blessing in disguise. In Hurd’s case, taking an “L” might help pave the way to fights that may have been redlined in the past.
I also suspect that, after losing to Williams, Hurd will see an uptick in his phone messages placed by fighters believing that they have the chops to duplicate Williams’ success.
Let’s also remember that, as reported by Steve Kim of ESPN, Hurd has a rematch clause for a Hurd vs. Williams reboot.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the duo will honor the clause and #RunItBack sometime soon.
■ About Paul R. Jones!
Paul R. Jones! is a boxing writer and ringside photographer for Boxing News 24. A scientist by day and boxing writer by night, he covers the humorous, offbeat, and absurd from the sport of boxing. Paul’s articles have appeared in PEDIATRICS, Race and Social Problems, and Motivation and Emotion, and he’s covered boxing online for East Side Boxing, BOXINGINSIDER, TheFightJournal, and WRAPSONTV.
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