Jarrett Hurd loses to Julian Williams, wants rematch
By Mark Eisner: Jarrett Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) lost his IBF/WBA junior middleweight titles last Saturday night in a close 12 round unanimous decision defeat to the more active, energetic and powerful challenger Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) at the EagleBank Arena, Fairfax, in Virginia. Hurd, 27, looked he physically wasn’t strong at the weight after rehydrating.
A rematch between Hurd and Williams wouldn’t be a good idea for Jarrett at this point based on what we saw from him last Saturday night. Hurd has so much to work on for him to get ready for a second fight with Williams. It would be better perhaps for Hurd mentally process his wounded pride, and move on in another direction to face other guys. In two or three years, Hurd might be ready for Williams, who would be older than and more beatable than he is now for his style of fighting.
Hurd didn’t mention why he lost, but it seemed patently obvious that the smothering tactics that the 29-year-old Williams used the entire fight helped him negate the punching power of Hurd. Williams stayed in close, making it a phone booth type fight on the inside, which worked his favor by preventing Hurd from getting the leverage on his shots that he needed.
Williams proved to be better fighter in close, and he was able to get more power on his shots. Hurd’s slow feet kept him from getting space between him and Williams so that he could land with more power. In Williams’ only career loss to Jermall Charlo in 2016, he attempted to smother him by getting in close, but Jermall made sure he could’t close the distance without getting hit hard. Hurd just let Williams walk in and stay on the inside the entire fight. Hurd fought Williams’ fight and failed to make adjustments.
The normal thudding power that Hurd has shown in his past fights at 154 wasn’t there last night. He looked like a guy that fighting on fumes from the moment the contest started. The judges scored the fight for Williams by the scores 116-111, 115-112, and 115-112. Afterwards, it was thought by boxing fans that Hurd, who is huge for a junior middleweight, would finally make an announcement that he’ll be moving up in eight to the 160-pound division. But that’s apparently not going to be happening. Hurd says he’s got a rematch clause in his contract for the Williams fight, and he’s going to exercise his contractual right for a rematch.
“I wasn’t able to get off. I can’t really call it right now. I have to go back and watch,” Hurd said. ”I was loading up on my shots instead of just letting my hands go,’’ Hurd said. “J-Rock was just the better man tonight. There’s definitely a rematch clause in our contract and I’m going to go for it. I’m going to come back better than I was tonight.’’
Hurd landed 249 of 800 shots for a 31 percent connect rate, according to CompuBox’s statistics for the fight. Williams landed at a considerably higher rate in connecting on 273 of 687 punches for a whopping 40% connect percentage. It wasn’t just Williams’ higher connect percentage and more punches landed, it was the power in the shots. Williams was hitting Hurd with more authority than he was hitting him back. Hurd had never been hit that many times in the fight. One reason that might explain for that is the fact that Hurd was loading up with everything he threw. He had to.
Williams knocked Hurd to the canvas in the second round with a big shot. Hurd said he was caught by surprise, and he wasn’t hurt from the knockdown. Nevertheless, being dropped put Hurd in a big hole in the first half of the contest that he was never able to work out of. Although the scores in the end of the fight suggested that it was a fairly close contest, it really wasn’t. Hurd was getting worked over. Hurd appeared to win two rounds during the fight. Boxing News 24 had it for Williams by 10 rounds to 2. It was a full scale route. Hurd had no clue what he was doing from round one, and he fought like a rank amateur at times, failing to make adjustments, and letting Williams stay on the inside. A good fighter would have created space between him and his smothering opponent, but Hurd didn’t even try. That was the troubling thing about his performance.
“It didn’t really change my strategy. It was a flash knockdown. It caught me by surprise,” Hurd said. ”I wasn’t really hurt. ‘J Rock’ was just the better man and I was never really able to get off the way I wanted to.”
In round three, Hurd connected with some big uppercuts on the inside, but the shots didn’t have enough power on them to dissuade Williams from firing back with his own hard punches. In the last part of the round, Williams hurt Hurd with a left to the head while they were in close. Hurd’s defense has never been good, but he was there to be hit by everything that Williams threw at him last night. Hurd isn’t skilled at fighting in close, and Williams and his team clearly understood that from watching the video of his past fights.
In the fifth round, the 6’1” Hurd appeared to be taking over the fight after Williams with some big shots in close while the two of them were exchanging big punches on the inside. Although Williams was doing a good job of smothering Hurd’s power by not giving him any space to get leverage on his shots, he was still able to hurt him with some short punches to the head and body. Hurd used his natural size advantage to trouble Williams in close.
In round eight, Hurd suffered a cut over his right eye from a hard shot from Williams. It’s not surprising that Hurd was cut, because he was getting nailed with a lot of flush shots from Williams, who was able to get a lot of power on his punches from close range. Hurd perhaps didn’t do his homework to know what kind of inside ability that Williams had. In many of Williams’ fights in the past, he would stay at medium to long range to throw his punches, but not last night. Last night, Williams made sure that he stayed in close to Hurd to keep him from being able to connect the way he’d done in his wins over Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and Jason Welborn.
“He was crafty and he had heavy hands. I just stayed poised,” Williams said about Hurd. “I listened to my coach and I just worked. He couldn’t hurt me. I saw everything he was throwing. I knocked him down.”
Williams is right about Hurd not being able to hurt him with anything that he connected on. The much taller 6’1″ Hurd wasn’t able to put the power on his shots that he needed to on the inside to wear down the 5’10” Williams the way that he’d done in his fights against other opponents. Hurd needed distance to get the power on his punches, but Williams wouldn’t let him get space to throw his shots from range.