WBA (Super) & IBF Junior Middleweight Champ Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (23-0, 16KOs) will defend his titles against the #1 IBF ranked boxer, Julian “J-Rock” Williams on Saturday, May 11 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, VA. This should be a good fight. Hurd is the clear favorite but it should still be competitive, at least for the first half of the fight. It depends how well J-Rock can deal with the physicality of Hurd and how he avoids any devastating punishment.
Hurd is coming off a KO win against the underwhelming British boxer, Jason Welborn (24-7, 7 KOs). It was his first fight back since getting surgery on his shoulder for a torn rotator cuff. He didn’t look great, but I believe he was trying to get rounds in early or maybe it was just his classic slow start. When Welborn started landing clean shots, Hurd just walked him down and took him out. The first three rounds were competitive, and then it just looked like Hurd switched gears and turned it up five notches.
This fight should be more of a test for him. He has a major reach advantage going into the fight. He’s listed at 6’1 with a 76 1/2 inch reach versus Williams who is 5’10 with a 72 1/2 inch reach. That’s a big difference and I see it playing a major role in the fight.
This is Williams’ second shot at a world title. He has already challenged for the IBF title against Jermall “Hit Man” Charlo (28-0, 21KOs). That fight ended in Williams getting knocked out in the 5th round. It was a learning experience for Williams who has come back stronger, going 4-0 since his loss to Charlo, and working his way back to being ranked #1 in the IBF rankings. He, like Hurd, is coming off a knockout win against an underwhelming opponent in Francisco Javier Castro (28-10, 23KOs). Williams is a better boxer than Hurd and will have to really dig deep and box almost perfectly to deal with Hurd’s physical and gritty style. This is a huge fight for someone like Williams, having already lost once in his only other title fight. If he loses this fight, depending how he loses, he may become a borderline contender, not quite a journeyman though.
Keys to Victory for Julian Williams:
- Very simple – just box. Williams should not try to trade at all with Hurd. That is exactly what Hurd wants. Work off the jab, head and foot movement, feints (not excessively, conserve stamina). Mix in combinations to keep the larger Hurd at bay. Work the body, combinations to the body, work in the uppercut. He needs to last 12 rounds. It could be very challenging.
- Use counter-punching. Catching Hurd trying to come inside will be key. Williams will need to find a home for his straight and body counters, finding his timing and rhythm early. Hurd has a four inch reach advantage but he does not really use it. He likes to fight on the inside and use his size and gritty style to wear his opponents down. Williams should be able to counter him consistently, in the first half of the fight at least.
- Fight defensively. Williams has zero chance in competing with Hurd toe to toe, due to lack of power, and a suspect chin. Fight on the defensive. He really just needs to find a good balance of jabs, counters, and combos while using good movement and utilizing the clinch to keep Hurd off him. Avoid body punches. Williams has been known to slow down in the second half of fights in the past. He cannot afford to do that at all versus someone like Hurd. He needs to maintain a steady pace and avoid any big shots.
Keys to Victory for Jarrett Hurd:
- Apply pressure and use size. From the opening bell Hurd will try to walk down Williams and start to wear him down. Hurd has a very gritty style where he just beats opponents into submission. Williams has been knocked out before by a fighter with a similar style. He may get out-boxed early, but Hurd will eventually find his mark.
- Go to the body. Hurd will get out-boxed early on. He is also a notorious slow starter. Go to the body early and often. It should pay dividends as the fight wears on. The body blows will slow down Williams and take away his one advantage. He’s a good boxer, but he is not elite. Williams has slowed down against multiple opponents. Hurd should be no different, especially given his style.
- Mix up the combinations. Hurd usually gets creative with his combinations. He has a beautiful double right hand combination, good hooks, and good body punches. Against a boxer like Williams, he will have to bring out the entire toolkit of combinations. Double the jab, find range, land the power shots, break him down. Williams will get tired in the middle to late rounds.
While I think this fight could be very competitive, Williams has to fight the perfect fight. He needs to do what Lara did to Hurd without getting knocked down. He really needs to fight a Mayweather style fight. The problems he has and will have against Hurd will ultimately lose him this fight. He’s going to have stamina issues, he lacks power, and he is not an elite boxer. He is a very good boxer, but he doesn’t have the combination of power and skill to hurt someone like Hurd. His chin is also suspect, having been knocked out before. I see Hurd starting off a little slow and losing most of the early rounds. Then he will come on strong starting in the 4th or 5th round. From then on, it’s just a matter of when those big shots find their mark. I see him dismantling Williams and putting him away late. Hurd by late round TKO.
Other fights on the main card include:
- Matvey Korobov (28-2, 14KOs) vs Immanuwel Aleem (28-1-1, 22KOs) Middleweight
- Mario Barrios (23-0, 15KOs) vs Juan Jose Velasco (20-1, 12KOs) Super Lightweight
As for the undercard:
- Stephen Fulton (15-0, 7KOs) vs Paulus Ambunda (27-2, 11KOs) Super Bantamweight
- Demond Nicholson (21-3-1, 20KOs) vs Ernest Amuzu (25-4, 22KOs) Super Middleweight
- Dravontay Rawls (11-1-1, 8KOs) vs Jonathan Perez (38-23, 1NC, 30KOs) Lightweight
- Alexandru Marin (17-0, 11KOs) vs Luis Concepcion (37-7, 26KOs) Super Flyweight
- Greg Outlaw (7-0, 1 NC, 2KOs) vs Martin Matamala (11-7, 3KOs) Super Lightweight
The main card can be seen on FOX, beginning at 8:00pm EST. It’s free, and everyone loves that. Our viewers in the UK can see the fights on ITV4. Note that a couple of the fights on the undercard will not be televised.