By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jarrett Hurd heard Jermell Charlo call him out loud and clear.
If Hurd could map out his foreseeable future, though, he is three fights away from challenging Charlo in a 154-pound championship unification fight. Following his technical knockout victory over Austin Trout on Saturday night, Hurd said his plan is to make a mandatory defense of his IBF junior middleweight title against Cedric Vitu, beat Erislandy Lara in title unification fight and then face Charlo.
“We know we’ve got Charlo calling me out,” Hurd said. “We heard him when we was in the back, but that fight, that seems like a mega-fight that’s gonna eventually happen. But I have to defend against my mandatory, Cedric Vitu, which is a southpaw, also. And Lara’s a southpaw. So if I took on Lara first that would be three training camps against southpaws in a row. So I feel like I should take a fight with Lara before I go with Jermell Charlo.”
If Hurd defeats France’s Vitu and cannot lure Lara into a unification match, Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) said he would welcome a fight against Houston’s Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs).
“He done called me out a couple times now, so I knew it was coming,” Hurd said. “Like I said, man, that’s a mega-fight. It’s gonna happen and when it do, I wanna make sure it’s the right time.”
Like most people at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Saturday night, Hurd was stunned how quickly and easily Charlo knocked out mandatory challenger Erickson Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs). The WBC super welterweight champion scored a spectacular, one-punch, first-round knockout thanks to a short right hand that caught Lubin leaning in, hurt him badly and forced referee Harvey Dock to stop their scheduled 12-round title fight just 2:41 into it.
“He ducked right into it, Lubin, and he couldn’t get up,” Hurd said. “It was a great shot. It surprised me, man, because I didn’t think it would go that way. And for it to happen like that in the first round, guys are fresh, and he got caught when he was fresh, and it was a great shot.
“I had Charlo winning, but not that way. So he definitely did something unexpected.”
Once the cut on his left eyebrow was stitched up, Hurd was able to sit ringside Saturday night and watched Cuba’s Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) win a relatively easy, unanimous-decision against Terrell Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs) in the 12-round main event.
“He’s great at what he do, man,” Hurd said. “He moves around the ring, wins the rounds, he got a knockdown in [the fourth] round, he won the fight unanimously and he did exactly what he needs to do. But like I said, it’s different when that pressure’s on you and a big guy is in there with you. Would you be able to last those 12 rounds [with a bigger guy] going at you with body shots and all that? But he looked good tonight and he got the win.”
Hurd hopes he gets the opportunity to prove what he said after defeating Vitu.
“They’re saying he’s the best in the division, he’s the toughest one out there,” Hurd said of Lara, the WBA/IBO champion. “Hopefully he’ll fight me. I want the best. I wanna prove that I’m the best and I wanna show the world exactly who ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd is.”
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, probably won’t fight Vitu until sometime late in the winter or early in the spring. The New York State Athletic Commission placed him on a 60-day suspension to allow his cut an ample amount of time to heal.
The IBF granted Hurd an exception so that he could push back his mandatory defense against Vitu (46-2, 19 KOs) to fight the 11th-ranked Trout (30-4, 17 KOs), a former WBA 154-pound champion.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.