By Keith Idec
Tony Harrison considers Jarrett Hurd credible, just not the beast Harrison thinks Hurd has been portrayed to be.
The undefeated Hurd has stopped Frank Galarza (17-2-2, 11 KOs), Oscar Molina (13-1-1, 10 KOs) and Jo Jo Dan (35-4, 18 KOs) in consecutive bouts. Those victories have moved Hurd into the No. 3 position in the IBF’s 154-pound rankings.
Detroit’s Harrison (24-1, 20 KOs) is rated No. 2 by the IBF. He’ll fight Hurd (19-0, 13 KOs) for the IBF junior middleweight championship Houston’s Jermall Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs) relinquished recently in a 12-round fight February 25 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Harrison and Hurd were supposed to fight for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s rankings, but their meeting was upgraded to a title bout because Charlo gave up his championship to move up to middleweight.
“He’s been built up on other guys that they had questions about,” Harrison said Thursday during a conference call. “The fights that Jarrett Hurd won, which were reasonable opponents – very, very, very, very reasonable. So I’m not discrediting anything he’s done. They put him in front of them, he beat ‘em. He earned his shot, just like I did. So very, very credible guys. But to my point, man, I think Jarrett Hurd wasn’t even the No. 3 guy. They bumped him up to No. 3. So he didn’t earn it.
“So in my head, I’m already going in as the stronger fighter. Everything they gave me, I earned. I earned my shot. And then I was gonna earn it again through Jarrett Hurd, without the title. I was gonna have to earn it again, with another mandatory shot. They didn’t bump me up nothing. They didn’t give me nothing. I earned it. Everything that they’ve given me, I earned it. And I was gonna earn it again, whether it was for a title or not.”
The 26-year-old Harrison has rebuilt his career following his lone loss – a ninth-round technical knockout against Cleveland’s Willie Nelson (25-3-1, 15 KOs) in July 2015. He has won three straight fights since Nelson stopped him, including back-to-back TKO defeats of Fernando Guerrero (28-4, 20 KOs) and Siarhei Rabchanka (28-2, 21 KOs).
Harrison expects to extend his winning streak against Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland. Unlike Hurd’s recent opponents, Harrison says he has the boxing IQ, speed and power Hurd won’t be able to overcome in a fight FOX will televise from Legacy Arena.
“To be honest, man, even the guys he’s fought against – I take nothing from Jarrett,” Harrison said. “I got up for Jarrett. So don’t think that I didn’t get up for him. I got up for him probably more than I got up for everybody else. I’m probably in the best shape than when I’ve been fighting anybody else. But statistically standing, he just fought Jo Jo Dan, who was a naturally smaller guy. He got touched up. He fought Oscar Molina, who may be an Olympian, but wasn’t credible to his resume, fighting anybody, you know, besides Domonique Dolton. And then he fought Frank Galarza. You know what I mean?
“So all those guys, I believe, worked to his advantage. They stood there, wanted to fight with him, wanted to slug with him. I think my advantage is he hasn’t fought nobody this fast, this strong and this smart. Man, I’m gonna show this guy how seasoned I am. I’m so seasoned. They don’t realize that I have more knockouts than this guy have fights. You know what I mean? So, for me, my confidence is at an all-time high fighting a guy like Jarrett Hurd. Jarrett Hurd, like I said, he’s been sensational. But part of being a competitor is fighting the best. And if Jarrett Hurd’s name is mentioned, and everybody’s mentioning Jarrett Hurd, and they don’t wanna fight Jarrett Hurd, then Tony Harrison will.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.