Fighters firing trainers after losses is a common move in boxing.
Jarrett Hurd had too much respect for Ernesto Rodriguez to terminate their partnership in the aftermath of his upset loss to Julian Williams. That’s why Hurd was so surprised by the negative nature of a conversation he had with Rodriguez about a month after that devastating defeat.
Rodriguez issued what Hurd considered an ultimatum. Hurd said during an interview with BoxingScene.com that Rodriguez demanded that he fire his assistant trainer, strength and conditioning coach, cut man, physician and personal management team.
Once Hurd told Rodriguez he wouldn’t part ways with the rest of his team, Rodriguez informed Hurd he no longer would train the former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion. The 29-year-old Hurd had trained only under Rodriguez since he took up the sport as a teenager at Hillcrest Heights Boxing Club, about a 20-minute drive from Hurd’s hometown of Accokeek, Maryland.
“It was his decision,” said Hurd, who’ll fight for the first time Saturday night since Williams beat him. “I’m the type of guy when you become family, you’re family. Even though I argue with my brothers all the time, they’re still family. You know what I mean? At times we do bump heads and we do get into things. But, you know, our conversation that we had, [Rodriguez] wasn’t happy with the team that was surrounding me, although this was the team we put together. He brought these guys aboard, but I done built a relationship with these guys as well.
“But they had a falling out and he gave me an ultimatum to either drop the team I’m with and start fresh, or [I couldn’t] continue with him. I was like, ‘Come on, man. You’ve gotta be insane.’ So, that’s when he said, ‘Well, as long as you work with them guys, I can’t work with you.’ I said, ‘Well, you made your decision.’ ”
Hurd hired Kay Koroma as Rodriguez’s replacement. Koroma moved Hurd’s training camp from Maryland to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Koroma also trains WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson.
That recently completed camp went very well for Hurd, but his dealings with Rodriguez following his first defeat still sting.
“I didn’t have any idea he felt that way,” Hurd said. “I was on vacation finding out everything the world was finding out. I found out through an interview on social media. He said the relationship was like this for three years. Three years ago, that was back in 2016. I was facing [Oscar Molina] on the Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter undercard. I didn’t even have blond hair back then. He never gave me a sign at all. I had no idea. I couldn’t believe it. In the interview, he goes on to say he expected me to lose to Julian Williams. For him to say something that, man, that he prepared me for war, expecting me to lose, I couldn’t believe that.”
Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) is listed as at least a 50-1 favorite to defeat Francisco Santana (25-7-1, 12 KOs), of Santa Barbara, California, in a 10-round junior middleweight match Showtime will televise Saturday night as part of the Danny Garcia-Ivan Redkach undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.