Jarrett Hurd has been involved in at least “Fight of the Year” candidates in each of the past two years.
His split-decision defeat of Erislandy Lara in April 2018 won that award last year from the Boxing Writers Association of America. He also engaged in a top candidate for the award last May 11, when Julian Williams dropped Hurd and upset him to take the IBF, IBO and WBA 154-pound titles from him in Fairfax, Virginia.
As gratifying as that recognition might’ve been, Hurd hopes he’s not involved in another of those types of fights for the rest of his career. Hurd focused on his defense and footwork during his recently completed training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and intends to win his upcoming bouts based on skill, not the sheer size that has helped the 6-feet-1 former champion overpower opponents in recent years.
The 29-year-old Hurd expects to display those skills Saturday night, when he’ll battle Francisco Santana at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It’ll mark Hurd’s first fight since Williams beat him eight months ago.
“If you hit your opponent and you’re not getting hit, how could you lose a fight?,” Hurd told BoxingScene.com. “Every year I’m in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. And if you think about it, in order to be in a ‘Fight of the Year,’ the fight has to be back and forth. So, I was patting myself on the back at that time. But then I realized, ‘Do I actually wanna be in ‘Fights of the Year?’ That’s making fights close and back and forth. I want these fights to be one-sided and I want them to be all for Jarrett Hurd in there. So, it was good having those ‘Fights of the Year’ and ‘Fight of the Year’ candidates. It’s great to be exciting, but I want the fights to be one-sided.”
His new trainer, Kay Koroma, has helped Hurd alter his approach in their first training camp together. Hurd hired Koroma after parting ways with longtime trainer Ernesto Rodriguez.
“The second half of my career, I don’t wanna focus on my size and using my size advantage,” Hurd said. “That was my thing in my previous wins against other opponents at 154. I know I’m gonna move up to 160 soon, so we’re now focusing on using my skills to my advantage. We’re focused on trying to get the wins behind a nice skill set.
“I just wanna be a more disciplined fighter, disciplined with my footwork. Instead of just walking in, walking in behind my jab and just being disciplined on my defense – just the things that got me to where I am today, and not just my relying on my conditioning and going hard to get me the wins.”
Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs), of Accokeek, Maryland, is heavily favored – 50-1, according to most Internet sports books – to beat Santana (25-7-1, 12 KOs), of Santa Barbara, California, in a 10-round junior middleweight match that’ll be part of Showtime’s tripleheader (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). In the main event, Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) and Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) are set to meet in a 12-round welterweight bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.