By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jarrett Hurd has a feeling size will matter plenty when he encounters Erislandy Lara.
The undefeated Hurd, listed at 6-feet-1, is significantly bigger than the 5-9 Lara. The IBF junior middleweight champ figures to out-weigh Lara by a considerable amount once they step in the ring for their 154-pound title unification fight April 7.
“It’s most definitely an advantage and we’re gonna use it to our advantage,” Hurd told BoxingScene.com. “The size is gonna play a big factor in this fight. We’re not gonna be in there, playing nice. We’re gonna bully him around and let him know that you’re in here with a big guy.”
The 27-year-old Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) will need to use his size and strength and consistently apply pressure to slow down Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), an athletic, skillful southpaw who moves and counters well. Hurd doesn’t seem concerned that the cerebral Cuban will be able to out-box him in a “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event that is expected to take place at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“He’s not gonna be able to run for 12 rounds,” Hurd said. “He’s gonna have to engage at some point. Another thing is that I’m the taller, longer guy. So as far as him fighting on the outside, he’s gonna have to come inside some. So by cutting off the ring and things like that, eventually we’ll get to him in the later rounds. That’s the game plan. We know while he’s fresh, he’s gonna be able to use his legs and move around. But as the fight goes on, we plan on wearing him down.”
In studying the 34-year-old Lara, Hurd has noted that Alfredo Angulo gave the WBA super welterweight champion some difficulty.
Mexico’s Angulo was still in his physical prime when he battled Lara and dropped Lara twice, once apiece in the fourth and ninth rounds. Lara eventually stopped him in the 10th round of their June 2013 title fight at StubHub Center, then known as Home Depot Center, because Angulo suffered a broken orbital bone around his left eye and refused to continue.
“He had trouble with the Angulo fight,” Hurd said. “That’s one of the fights I watch a lot. I feel like I’m Angulo times 10, with the size, the hand speed, the power. But I feel like if I can execute the game plan well, I can get the victory.”
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, beat another veteran southpaw in his last bout. He became the first fighter to stop former WBA super welterweight champ Austin Trout (30-4, 17 KOs) in that October 14 match at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Lara also has beaten Trout. He convincingly out-boxed Trout and dropped him in the 11th round en route to beating the Las Cruces, New Mexico, native by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder in December 2013 at Barclays Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.