NEW YORK – Jarrett Hurd was as surprised as anyone to watch Julian Williams lose to Jeison Rosario.
The former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion expected Williams to “walk through” an unknown underdog Williams was listed as a 30-1 favorite to beat. Hurd admits that he didn’t know much about the Dominican Republic’s Rosario, other than that he had been stopped by Nathaniel Gallimore, an opponent Williams beat by majority decision.
“I thought Julian was gonna walk through him – I’m not gonna lie,” Hurd told BoxingScene.com on Thursday after a press conference in Brooklyn. “I had never seen any tape on the guy. The fact that he lost to a guy Julian Williams already beat in Gallimore, I just thought it was gonna be an easy win for him.”
Rosario produced a huge upset by stopping Williams in the fifth round Saturday night at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. Williams wants the rematch Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) is contractually obligated to give him immediately, thus this huge upset ruined Hurd’s plan to defeat Francisco Santana on Saturday night and get his own rematch with Williams next.
Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) expects Williams to beat Rosario in their second bout because Williams previously rebounded from a fifth-round knockout loss to Jermall Charlo in December 2016 to beat Hurd for three 154-pound championships May 11 in Fairfax, Virginia.
“He bounced back before,” Hurd said. “He’ll bounce back again.”
The 29-year-old Hurd hasn’t thought much this week about how Williams’ stunning loss will impact the rest of Hurd’s 2020 because he has tried to remain focused on defeating Santana (25-7-1, 12 KOs), of Santa Barbara, California.
“I was just surprised,” Hurd said. “Other than that, I had a fight the week after. I just wanted to make sure that same thing didn’t happen to me.”
Now that Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) has lost the three titles he won from Hurd by 12-round unanimous decision eight months ago, Hurd doesn’t regret passing on the immediate rematch Williams owed him. By allowing Williams to face someone other than him in his following fight, Hurd relinquished his right to a rematch with Williams and a guaranteed shot at the titles he lost.
“No, not at all,” Hurd said. “The reason we weren’t taking the rematch never was because of Julian Williams. The condition I was in – no matter if I was fighting Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara or whoever – I wouldn’t have took the rematch because I didn’t have a trainer at the time. So, I couldn’t take the rematch, to be honest with you. So, I have no regrets.”
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, parted ways with his longtime trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez, following his loss to Williams. Hurd told BoxingScene.com that Rodriguez demanded that Hurd fire the rest of his team and, in effect, quit when Hurd refused to do that.
The former champion hired Kay Koroma as Rodriguez’s replacement.
Showtime will televise Hurd’s first fight with Koroma in his corner as part of a tripleheader Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) and Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KOs) will meet in Showtime’s main event, a 12-round welterweight bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.