By Rick Reeno
On Saturday night, Jarrett Hurd unified the IBF, IBO, WBA junior middleweight titles with a twelve round split decision win over longtime division ruler Erislandy Lara at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
In a very close fight with fireworks throughout the contest, Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) secured the win with a huge rally in the final round to drop Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs) in the final minute of the fight. It was the first time Lara had been down in five years.
The knockdown created final scores of 114-113, 114-113 in favor of Hurd and a third score of 114-113 in favor of Lara.
Up next is a potential unification with WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs).
Charlo is scheduled to make a voluntary defense on June 9th, as part of the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares undercard at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Charlo's opponent has yet to be announced.
"'Swift' isn't ducking anyone," Hurd responded. "I'm number one now. We're calling the shots."
Hurd believes the contest with Charlo will be a much easier encounter than Lara - based on the styles.
"It's going to be much easier. Charlo is the type of guy where I go out there and show what type of talent Swift Jarrett Hurd is really about. With some of the guys that I've been fighting lately, I've been fighting them in a pressure type way. Im usually a counter-puncher of the back-foot. I'm a lot sharper than people think. I'm not going to have to go looking for Charlo, he's going to be right there," Hurd said.
Hurd is hoping the Charlo encounter will happen at some point in the fall.
"I'm not sure [when the fight will take place], it depends. It's going to happen. I'm not going to move up until I fight Charlo," Hurd said.