By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jarrett Hurd usually avoids predictions, but he made an exception Thursday.
The undefeated Hurd didn’t just state that he’ll beat Austin Trout in the first defense of his IBF junior middleweight title Saturday night. Hurd promised that he’ll become the first fighter to knock out Trout when they square off in the first of three 154-pound championship matches Showtime will broadcast from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Trout’s three losses each were 12-round, unanimous-decision defeats to current or former 154-pound champions Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo. The southpaw has been knocked down by Alvarez, Lara and Daniel Dawson (twice), but the former WBA super welterweight champion has gotten up from each of those knockdowns and finished those fights on his feet.
Hurd has a different plan for their fight Saturday night.
“These are the fights I want,” Hurd said during a press conference in Manhattan. “I want tough fights. I asked to fight Austin Trout. And it’s not because I don’t truly believe in myself. I know I’m the best 154-pounder out here, and Saturday night, a storm definitely will be in the building. I really don’t make predictions in no fight, but mark my words – I promise this fight won’t go 12 rounds.”
The 27-year-old Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, stands 3½ inches taller than Trout and expects to overpower him.
“I’m the taller fighter, I’m the longer fighter and I’m the strongest fighter,” Hurd said. “I’m also the younger fighter, so those advantages will definitely be the keys Saturday night.
“He uses his jab well and he throws a great left to the body. He uses the ring well and he’s a veteran, and he knows how to survive. He’s a crafty fighter, and knows how to win the rounds. But I don’t think that will be a factor because we are expecting it. I’m coming to open the show and all the fans should expect fireworks.”
The Hurd-Trout bout will immediately precede another 12-round, 154-pound championship match between Houston’s Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs), the WBC super welterweight champion, and mandatory challenger Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), of Orlando, Florida. In the main event, Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) will defend his WBA and IBO super welterweight titles against Cleveland’s Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.