Two years after losing his titles to Julian Williams, Jarrett Hurd still feels like he is the world’s best boxer in the 154-pound division.
Hurd hasn’t fought a top opponent since Williams upset him in May 2019, but he’ll remain in contention to face the Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano winner if he gets past Luis Arias next month. Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs) and Arias (18-2-1, 9 KOs) are scheduled to meet in a 10-round fight on the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul undercard June 6 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The 30-year-old Hurd hopes to prove thereafter what he told Brian Custer during an upcoming episode of the Showtime announcer’s “The Last Stand Podcast.”
“I’m the best at 154,” Hurd said. “The world just ain’t see it yet, you know. Like I said, I had a hiccup. You know, some of the best fighters, you know, take losses, but the loss is not just a loss, it’s a learning lesson. Look at Canelo Alvarez right now. He took a loss to one of the best in the world [Mayweather], but he’s now the best in the world, you know?”
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, was a 6-1 favorite over Philadelphia’s Williams, who dropped Hurd in the second round and beat him by unanimous decision. Hurd passed on the immediate rematch his contract assured him and Williams lost the IBF, IBO and WBA 154-pound crowns he won from Hurd to Jeison Rosario in his following fight.
After his loss to Williams, Hurd hired a new trainer, Kay Koroma, who helped the former champion focus on defense. Hurd boxed in a more disciplined manner in his only fight with Koroma in his corner thus far – a 10-round unanimous decision over Francisco Santana (25-9-1, 12 KOs) in January 2020 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Hurd will fight for the first time since he defeated Santana when he squares off against Arias. Hurd-Arias will be part of a Showtime Pay-Per-View undercard before the 44-year-old Mayweather meets the bigger, younger, completely inexperienced Paul in their exhibition.
Meanwhile, Houston’s Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) and Argentina’s Castano (17-0-1, 12 KOs) are preparing for their full unification fight July 17 at an undetermined site. Showtime will air the Charlo-Castano clash for Charlo’s IBF, WBA and WBC 154-pound championships and Castano’s WBO belt.
Hurd is ranked third by both the WBA and WBO, fourth by the IBF and seventh by the WBC.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.