By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jarrett Hurd made good on his promise Saturday night.
The undefeated Hurd became the first fighter to beat former champion Austin Trout by knockout or technical knockout in the first of three 154-pound title fights at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A bloodied Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) stopped Trout (31-4, 17 KOs) after the 10th round to make the first defense of the IBF junior middleweight title Hurd won 7½ months ago.
A courageous Trout tried to his best to trade with Hurd, but the bigger, younger champion was just too strong for the experienced southpaw. The 6-feet-1 Hurd hurt Trout in the sixth, seventh, eighth rounds and 10th rounds, until a ringside physician examined a battered, beaten Trout in his corner and instructed referee Eddie Claudio to stop the fight following the 10th round.
Trout landed his fair share of powerful punches during the thoroughly entertaining bout, but his connections didn’t do nearly as much damage as Hurd’s shots. Trout’s right eye was nearly swollen shut by the end of the ninth round and Hurd took advantage of the damage he had done during a completely one-sided 10th round.
Hurd was winning on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped (97-93, 96-94, 96-94).
Hurd made the first defense of the championship he won February 25 by stopping Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) in the ninth round in Birmingham, Alabama. The Accokeek, Maryland, native could’ve taken an easier fight in his first title defense, but embraced boxing a skillful southpaw who has beaten four-division champion Miguel Cotto.
The 27-year-old Hurd joined some exclusive company by beating Trout, of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Before Saturday night, the 32-year-old Trout had lost only 12-round unanimous decisions to current or former 154-pound champions Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) and Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) during his 12-year pro career.
An overhand right by Hurd knocked Trout into his own corner with around two minutes to go in the 10th round. Hurd’s onslaught at toward the end of the 10th round made it clear that Trout shouldn’t continue.
An accidental clash of heads opened a cut around Hurd’s left eye early in the seventh round, which made Hurd fight with a sense of urgency. Hurd hurt Trout with several shots – first a left hook near the ropes and later a right hand – later in the seventh, but Trout was able to survive the trouble.
Trout and Hurd traded power punches in the center of the ring just after the halfway point of the sixth round. A hard right hand by Hurd wobbled Trout with just under 30 seconds to go in the sixth round, but a resilient Trout recovered and fired back hard shots of his own before the round ended.
Hurd blasted Trout with a straight right hand that snapped back Trout’s head just after the midway mark of the fifth round. Hurd hammered Trout with a straight right hand that knocked Trout into the ropes with around 2:10 to go in the fifth round.
Trout landed four left hands within a 30-second span in the second half of the fourth round. Hurd was able to hit Trout with a straight right hand that snapped back Trout’s head as Trout backed toward the ropes shortly thereafter.
Hurd landed several hard right hands to Trout’s chin at the start of the third round. Trout eventually was able to land a couple punches to keep Hurd honest, but Hurd continued to press the action for the rest of the round.
Trout made Hurd pay for coming forward when he drilled Hurd with a hard right hand with about 35 seconds left in the third round.
Hurd started the second round strong by landing a couple straight right hands. Trout was able to connect later in the second with jabs and a left uppercut, but Hurd was able to block several of Trout’s harder shots.
Both boxers spent much of the first round trying to establish their jabs. Trout was able to land a sneaky left hand with around 50 seconds left in it and quickly moved out of harm’s way.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.