NEW YORK – Jarrett Hurd was much more concerned with what Kay Koroma had to say than the fans that booed in each of the final four rounds of his fight Saturday night.
The former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champ pleased his new trainer by performing how they had practiced during their first training camp together in Colorado Springs, California. Hurd was more effective defensively, used his jab much more and consistently resisted the temptation to trade with Francisco Santana during their 10-round middleweight match at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Some fans voiced their displeasure during rounds seven, eight, nine and 10 because Hurd didn’t stop the smaller, older Santana. An unfazed Hurd wasn’t about to apologize for doing what Koroma prepared the Accokeek, Maryland, native to do in their first fight together.
“Hey, listen man, they could’ve booed till they throat was sore,” Hurd said. “I gotta do what I gotta do, man. You know, at the end of the day, like I said, I know they love the ‘War Swift.’ But I gotta think about myself first.”
The 29-year-old Hurd feels he became too reliant on attempting to overwhelm opponents with his size and strength both before and during his unanimous-decision loss to Julian Williams on May 11 in Fairfax, Virginia. That style helped Hurd win world titles and partake in the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fight of the Year” for 2018 – a split-decision win over Erislandy Lara in a 154-pound title unification fight.
Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs) welcomed style changes, though, after Williams beat him. Koroma, who replaced longtime trainer Ernesto Rodriguez after his loss to Williams, pushed Hurd to recommit to his jab, moving his head and blocking punches – all improvements Hurd demonstrated while beating Santana (25-8-1, 12 KOs).
“Oh, he loved it,” Hurd said. “[It was] exactly what we worked on in the gym. You know, Kay, we worked on a lot of jabs, using our height and range differently, instead of just using it to bully guys and walk ‘em down. We wanted to work behind the jab and not get touched as much. And he loved everything that he saw.”
According to CompuBox’s unofficial statistics, Hurd landed 75 more jabs than Santana (80-of-356 to 5-of-219).
“I feel I did great,” Hurd said. “I hit him with so many jabs I ended up injuring my left hand a little. I think it was maybe in the sixth or seventh round. But, you know, I fought through it. And as far as defensive-wise, I was slipping a lot of shots in there. You know, I loved it. Like I said, I can feel when I perform in a way better than in my previous fights. You know, I felt like I was hitting him, I wasn’t getting hit just to get one of mine off. You know, not in this fight. I felt like I was taking control and I loved my performance.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.