Jarrett Hurd used a 12th-round knockdown to secure a split-decision victory over Erislandy Lara and unify the IBF and WBA junior middleweight world titles on Saturday night.
Two judges scored the fight 114-113 for Hurd, while the third judge had Lara winning the fight by the same 114-113 scorecard.
Hurd connected on a short left hook with less than a minute remaining, knocking down for former WBA champion Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs), the longest reigning champion at 154 pounds entering the fight. Lara was attempting to defend his title for the sixth consecutive time.
”I didn’t feel like I needed the knockdown for the win,” said the 27-year-old Hurd, from Accokeek, Maryland. ”I felt like I was in control the whole fight, applying the pressure.”
The win for Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) sets up a potential mega-matchup against Jermell Charlo, who has held the WBC light middleweight world title since 2016.
Hurd is the seventh unified world title holder in 154-pound history, joining Hall of Famers Terry Norris, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Winky Wright, as well as Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez.
The 34-year-old Lara from Houston thought he won the fight, despite the knockdown in the final round.
”I was up by a large margin going into the last round,” said Lara, who suffered swelling and a cut around his right eye. ”The problem was the cut on the eye. I couldn’t see in the last round.”