LAS VEGAS - Jarrett Hurd unified the 154-pound division with a 12-round split-decision victory over Erislandy Lara in an all-action fight Saturday on SHOWTIME before a sold out crowd of 2,579 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. (photos by Stephanie Trapp)
Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs), who entered as IBF Champion, dethroned WBA Champion in just the seventh unification in division history. The difference in the Fight of the Year candidate was a short left hook that floored Lara in the final minute of the fight. Had the 27-year-old Hurd not scored the knockdown, the fight would have been ruled a majority draw.
Hurd applied relentless pressure from the opening round, pressing forward against the crafty southpaw. He pounded the body, yet often neglected defense and ate punishing counter shots for 11 rounds. But the difference for Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs), who was making the seventh defense of his title, was the brutal 12th round. With blood seeping from a swollen right eye, Hurd connected on a short left hook that floored Lara for the first time in nearly five years.
James DeGale earned back the IBF Super Middleweight World Championship with a unanimous decision in a rematch with Caleb Truax, taking back the title he lost last December in the near-universal upset of the year.
The 12-round championship affair was scored 117-110 and 114-113 twice. DeGale, who was deducted a point in the 10th for pushing, won the championship rounds - 11 and 12 - on all three judges' scorecards to win the decision.
In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader, Julian Williams scored a career-best win, defeating Nathaniel Gallimore via majority decision in an IBF Junior Middleweight World Title eliminator. Williams, who edge Gallimore 116-112, 117-110, 114-114, is now in position to challenge Jarrett Hurd.
Williams (25-1-1, 15 KOs) set the pace with a strong left jab in the opening rounds of the fight, keeping Gallimore at bay and the action on the outside. That changed around the fifth round as Williams abandoned the jab and the fight moved to the inside.
Williams had his best round in the 11th, connecting on a massive left hand that set up a barrage of combos that nearly had Gallimore out on his feet. Gallimore (20-2-1, 17 KOs) survived the round, and Williams wasn't able the finish him in the 12th, but it was clear Williams deserved the decision.