Last nights’s Showtime boxing put on a very good card, showcasing the best talent the Super Welterweight/Junior Middleweight division has to offer. Jarrett Hurd defeated Austin Trout via 10th round TKO to retain his IBF Junior Middleweight title. The opening fight of the night should give Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia a run for their money as a serious candidate for fight of the year.
Jarrett Hurd elected to make a big jump in competition in his first title defense. Austin Trout has shared the ring with elite fighters like Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara. Trout also beat Miguel Cotto by decision in 2012, in Cotto’s second home of Madison Square Garden. In addition, Trout was a 2004 Olympic alternate so it is obvious he has a great amateur pedigree as well. On paper it appeared Jarrett Hurd had bitten off much more than he could chew in his Barclays Center debut.
In the opening rounds of the fight, it seemed Austin Trout would cruise to an easy decision victory. The southpaw was clearly out boxing Jarrett Hurd, using footwork and creative combination punching. Trout also did a good job of dictating the range in the ring, despite being at a reach disadvantage. Trout flashed an effective lead uppercut, something he seems to have added to his bag after re-joining Louie Burke in training camp full-time. Jarrett Hurd came out very slow and methodical to start the fight, most likely trying to gain dominant foot position vs the southpaw. As the early round progressed, Hurd grew increasingly frustrated and I believe the first three or four rounds clearly went to Austin Trout.
The middle rounds of the fight is where things really started to heat up. After a great start Austin Trout appeared more willing to exchange with Jarrett Hurd and took much more punishment, as both fighters traded power punches. Hurd was even able to wobble Trout with a big counter right hand in the 6th round. Hurd’s awkwardness worked in his favor and he landed some nice punches from close range on Trout. For a short period of time, Trout was able to regain control of the fight by way of a stiff jab and more creative combination punches.
Going into the 9th round both men had thrown close to 600 punches a piece, and showed obvious signs of fatigue. Jarrett Hurd was obviously the younger and stronger fighter going into the 10th round; Trout’s corner and the doctors had seen enough resulting in a TKO win for Hurd. This win makes Jarrett Hurd the first fighter to stop Austin Trout, an impressive feat. Even though he was able to stop a veteran in Trout, Jarrett Hurd still has a lot to prove. Luckily for him some of the big dawgs at 154 like Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo (one half of the Charlo twins) have moved on to the middleweight division.
Even so, Hurd should stay away from guys like Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo (the only Charlo left at 154) as they could seriously hurt him. For Austin Trout, his career appears to be at a crossroads. He’s not getting any younger and is not a huge draw for fans at 154.
However, Trout’s performance Saturday night did not do anything to jeopardize his chance at another title shot. Given the lack of depth in the junior middleweight division, Trout should get another chance in due time. All things considered Trout and Hurd fought a very exciting and tactical fight, that should generate serious buzz as a fight of the year candidate.