Preview: Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd

By Robert Ecksel on April 5, 2018
Preview: Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd
Lara is a spoiler. He makes everyone look bad. But making Hurd look bad won’t be easy.

Saturday night at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, WBA/IBO champion Erislandy Lara fights IBF champion Jarrett Hurd in a super welterweight unification bout…

On Saturday, April 7, in a fight televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, WBA/IBO super welterweight champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), the veteran southpaw from Miami, Florida, by way of Guantanamo, Cuba, fights IBF super welterweight champion Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs), the explosive young gun from Accokeek, Maryland, in a 154-pound title unification bout.

Lara is making his sixth defense of the title he won by outpointing Ishe Smith at the Alamodome in 2014. His two defeats, the first dating way back to 2011, were an extremely controversial loss to Paul Williams followed by a slightly less controversial loss to Canelo Alvarez three years later.

Lara is a spoiler. He makes everyone he fights looks bad. But making Jarrett Hurd look bad won’t be easy. He is coming into the fight having scored seven consecutive knockouts and is looking to make a statement.

In advance of the match, the fighters met with the press via teleconference call and both men predict victory.

“This is a fight that I wanted just as bad as any,” said Hurd. If he gets by Lara, a fight with WBC champ Jermell Charlo awaits him.

“I knew both fights will eventually happen. But I feel like the fight with Erislandy Lara will give me more credibility and will put me in position at number one. I wanted to be top guy in my division and now I feel like I am the top guy in my division.

“This fight, I want it over the fight with Jermell Charlo, even though the fight with Jermell Charlo is more anticipated…maybe because of our styles, but I wanted this fight because I feel like it will put me to better position in the 154 division.

Unlike Lara, who depends on ring IQ and slick skills, Hurd relies on power.

“I have the power that’s deceptive and it doesn’t look as hard on TV or while you’re in there until you feel it…I feel like my power can stop anyone, put anyone down. But on April 7th, the knockout streak, I’ll stop another guy and I plan on continuing to keep doing.”

Hurd respects Lara. Getting him out of there won’t be easy.

“Lara, he’s been the longest reigning champion at 154. I’ve been fighting at 154 all my life, so we’ve been watching him since I turned professional and the style Lara presents we’ve been training for this long before this training camp. He’s a great champion but Lara has always been on top and we always study and the game plan we got is perfect and this is why we wanted the fight. It’s no secret how badly I wanted this fight.

“Of course, I’m not going to stay in there and try to box with Lara because Lara is an expert on what he does. Lara is not going to stand there toe-to-toe with me because of my size, inside game and my power. So it’s going to be a cat and mouse game and I just can’t wait to show you guys that outcome.”

Lara has been there and done that and believes he ready for whatever Hurd brings.

“We hope he’s prepared,” said Lara. “I’m prepared and want to put on a great fight for the fans and for the writers and for everyone else.

“As everyone knows, I was the one who wanted this fight. He won his title in February, I wanted to fight him in October and his team said he wasn’t ready to fight me in October. They wanted him to be prepared to fight another southpaw and prepare for me.

“So, as the pressure mounted, Jarrett Hurd decided just to fight. So I’m happy he stepped up to the plate but as everyone knows, I want his belt and I want the other belts in this division as well.”

Much has been made of Hurd’s stoppage of Austin Trout in his last bout, no matter that the former champion hadn’t fought in 17 months and looked like a shot fighter. But is Hurd, with his limited amateur experience, ready for Lara, who has been boxing forever and has seen it all?

“I look at him as a young, hungry kid who’s got desire,” Lara said. “He wants to be great. He’s going to come forward and he’s going to come ready to fight. If he doesn’t come forward, then I’ll be ready to fight, too, however it plays out. But I’m ready for everything he brings to the table.

“Every fighter wants to knock you out when you get in that ring. [But] this is a sport. Boxing is hit and don’t get hit. That’s the way it was taught from the beginning of time…My main focus is to win every fight and win clearly. That’s my job.”

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Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd | April 7 on SHOWTIME

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