By Lem Satterfield
Jarrett Hurd and his trainer, Nesto Rodriguez, believe they have Jermell Charlo right where they want him.
Over the past few months Hurd has boasted about being able to not only win a 154-pound unification clash of unbeaten 28-year-olds against Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs), but to rise in weight and dethrone “The Future’s” older-by-a-minute 160-pound champion twin, Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs), in addition to some day challenging Jermell’s left-handed, 147- pound training partner, Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KOs).
The IBF/IBO/ WBA champion’s comments drew Charlo to The Staples Center in Los Angeles on December, where the Houston native watched from ringside as a vulnerable-looking Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) won a come from behind third defense by fourth-round knockout over England’s Jason Welborn (24-7, 7 KOs), representing his eighth stoppage in nine fights.
Hurd-Welborn happened on the undercard of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder battling to a draw with lineal champion Tyson Fury.
“Charlo is a very good fighter who is definitely very animated and boisterous,” said Rodriquez, Hurd’s career-long corner man. “Charloi and Jarrett are just two tremendous, young fighters who are acting like 28-year-olds.”
Rodriguez said he witnessed Floyd Mayweather Jr. encouraging Jermell Charlo to enter the ring after Hurd fought off the ropes to defeat Welborn.
“We definitely want Charlo,” said Hurd during a post-fight interview in the ring with Showtime’s Jim Gray, directing his words to a nearby Charlo. “I’m calling the shots. I’m No. 1. right now. When I say answer the phone, answer the phone. I got the date.”
Charlo surveyed Hurd’s championship belts before responding.
“I like those belts – they look real good on you,” said Charlo. “This is easy money. He said he wants another fight. I’m ready now.”
Hurd will be ringside on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where Jermell Charlo pursues his fourth WBC defense against Tony Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs), and Jermall, his initial defense and fourth straight stoppage against Russian southpaw Matt Korobov (28-1, 14 KOs).
“Charlo was sitting there, watching the fight, and I watched Floyd Mayweather say, ‘Man, why don’t you get into the ring.’ That’s when he got into the ring,” said Rodriguez.
“But I think Charlo was respectful about it, walking up and saying what he had to say. I think that they were respectful to each other, it was all well done, it’s great for the promotion and the sport.”
Harrison will be the second common opponent Charlo shares with Hurd, who vanquished Harrison by title-winning ninth-round TKO in February 2017 before doing the same to left-handed former title Austin Trout by 10th-round stoppage in his very next fight in October 2017.
Trout rebounded from the loss to Hurd with a unanimous decision over Juan De Angel in February before falling to Jermell Charlo by two-knockdown majority decision in June. Trout’s also lost to Jermall Charlo by unanimous decision in May 2016, with his next fight after that being against Hurd.
“When I beat Jermell Charlo, I’m moving up to 160, and guess who I’m coming for? Jermall Charlo. So you know that’s a fight possibly in the future,” said Hurd, in an earlier interview with BoxingScene.com.
“Jermell is not better than Jermall for my style. Overall Jermall’s physically stronger than Jermell in terms of size and power. I feel like Jermell Charlo would be an easier fight for me.”
Hurd, of Accokeek, Maryland, has also said he one day envisions a 154-pound clash with Spence, who shares corner man Derrick James with Jermell Charlo, often sparring with him at the Dallas-based R&R Boxing facility.
Spence will pursue his third defense and 12th straight knockout against rising four-division champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) on Fox at 9 p.m. / 6 p.m. ET on March 16 at The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, near Spence’s home in DeSoto, Texas.
Welborn represented Hurd’s first fight since undergoing left shoulder torn rotator cuff surgery six months ago, with the champion coming off the ropes to drop him to all fours with a vicious, right-hand body shot. Welborn failed to beat Lou Moret’s count.
Hurd won his previous fight in April by split-decision over Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara, a short left securing a final round knockdown to add Lara’s WBA crown to his IBF version.
Former title challenger Julian Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs) of Philadelphia could be Hurd’s next opponent “sometime in the spring” after having earned his fourth straight victory and second stoppage during that time by second-round KO over Mexico’s Francisco Javier Castro on the Wilder-Fury card.
FOX Sports’ boxing insider Mike Coppinger revealed the news about “J-Rock” Williams during the initial episode of “Inside PBC Boxing” on FOX, saying that should Hurd be victorious, he would face Jermell Charlo if Charlo defeats Harrison.
“The PBC would love to put it [Hurd-Charlo] together the second half of next year, so they’re on a collision course. But a lot has to happen for that fight to reach that point. First, Jemell Charlo has a fight against Tony Harrison on December 22 on FOX,” said Coppinger on a show featuring “Swift” Hurd as a guest.
“Then I’m told that Jarrett Hurd is going to fight junior middleweight contender Julian Williams sometime in the spring. And then, Jermell Charlo is going to have another fight in the spring against an opponent to be determined. If everyone wins, and they all come out OK with no injuries, they wanna do that fight [Hurd-Charlo] sometime in the second half of the year.”
Asked if he felt Charlo was encouraged by Hurd’s perceived vulnerability against Welborn, Rodriguez said, “Absolutely.”
“And you know what? That’s not a bad thing for us, because when Charlo looks at Jarrett, he might say, ‘I can beat him,’” said Rodriguez of Hurd, who had stopped his previous seven opponents prior to Lara.
“That makes it easier for people to think that they can beat Jarret, which makes the fight. But what Jermell Charlo doesn’t understand is that Jarrett is a completely different fighter than he’s every been in with, and that it’s going to be a completely different fight when Charlo gets into the ring with him.”