Seen But Not Hurd

By Robert Ecksel on January 26, 2020

Hurd and his coach Kay Koromo are redefining how he fights. (Amanda Wescott/Showtime)

In Saturday’s co-main event televised live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, former unified super welterweight champion Jarrett Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs), the two-fisted bomber from Accokeek, Maryland, in his first fight since losing his titles in an upset to Julian “J-Rock” Williams six months ago, had his way with game but outclassed Francisco Santana (25-8-1, 12 KOs), the resilient veteran from Santa Barbara, California, over 10 rounds.

 

The final scores were 97-92 and 99-90 twice.

 

Hurd, fighting out of the blue corner in green trunks, presented a retooled version of the former champ. He is still big, strong and athletic, and continues to put those assets to good use. But he wasn’t looking for a highlight-reel knockout Saturday night. Not this time; and maybe never again.

 

Fighting out of the red corner in camouflage trunks, Santana thought an upset was in the cards. He was sure he was catching Hurd at the perfect time. Look what happened when he fought J-Rock.

 

Santana’s timing was off in that regard.

 

Hurd’s superiority was glaring from the start. Throwing thudding punches upstairs and down off a punishing jab, Hurd sidestepped Santana, who followed him around the ring for much of the fight. Santana had no game plan, per se, but he came to fight. Unfortunately, when his punches landed, they appeared to bounce off Hurd’s exterior.

 

Santana never stopped trying. But he’s a blue-collar fighter, tough as nails, who only knows one way to fight: come forward and throw punches. Hurd couldn’t ask any more from an opponent in his first fight back after a shocking loss.

 

In round five Hurd stopped using his left hand. It was impossible to tell if it was broken it or he was playing possum. It turned out to be the latter. But as Hurd’s performance is still being scrutinized, no one disputes that we saw a different Jarrett Hurd than the one we’re accustomed to. He knew he could box circles around Santana and that’s what he did. That's all he did. He kept his focus. He didn’t look for the knockout. He didn’t go for the kill. Hurd went for the win. He and his coach Kay Koromo are reinventing how he fights. Hurd 2.0 is still a work in progress. It might take some getting used to.

 

Hurd is 29 years old, at or near his fighting prime, and if he takes care of business, in and out of the ring, he could fight for many years. Santana is “a dangerous fighter, a dangerous opponent,” as Hurd pointed out before the bout, but his challenge was nothing Hurd hadn't seen before. He dropped Santana with a right uppercut in the sixth. Santana beat the count and resumed pressing forward. He is one tough hombre. But having now lost five of his last eight fights, he wasn’t tough enough to get it done against Jarrett Hurd.

 

According to CompuBox, the fight was a romp. Hurd landed 233 of 884 total punches thrown (34%) to 95 of 737 (17%) for Santana.

 

Hurd said, to the sound of catcalls after the fight, “We came out here and did what we wanted to do.”

 

What Hurd wanted to do was effective, but the fans didn’t like it. He and his team are correcting the missteps which contributed to his losing his titles to J-Rock. That strategy worked like a charm for Anthony Joshua when he outsmarted Andy Ruiz Jr. in the rematch. It may take some time, but a similar transformation is underway in Jarrett Hurd’s corner.