Erislandy Lara takes next step to unify 154-pound titles against Jarrett Hurd
Erislandy Lara, 25-2-2 (14), and undefeated Jarrett Hurd, 21-0 (15), will lock horns in a 154-pound title unification bout on April 7, live on Showtime, from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There will be a lot of hardware on the line with long-reigning, junior middleweight king Lara putting his IBO and WBA titles on the line, while Hurd will toss his IBF title into the mix.
Maryland’s Hurd comes into the fight as hot as a pistol, with stoppage wins in his last seven bouts and a perfect record. Hurd earned a 2017 title shot with two impressive, TKO wins in 2016 over contender Jo Jo Dan and undefeated Oscar Molina. Hurd then won the vacant title by stopping Tony Harrison in February of last year. He followed that up with a very impressive stoppage win over former champ Austin Trout in his most recent bout, last October.
Cuban-born, Houston, Texas, resident Lara, who won his first world title back in 2013, boasts a resume that serves up a who’s-who of 154-pound ring foes including Paul Williams, Carlos Molina, Vanes Martirosyan, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Saul Alvarez, Ishe Smith, Delvin Rodriguez and Yuri Foreman.
Despite an obvious advantage in experience, many are predicting that this could be the toughest fight of Lara’s career.
UCNLive.com caught up with Lara’s trainer, and former welterweight contender, Ronnie Shields, to get his take on the upcoming match.
Speaking from his training base in Houston, Texas, Shields made it clear that they know what they have on their hands with Hurd and they are more than ready.
“This is a great fight for Lara,” said Shields. “Hurd is perfect for him. He comes forward; it’s the only way he knows how to fight. He isn’t a boxer.”
Asked if there were any special preparation necessary for Hurd’s aggressive style, Shields was adamant that, style-wise, he feels Hurd is made for Lara.
“Camp has been great. Lara is amazing the way he keeps his weight in check; the guy is always in shape. He shows up to camp in shape. He never lets himself get out of shape. He is always training and keeping himself ready; that’s just who he is,” said Shields. “As far as what we’ve worked on, for this fight, it is just a matter of Lara doing what he does best. He isn’t a guy looking to knock a guy out. If it comes, it comes but he’ll look to box and put on a display of his skills and talent for the fans. Hurd is perfect for Lara and Lara will beat him.”
As far as how he sees the fight playing out, Shields was confident that whatever Hurd brings to the table, Lara will have an answer for it.
“I can see Hurd coming out aggressively. What else is he gonna do? He isn’t a boxer. I can see the fight going the distance. Lara isn’t a guy that is caught up in the knockout. He’s a boxer and he likes to fight from the outside. He’ll put on a great performance for the crowd and he’ll do what he does best and that’s box and win,” said Shields.
While Shields doesn’t want to look past Hurd, he did say that Lara absolutely wants all the belts at 154 pounds.
“That has always been the goal for Lara: to unify all the belts at 154-pounds,” said Shields. “The goal is Jermell Charlo, after this fight, for his WBC belt. All the champs at 154, Lara, Hurd, Charlo, all want to unify the belts and that is what we are going after.”