Showtime results: Jarrett Hurd edges Erislandy Lara to unify junior middleweight titles
By scoring a knockdown in the final round, Jarrett “Swift” Hurd got the edge he needed to beat Erislandy Lara via split decision and become the unified IBF/WBA junior middleweight titleholder. The fight was the main event of a Showtime telecast from the Hard Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, presented by Mayweather Promotions, on Saturday night.
Hurd, 22-0 (15), set up the knockdown in the final minute of the fight, with a tremendous uppercut/left hook combination that sent Lara to the mat. Hurd’s right uppercut lifted the Cuban’s head just enough for his left hook and, having already gone through 12 rounds of pressure from the 27-year-old, Lara, 34, got up and spilled whatever he had left into the final 30 seconds of desperate brawling. The ending was as dramatic for fans watching, as it was crucial for Hurd, who received two of the three scores of 114-113, especially considering the entire fight was a competitive one between masters contrasting styles.
Lara, 25-3-2 (14), the slick counterpunching boxer, surprisingly played into Hurd’s toe-to-toe style on the inside, after the first round, in which he controlled his distance with his feet and a shooting left hand up the middle. As early as the second round, Lara was willing to engage in the pocket and perhaps that made it easier for Hurd, a notoriously slow starter, to find some rhythm going into the third, in which his undaunted pressure started suffocating Lara. Hurd’s volume came in creative combinations, with varied speed and placement, and even though many of them caught Lara’s arms and shoulders, the work was starting to overshadow whatever counters he was landing. Lara’s counter left hand, particularly the uppercut, was a thing of beauty throughout the fight. In the fifth, a cross caught Hurd flush on the head and, at least, made it feasible that Lara may still possess the power to hurt him, despite the unmistakable difference in size. In the sixth, with his back against the ropes, Lara’s uppercut did seem to wobble Hurd after landing on the chin. Lara even managed to force Hurd into a retreat in the seventh, in which the action slowed down a bit, but Hurd would soon feed off the big right hand he landed at the end of the round and start the hell Lara had to weather.
Fighting out of Accokeek, Maryland, Hurd, picked up the volume in the eighth and parlayed that into a big ninth round that left Lara with an eye swelling and his mouth open. A left hook to the body was starting to be featured in those combinations by Hurd, and the way Lara was starting to get pushed around, a stoppage seemed destined at any moment. Yet behind his guard in those moments, Lara was merely waiting for an opportunity to throw his counter left and did so successfully, more often than not, it seemed. Then again, he also wasn’t throwing nearly enough of them. Close rounds in the 10th and 11th set up the final round in which all the hectic drama happened. Lara even suffered a leaking cut before getting knocked down, a rough ending to an otherwise great performance in defeat.
James DeGale reclaimed the IBF super middleweight title after earning a unanimous decision (117-110, 114-113 twice) over Caleb Truax in their rematch, a bloody one in the co-feature of the Showtime telecast.
DeGale, 24-2-1 (14), avenged an embarrassing upset Truax handed him in his hometown, four months ago, and, after two rounds in which he looked to have gotten his groove back – aside from the two head clashes he caused – everything changed for the 32-year-old in the third and it happened ironically. Time was called after Truax endured that first butt in the opening moments of the first but it was a clash from his head on DeGale that completely changed the tempo of the fight. A bad cut above his left eye bled the rest of the way and, while sporadically pawing at it, DeGale immediately retreated from the fight with his feet. Unfortunately for DeGale, referee Robert Byrd told officials ringside that the cut was caused by a punch from Truax, which of course, looms a threat of a TKO, should the cut cause an end to the fight, according to the ringside doctor.
Truax, 29-4-2 (18), took advantage of DeGale’s retreat the best he could. The 34-year-old from Osseo, Minnesota, had to chase him around the ring but started to find his hooks around DeGale’s guard, once momentarily trapping him on the ropes or in a corner. It wasn’t until the sixth in which DeGale started to show signs of a counter attack but the clean shots weren’t fazing Truax, as they were preemptively set up to create a way out. Both men seemed to tire in the middle rounds and, by the eighth, Truax would endure two leaking cuts above his eyes after the sloppy fight that ensued. With DeGale’s sparse output and Truax’s smothered offense, the fight dragged on with close rounds and more blood. Entering the championship rounds, the fight was seemingly still up in the air but DeGale had his best moments of the fight in those final six minutes. Oddly enough, when he started to engage and work off a consistent jab, DeGale provided a definitive ending to an otherwise close fight better left forgotten.
In the opening bout of the Showtime telecast, Julian “J-Rock” Williams earned a convincing win over Nathaniel Gallimore, despite the cards determining a majority decision (114-114, 116-112, 117-110). The contest was an IBF junior middleweight title eliminator.
Williams, 25-1-1 (15), got off to a commanding start boxing on the outside but started to play into Gallimore’s game in the third round. Gallimore, a 29-year-old Jamaican looking to brawl, used an uppercut to the body to get into the fight, once Williams welcomed him on the inside. That’s when a fight broke out through the middle rounds and Williams was starting to show its effects after suffering a cut over his left eye in the fifth.
Gallimore, 20-2-1 (17), showed a craftiness on the inside that outsmarted Williams a handful of times but Williams took the shots well and pushed through them to take him into deep waters. By the eighth, Gallimore was already showing signs of slowing down. With Gallimore’s volume of punches going down and his guard way up, Williams had free range to let off shots and get in an offensive rhythm. Neither man had fought past 10 rounds before this evening and, after an 11th round in which Williams hurt Gallimore with a left hook, it wasn’t looking good for the trash-talking Jamaican hopeful. Seemingly needing a knockout to win, Gallimore left it all in the ring to compete for the round and hand in an inspiring ending but Williams was just the better man on this night all the way around.