ONTARIO, Calif. – Nearly two years have passed since Jarrett Hurd has been in the ring. Looking back, the former unified junior middleweight titleholder realizes that he needed the break.
The 32-year-old from Accokeek, Md. says he needed the time off to properly grieve his father, Fred Hurd Sr., who died in March of 2021 at the age of 63. It’s a loss that he didn’t fully realize the impact of until much later.
When he felt ready to put the gloves back on, Hurd had an identity crisis that needed solving. After two losses in his past three fights, the question of who he was lingered over his career.
Hurd won the IBF and WBA junior middleweight titles against fighters like Tony Harrison and Erislandy Lara with a style he describes as “the break you down type of style,” but began to doubt whether that style could remain effective at the top level after losing the belts to Julian Williams in 2019.
“That style was working for me but I feel it could be figured out. If a guy does come in shape an my game plan is to break the guy down, what if he doesn’t break down?,” said Hurd (24-2, 16 knockouts), who returns to the ring this Saturday against Jose Armando Resendiz in the Magsayo-Figueroa co-featured bout at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif.
He tried to showcase more boxing skill and movement in his following bout against Francisco Santana, but his passivity cost him against Luis Arias, as he lost a split decision in June of 2021.
As he pondered his next move, Hurd met with Andrew Council, a former middleweight title challenger turned rising trainer. The two knew each other before, but hadn’t worked together until six months ago. The first task for Council was setting the expectations of how he should fight.
“I had a sit down with him, I had to remind him of who he is. I think he lost his identity for a minute by trying to be a slick boxer and I had to tell him that’s not who you are. You’re a come forward guy, a real big guy for your weight,” said Council, who also has unbeaten welterweight prospect Travon Marshall (7-0, 6 KOs) fighting on the untelevised portion of the Showtime Championship Boxing card.
The partnership has worked so far. Hurd likes that he can train close to home in Maryland, and Council says he has appeared rejuvenated after getting lots of intense sparring against younger prospects.
The tandem will get their first chance to test themselves against Resendiz (13-1, 9 KOs), the 24-year-old from Nayarit, Mexico who is trained by Manny Robles. Resendiz is coming off a second round stoppage against the once-beaten Heber Rondon last October, but was beaten by trial horse Marcos Hernandez in the fight before that.
“I don’t think Resendiz has too much of anything I haven’t seen before. I expect him to have the heart, this is the biggest fight of his career so I expect him to come ready and in shape. I think it’ll be a little tough, he’s a durable guy but the experience I have and the level of competition I’ve faced, I don’t think he has been at that level,” said Hurd.
“I think he’s gonna come out and try to jump on Jarrett because he knows Jarrett hasn’t been fighting,” adds Council. “He’s a young dude and is looking at Jarrett as an opportunity to make a name for himself.”
A win for Hurd could put him right back in the middleweight mix, where the IBF title is currently vacant and Hurd’s Premier Boxing Champions stablemate Jermall Charlo currently holds a title belt.
Council just wants Hurd to stay busy, and fight as often as he can to get back into his rhythm of fighting so he can build towards another world title opportunity.
That starts with turning back his hungry opponent.
“This is also a test for myself as well to see where I’m at in this sport. Of course I still have to shake off a few cobwebs, I’ve been off for a long time but I’m here to answer some questions about myself,” said Hurd.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].