14
Dec
2018

Lara, Hurd discuss 154 unification in-depth

Ringside 24/03/2018
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Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording

Leonard Ellerbe
Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining our call today. We’re very excited. What a great card we have come April the 7th from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. In the main event, we have Erislandy Lara versus Jarrett Hurd in an outstanding unification fight which will determine supremacy at the 154-weight class.

In the co-main event, we have a great rematch of a fight that saw Caleb Truax wrestle the IBF Super Middleweight Championship away from James DeGale. That’s going to be a terrific fight also.

In the opening bout, we have Julian Williams taking on Nathaniel Gallimore in what will be a very, very entertaining fight as an IBF Junior Middleweight Elimination Bout.

Our card is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions. Tickets are still on sale at AXS.com and it starts as cheap as $50. Again, this will be a terrific card led by none other than – I’m going to introduce the man who’s totally responsible for putting all this together, none other than Stephen Espinoza.

Stephen Espinoza
Thanks, Leonard. Well, the hits keep coming here at SHOWTIME, coming off of a huge March schedule highlighted by the two big time heavyweight title fights. April on SHOWTIME will feature two stellar cards from Mayweather Promotions.

The first on April 7 is a high-quality tripleheader, three competitively matched fights with world title implications and our main event, Lara versus Hurd, a unification fight, featuring two of the top three consensus in the world at 154 pounds. Sort of the natural evolution of what has been an unofficial super welterweight tournament over the last year, year and a half on SHOWTIME.

In 2017, SHOWTIME televised eight matchups featuring all of the top five ranked super welterweight champions and challengers in that unofficial tournament. Now we get the natural results of that, a unification fight which happens to be only the sixth unification fight in the history of the 154-pound division.

Erislandy Lara, he’s the WBA champ, the longest reigning champion at 154 pounds. He won the WBA title on SHOWTIME in 2014 and he’s now making his sixth defense. With a record of 25-2-2, he could easily make the case that he could be undefeated certainly. The loss to Paul Williams was very controversial and a very close split decision loss to Canelo. So we very well could have an undefeated fighter.

Jarrett Hurd is the IBF champion. He made the first defense of his title on SHOWTIME in October. He has scored seven consecutive KOs as his level of bout position has dramatically increased and, in fact, he really has burst on the scene lately. His first televised fight was on SHOBOX in 2015, a KO of Frank Galarza, and he’s been on a roll ever since.

This fight, this main event, Lara versus Hurd, is one of five matchups of top five contenders, top five ranked fighters, on the SHOWTIME schedule just in the first half of this year. So we look forward to a great fight, a great card on April 7th.

L. Ellerbe
Thank you, Stephen. I would like to introduce the IBF world champion. What an outstanding young fighter. He’s from my hometown. He lives and trains out of Accokeek, Maryland. Always in exciting fights and we expect nothing different come April the 7th. He’s undefeated with a record of 21-0, with 15 KOs. He’s coming off of career-defining TKO victory over Austin Trout. Ladies and gentlemen, the IBF Junior Middleweight Champion, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.

Jarrett Hurd
Training is going well. We’re getting prepared. This is a fight that I wanted just as bad as any and I’m glad we can make it happen. I just can’t wait to put on a show.

L. Ellerbe
Great. Okay. Next up, we have Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara with a record of 25 and 2 with 14 KOs. And again, as Stephen mentioned earlier, Lara is the longest reigning champion at 154. A tremendous boxer, real slick, real smooth. He’s been in there with all the top guys in the weight class and again, he’ll be looking to put on another great performance come April the 7th. So, ladies and gentlemen, Erislandy Lara.

Erislandy Lara
First I want to thank everyone on the call. Most importantly, I’d like to thank SHOWTIME for putting on a great fight, thank Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and my whole team. Come April 7, I’ll be ready to fight and ready to put on a show.

Q
For Stephen, I’m just wondering if you could give your thought process as to what made you decide to make a matchup between Erislandy Lara and Hurd as opposed to either of those guys against Charlo.

S. Espinoza
I think it was really the style matchup. When we sat down and looked at them, they’re three exciting fighters, three great champions, but the matchup that was really intriguing because of the styles was Lara versus Hurd.

Erislandy has never shied away from any challenge. Jarrett was very vocal about wanting to unify. And the combination of their styles, where they are in their careers, it seemed like an intriguing matchup.

Q
Do you believe that the winner of the fight would then look to fight Charlo?

S. Espinoza
Absolutely. And Jermell is game. He’s on board. He’s on board for it. He was recently on SHOWTIME and he indicated he wants the winner. He wants the winner next.

Q
Jarrett, what was it about this matchup that made you want it more?

J. Hurd
Well, I knew both fights will eventually happen. But I feel like the fight with Erislandy Lara will give me more credibility and will put me in position at number one. I wanted to be top guy in my division and now I feel like I am the top guy in my division.

This fight, I want it over the fight with Jermell Charlo, even though the fight with Jermell Charlo is more anticipated and people want – maybe because of our styles, but I wanted this fight because I feel like it will put me to better position in the 154 division.

Q
Do you feel like at 27 years old you’re now in your prime and that basically whether it’s Erislandy Lara, or anybody else in the weight class that Jarrett Hurd’s punching power can take care of them?

J. Hurd
I feel like my power – I have the power that’s deceptive and it doesn’t look as hard on TV or while you’re in there until you feel it. It’s a total different story.

I feel like my power can stop anyone, put anyone down. But on April 7th, the knockout streak, I’ll stop another guy and I plan on continuing to keep doing.

Q
Are you ready for a much different kind of style in an experienced fighter like Lara? How do you deal with that kind of skill?

J. Hurd
Lara, he’s been the longest reigning champion at 154. I’ve been fighting at 154 all my life, so we’ve been watching him since I turned professional and the style Lara presents we’ve been training for this long before this training camp. He’s a great champion but Lara has always been on top and we always study and the game plan we got is perfect and this is why we wanted the fight. It’s no secret how badly I wanted this fight.

Of course, I’m not going to stay in there and try to box with Lara because Lara is an expert on what he does. Lara is not going to stand there toe-to-toe with me because of my size, inside game and my power. So it’s going to be a cat and mouse game and I just can’t wait to show you guys that outcome.

Q
I wonder if Lara could give me his perspective on where he thinks Jarrett Hurd falls in the weight class and whether or not he feels like he is going to have to outbox him or maybe he can mix it up with him a bit.

E. Lara
I’m ready to go for April 7th. Jarrett Hurd, as everyone knows, he’s a big, strong fighter, but pretty basic. He can try to fight, kind of like a Mexican strong style and those are styles that I’d like to fight.

So come April 7th, we hope he’s prepared. I’m prepared and want to put on a great fight for the fans and for the writers and for everyone else.

Q
Was this a fight that Erislandy wanted or would he have preferred a Charlo unification?

E. Lara
As everyone knows, I was the one who wanted this fight. He won his title in February, I wanted to fight him in October and his team said he wasn’t ready to fight me in October. They wanted him to be prepared to fight another southpaw and prepare for me.

So, as the pressure mounted, Jarrett Hurd decided just to fight. So I’m happy he stepped up to the plate but as everyone knows, I want his belt and I want the other belts in this division as well.

Q
Jarrett, how do you feel Erislandy compares to Trout in the sense of how much better he might be and how much of a step-up in competition it is for you?

J. Hurd
I feel like Lara has a little bit better foot movement than Trout. And one thing about Trout, he took chances in my fight. He stayed there with me. I don’t think Lara is going to take that many chances. He’s a very disciplined fighter.

So whatever works for him, he’s going to stick to exactly what he’s working for. He’s never going to change it no matter how hot on the scorecard he is or not, he’s going to stick to his game plan and I think he’s much more disciplined and a little sharper than Trout.

Q
How much do you feel that it helped you to fight Trout to get ready for this fight?

J. Hurd
It definitely helped me, not only to fight Trout, but just going to two training camps with southpaws. I only fought three southpaws in my career before Trout. So now I have a lot of experience with them. So going into this fight I wanted to kind of go into two or three camps before I face Lara and I think it helped me.

Q
Erislandy said that you fight like a Mexican. How much of a compliment do you take that as?

J. Hurd
Mexicans are fighters, man. I take it as a compliment. When you describe a Mexican fighter, you stay toe-to-toe and that’s what the fans like to see. Of course, that’s not my only style. Everyone sees I can switch it up with my fight with Frank Galarza back in Las Vegas and it all depends on what I have to bring out that night. I can do it all.

Q
Erislandy, what do you think of how Hurd fought in the Trout fight?

E. Lara
I watched the Trout fight in the locker room and as I was preparing for my fight, so I couldn’t watch that carefully but from what I saw in the fight, I thought Trout was winning the fight and as the fight wore on, obviously, Trout’s legs weren’t there and he hadn’t fought in 17 months and he’s also a fighter who’s on the back-end of his career, and had lost already several times.

But I thought Trout was actually doing a good job in the fight and, like I said, Hurd is a guy who likes to take it up a notch after six, seven rounds and I like to take it up a notch or two after six, seven rounds. So, this is going to be a great fight. And come April 7, I’m just ready to rumble.

Q
Based on what you just said, do you feel that maybe too much has been made of the Trout win?

E. Lara
People are going to have their take on the Trout fight but, there is no fighter at 154 or 160 or anywhere around this weight division that has my style and my boxing ability and my smarts, and that’s the reason I’ve made it this far.

Trout was out 17 months. He is an older guy. He’s been defeated several times and he is a former world champ but he’s also had a loser mentality.

It’s a lot different when you’re fighting a winner and you’re fighting the guy who also dominated Trout and put him on the deck and let him off the hook in the 12th. It’s an exciting fight and we’re excited to put on a great fight.

Q
How important is it for you, if you’re able to beat Jarrett Hurd, that you go and fight Jermell Charlo and you in effect clean out the 154-pound division?

E. Lara
I said it before and I’m going to say it again. I’m going to clean out the division and that has been my plan from the beginning and I’m going to stick to my plan. I don’t care who the champions are. I don’t care what their names are or where they’re from. I’m going to clean up the division and it starts April 7.

Q
Do you view Hurd as a tougher fight than Charlo or vice versa?

E. Lara
I don’t look at them any different. They’re both to me kind of the same fighter. They both come up to the ring with a purpose and they’re trying to win. But at the end of the day, I’m the best fighter in this division. It’s been proven over years. So whether it was Hurd first, Charlo first, it didn’t matter. I’m just ready to rumble.

L. Ellerbe
I would also like to touch on that. With all due respect to Trout, Jarrett Hurd ain’t Austin Trout. I mean, this kid is the real deal. I try to look back in the history of this particular division and I can’t think of a fighter who was as big and physical and applies the kind of pressure — especially mental pressure — that he puts on guys in a very, very long time. This is going to be a tremendous fight, an excellent matchup, contrasting styles and I’m really, really excited to see this bout.

Q
You said before in the past that you start off slow in your fights on purpose even to the point of taking a blow or two from your opponent. What’s your thinking behind strategy like that?

J. Hurd
I’m just feeling my opponent out. You don’t want to go out there and not know what he’s capable of. So you just don’t want to go out there and take that many chances without seeing what the guy’s got. So, I just use the first round to see what he has and take it from there, make the adjustments.

Q
Do you think people recognize your size and your power? Do they underestimate your ability to fight inside?

J. Hurd
A hundred percent. I don’t think now, but I think they did before. Me being a taller, longer, rangier guy they expect me to be on the outside and I know I surprised a lot of people when I start to fight inside, that close. I watched a lot of James Toney. So that’s where I kind of get it from.

Q
Stephen, you said this fight was chosen and put together based on the styles of these fighters. Is it that you recognized the last four opponents that Hurd’s faced were two orthodox fighters and also two southpaw fighters that he put on a great performance against?

S. Espinoza
Well, it was more looking for an entertaining fight. It’s sort of the classic matador-and-bull type of fight. You’ve got a really aggressive hard-punching, young, strong champion and you’ve got, another champion who’s known as one of the most skilled fighters in any division. So it’s sort of the unstoppable force immovable object coming together; which style is going to win out?

So it really wasn’t as much looking at past opponents as it was, what might be the most exciting fight. And not to say that Jermell isn’t an exciting fighter, too, because, that is definitely something that’s very, very possible in the near future.

So it was just, which one could come first, which one would come next, and I think the clash of styles is what attracted us to this matchup first.

L. Ellerbe
Sometimes when people referred to Lara, they just mostly speak about his boxing skill. But Lara can also crack, too. So those out there who sleep on Lara’s power are sadly mistaken. I’ve sat ringside, first row a couple of his fights and especially the Canelo fight and I’ve seen firsthand what his power looks like. And if anybody’s sleeping on his power, they are sadly mistaken.

Q
Jarrett do you think those recent fights are the fights that prepared you going into this fight against Lara?

J. Hurd
Yes, I feel more though that my career period has prepared me for this fight. I didn’t come up the easy route. So I didn’t have a big amateur career. A lot of people didn’t want to give me a chance. I had to go out there and take them. My performances I put on when I got the opportunity each and every time on TV, I went out there and did what I was supposed to.

So, I feel like just my career, period, and all I’ve been through prepared me for this fight, not just those fights on TV, but those little fights.

Q
You say that you want to go ahead and walk opponents down and try to get rid of them, put the more pressure on. Is that the case?

Jarrett Hurd:
It depends. Like during the Austin Trout fight. He did lack a little power, so I was willing to take some to get some in. I was willing to take some chances but, it all depends on, like you said, if they all lack a little power. Are you willing to take those chances?

Like my fight with Oscar Molina, he can crack a little more than Tony Harrison, so I was kind of a little more head movement and little less willing to go into there without being cautious.

It all depends. But like I said man it’s crazy because people define me by my last two fights as that’s my style. I was the guy that always was the kind of puncher and fought from his back foot until guys started to compare me and look at my size. I didn’t even realize I was that big of a fighter until I got on the stage with some of these guys. So my last two fights are the only fights that I have fought that way in my career, coming forward and then pressure, because I knew eventually I would have to come into a fight with a guy like Lara. We’ve been working on it, but I could switch it up. I can do whatever. It all depends on my opponent that night and y’all just going to have to wait and see.

Q
Erislandy, are there any concerns about him getting stronger as the fight goes on and also how he’s able to take punches from people and actually take their power?

E. Lara
I keep seeing people refer to his height or how big he is, but Williams was taller and bigger than him. Canelo was and is stronger than him, and they couldn’t deal with me.

So I’m not worried about what he has to bring today. I’m worried about what I have to do in that ring. I’m focused. I’m ready, and there’s no question in my mind I know I can knock him out. If he gets reckless, he’s going to get knocked down. And if not, then he’s going to get beat up.

He’s going to have to make that decision on April 7 whether he’s willing to go through the fire or if he’s just willing just to lose a decision. It’s up to him. He’s going to have to decide that on April 7.

Q
Do you think that those past fights have given you any kind of preparation or anything for this fight coming? Or do you feel that you’re totally different from when you fought Paul Williams and when you fought Canelo, physically?

E. Lara
I don’t look for one specific fight. I don’t look at last fight or the last four fights because my whole life, I’ve been preparing for this, since Cuba.

I didn’t have shoes until I was 5 years old. I was preparing for this. I was born to be a fighter. It was during my whole amateur career, 350 plus amateur fights, several world championships across the amateurs. Now my whole pro-career, I fought the top guys, I’ve beat the top guys, and that’s what’s prepared me for this fight and prepared me to fight whoever is available in the division.

So I’m ready to go and I’m ready to fight.

Q
Leonard, with Mayweather Promotions, are you guys planning to put more and more fights together, not just with your own fighters but working with SHOWTIME to put on just top-quality fights, period?

L. Ellerbe
We’re very excited to promote all these big events, working along with SHOWTIME and expect to see more of it in the next couple of months.

We’ve outlined our next few big events that we have and expect more of that in the fall of this year. All we’re looking to do is put on the biggest and best events and make them for the fans.

Q
What is Erislandy’s take on sometimes people not appreciating the sweet science and his boxing ability?

E. Lara
This is a sport. Boxing is hit and don’t get hit. That’s the way it was taught from the beginning of time. It’s a sweet science and all fights are different. Styles are different. Styles obviously make fights.

Some guys are willing to take more risk than others and that sometimes dictates the action in a fight. My main focus is to win every fight and win clearly. That’s my job.

Q
Erislandy are you the only fighter in the division that could put Jermell Charlo in his place?

E. Lara
One hundred percent yes. And from my experiences of hundreds of rounds of sparring, Jermell Charlo won’t fight Erislandy Lara next when we get done with Hurd. Only time will tell.

Q
Jarrett, do you see any weakness in Erislandy Lara?

J. Hurd
Well you all will have to see that on fight night. Not to give away too much of the game plan, but, like I said, Lara’s toughest fights are when guys put pressure on him. And that’s what we’re going to do.

Q
Leonard, you talked about Jarrett’s versatility and how you’ve done some research on this weight class and his size. But in your time, have you seen a guy with his relative inexperience to someone like Lara expressing the confidence that he has done and also just rising so quickly against quality opposition like this?

L. Ellerbe
No, I think it’s a tremendous asset. Confidence is everything in this sport. He has a strong belief in his skill set and his ability to go out there and get it done.

Obviously, this is the biggest and toughest challenge to date with Lara being a great champion who has fought on the big stage and has fought a number of great fighters. But again, those contrasting styles and Jarrett having the ability and the confidence to bring that to the table I think is going to make a big, big difference.

Because it’s one thing with sitting on the outside and watching guys fight on TV, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you got a light heavyweight walking you down and putting that kind of mental pressure on you. But Lara’s built for this kind of thing because he’s seen any and every kind of style out there.

So these are the reasons why I think it’s a great, great matchup because again, I think that Jarrett is going to bring out the best in Lara and I think vice-versa, Lara is going to bring the best out in Jarrett. Period.

When it comes to Lara, we’ve seen him on the big stage before. He’s a tremendous boxer. He’s actually, in my eyes, the best boxer that’s out there. Tremendous foot movement, head movement, coming from that great Cuban school of boxing, he’s a real deal.

But again, you got this young, tough, hungry lion that had the mindset that he doesn’t care what Lara has done in the past because Lara has never fought nobody like Jarrett Hurd, and vice-versa.

That’s what makes this an intriguing matchup. Come April 7, I expect this fight probably might end in a knockout.

Q
What is your assessment of Jarrett Hurd compared to the guys you faced in your career?

E. Lara
I don’t compare fighters. I look at him as a young, hungry kid who’s got desire. He wants to be great. He’s going to come forward and he’s going to come ready to fight. If he doesn’t come forward, then I’ll be ready to fight, too, however it plays out. But I’m ready for everything he brings to the table.

Q
When was the last time, Erislandy, that someone outright predicted that they were going to knock you out as he has done?

E. Lara
Every fighter wants to knock you out when you get in that ring. Paul Williams wanted to knock me out. Canelo, Vanes, plus he keeps mentioning how it’s going to be Angulo and this and that.

Well, Angulo connected on me twice, but don’t forget how that fight finished. I ended Angulo’s career. I ruined his career and I put him out of the top level of boxing.

If Jarrett Hurd thinks he’s going to come like that, I’m going to end his career too, at 27 years old. So come April 7, I’m hoping he puts that pressure so I could ruin his career for all the talking that he’s been doing.

Q
Jarrett? What did you think of what he just said?

J. Hurd
I mean, here’s the thing, we all know that Lara has the experience. He’s seen every style from right-handed to the southpaw. Anything you give him, he’s seen it all. But he has not experienced what I’m about to give him.

It’s not about the styles that you’ve seen; it’s about what you’re about to experience. So this is a whole different ballgame. You get in there to fight with Jarrett Hurd and you’ll see how that all ends.

I speak from the heart and I say what I feel. I’m not just out here talking just to talk. I’m putting in the work. Where my chance is going and where I see this fight playing out, there’s no way that Lara is going to come out of top.

Q
What makes you different from Angulo? And also, does it give you a little bit of an edge that he is a little bit older now than he was then?

J. Hurd
No, we never play that old card. You’ve seen Lara’s performances. He’s still in great shape. Age is not factor. I hate guys saying the same thing with Austin Trout. They say age is starting to show.

We’re not going to play the age card. We see that Lara is still a great fighter. He’s the longest reigning champion for a reason and age shouldn’t play a part.

As far as the past Angulo thing, nothing to take away from Angulo. He’s a great fighter, he’s done great things, but I’m much faster than Angulo, much sharp than Angulo, hit harder than Angulo and I’m a much bigger guy.

So physically, when I’m in there, on him in the ring, he’s going to feel it. He couldn’t take the pressure and the style from Angulo. He’s going to be in long night when he fights me.

L. Ellerbe
Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard from both fighters. Again, we have a tremendous lineup, great tripleheader live on SHOWTIME, April the 7th, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Lara versus Hurd, Truax versus DeGale, Julian Williams versus Nathaniel Gallimore. What a tremendous tripleheader, live on SHOWTIME.

We want to thank everyone for joining us on the call. Have a wonderful day.

 

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