Williams Shocks Hurd on Points
By Gary Kittilsen
Swift Jarrett Hurd walked into EagleBank Arena to make a defense of his WBA/IBF 154-pound titles against Julian “J Rock” Williams as the hometown fighter ad a huge betting favorite.
None of that seemed to matter in the hellacious 12 round affair. It was J Rocks’s second crack at a world title and unlike in his first title shot, he was not going to let this moment pass. Williams came out like a man possessed outboxing and outmaneuvering Hurd in the first round and then dropping and badly hurting the champ in the second round.
In an unexpected move Williams, who was considered the quicker fighter and better mover took the fight to the freakishly strong Hurd. Out landing and outworking him on the inside, snapping his head back and buckling the champs on several occasions in the early going with massive right hands. Hurd, not known for his defensive prowess had no answers all night for the power shots of Williams.
Behind on the cards entering the middle rounds, Hurd tried to turn the tides, doing effective work from the mid-range landing big right hands and having success on the inside hurting the challenger with uppercuts and mixing in hard body shots to get himself back into the fight. With the scorecards starting to even up entering the eighth, William was not about to be denied a world title for a second time seemingly finding his second wind and proving to be the quicker man on the inside landing clean combinations to the head and body to swing the fight back in his favor.
Being the first to land and scoring with the better shots in nearly every exchange he seemed to have regained control of the fight and was on his way to taking a decision. until Hurd landed a massive body shot that froze the challenger, with just seconds remaining in the 11th. Trying to seize the moment Hurd jumped on the wounded challenger and rallied scoring a few big right hands just as the bell sounded to save Williams from further damage.
As the 12th round started Williams didn’t try to run out the clock. Instead, he went right after Hurd and the two exchanged vicious power shots throughout an action-packed final round. Hurd knowing his title was slipping away and J Rock knowing those world titles were well within his reach, the two slugged it out until the final bell rang.
Going to the cards the 5,000 in attendance and both fighters now which way the cards were going 116-111 and 115-112 twice for the new WBA & IBF Jr Middleweight champion from Philadelphia, Julian J Rock Williams.
It was the Philadelphians night and he was not about to be denied having answers for everything Hurd offered up. The newly crowned champ said:
“This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him, I am one of the best fighters in the world. Maybe I wasn’t ready for a title the first time I got a shot” Williams added “I just stayed poised I listened to my coach and it just worked”
In the co-main event, Texas-based 140-pound prospect Mario “El Azteca” Barrios put on an ultra-impressive performance against rugged challenger, Juan Jose Velasco.
Velasco who last year was able to last seven rounds with Regis Prograis who is considered one of the best in the weight class had no such luck against Barrios. After outboxing Velasco and using his jab to establish the range, the young prospect went in for the kill in the second and got it. Scoring with a huge left hook to the body that was perfectly placed and dropped Velasco to his knees and he would remain on his knees for the 10-counts and several minutes later unable to get back to his feet.
It was an early birthday present for the Texan who turns 24 next week and was perhaps the most impressive victory of his young career. Barrios ran his record t0 24-0 (16) and according to his team is in line for a world-title fight in his next fight.
El Azteca doubled down on that sentiment post fight saying:
“I want the world champions. I want all that smoke. I’m ready. I’ve proven it my past eight fights at 140, I’m ready for that title shot.