“You still want to go?”
A simple question posed to me by Mr. Woods of NYFights.
“Go” ….meaning fly from small town USA in the Pacific Northwest across the country to Fairfax, Virginia to cover the Jarrett Hurd-Julian Williams fight this upcoming Saturday.
The responded answer? “Yes, sir. Absolutely,” from yours truly as he fills out sick day requests at work.
I don’t want to miss this one. Something special is going to happen. At least it seems to line up that way.
Jarrett Hurd has special written all over him. And for some reason, the boxing community has fallen illiterate, unable to read the glaring signs on the walls. National broadcast of his fight notwithstanding, recognition for the fighter seems to not equal those who have had equal success. Rare do you find him in the top 10 Pound for Pound lists of those who cover the sport. The big money paydays that seem to follow the champions around his weight class have yet to be deposited in his local Maryland branch.
As I watch him discuss his upcoming bout with Julian Williams, the Mrs. in the other room asks who is on the TV. When I tell her, the name doesn’t ring a bell. Which results in a “really!?”
But if she hears the names Jaime Munguia or a Charlo, I get the familiar “Oh yeah, I know him.”
What am I missing here? He’s an undefeated champion. Ranked #1 at his weight by all major lists. His recent fights have led to spectacular finishes, 12th round knockdowns and came against good competition. As far as outside of the ring? A million-dollar smile, very personal in his interviews.
Hell, he still lives with his parents and has the same girlfriend since his early 20s.
What is the disconnect?
Boxing fans are fickle. Each week the personal arguments of who is #1 pound for pound changing based on last weekend’s results. What have you done for me lately? Those truly transcendent stars seem never to disappoint when given the opportunity to shine when on the biggest stage. That’s what sticks with fans, who in turn, stick their hands into their pocketbooks and fork over their hard-earned money to see what’s next.
2019 has offered miserable PPVs, fights not living up to the hype and all too many lopsided mismatches. The thought of a solid fight, with a marketable champion on national television without a monthly fee included, is a welcome change of pace. Boxing fans are ready to embrace a different narrative. What bigger stage can one offer over this Saturday then? A decisive victory by the Beckham- haired boxer from outside of Baltimore and that stage could serve as a launching pad.
And Jarrett knows this.
Following Jarrett on social media, you will quickly see retweets of fans who argue for his placement amongst boxing’s best. When asked if it bothers him… “It doesn’t bother me that much. I just need to beat who I need to beat.”
Those answers having a meaning: “Yeah, it bothers me. And I know what I need to do this weekend in order to put myself there.”
A knockout of Julian Williams on Fox this weekend and few will argue where his placement would be. Not amongst those that weigh 154. Amongst the best fighters in the world. In the hearts of those fickle fans.
The stage is set. Eyes are being focused on Fairfax, Virginia. Jarrett Hurd has an opportunity to show what is written all over him to those boxing fans that seem to have skipped his story. You may not want to miss this one. The stars are aligned. Something special is going to happen. At least it seems that way.