Jarrett Hurd holds three boxing world titles. He has been a headliner in major markets across the country. International recognition, according to some industry experts, may be on the horizon.
All of which the undefeated super welterweight has embraced wholeheartedly, although by his admission, fame and fortune aren’t necessarily what compel the native of Accokeek, Md., to spend countless exhausting hours in the gym.
Of most pressing importance is his allegiance to the nation’s capital.
“I want to be the face of the DMV,” Hurd, 28, said last week following a workout at Hillcrest Boxing Club in Temple Hills outside the District, “so when you come to the area, when you talk about boxing, you talk about me.”
The next bout for Hurd (23-0, 16 knockouts) comes Saturday night at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax County, part of his plan to use a champion’s leverage to negotiate more fights in his backyard. His opponent is Philadelphia contender Julian Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs).
It’s the second unified title defense for Hurd and will serve as the main event for a card that includes plenty of local flavor. The Premier Boxing Champions card will be televised live on Fox starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Hurd hasn’t fought in the national capital region since 2014, when his career was in the nascent stages. A late starter in the sport, Hurd first fought professionally at 22. At the time, he pledged to headline a major venue in these parts only if he were a world champion.
Hurd captured his first title in February 2017 by beating Tony Harrison via ninth-round technical knockout for the vacant International Boxing Federation belt at 154 pounds. Hurd added the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organization belts last year via 12-round split decision over Erislandy Lara in Las Vegas.
Despite a torn rotator cuff he did not reveal until after the bout, Hurd defeated Lara in an action-filled showdown the Boxing Writers Association of America voted fight of the year.
“It’s something that he wanted a long time ago,” Hurd’s trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez, said of a title fight in the D.C. area. “Once he became champion, he wished to bring it back to the home area, so we brought it to the DMV, specifically in Fairfax, so he’s happy to have the fight at home.”
Local professional sports franchises have taken notice of Hurd as well. The Washington Redskins, most notably, invited Hurd to become a team ambassador. In April, Hurd visited Redskins Park and met Super Bowl XXII MVP quarterback Doug Williams, who serves as the team’s senior vice president of player personnel.
He also received a yellow sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “Fight for Old D.C.,” a phrase taken from the familiar fight song “Hail to the Redskins.” Hurd has been an ardent supporter of the Redskins as long as he can remember, with FedEx Field roughly 25 miles from his home.
More recently, Hurd attended a D.C. United game at Audi Field as a guest of the MLS club. He received a personalized team jersey with his name and the No. 1 on the back.
Hurd has appeared on local television and radio stations to discuss his career, and promotional images for the fight include Hurd posing on the steps of the District’s iconic memorials.
“It’s just thought of it being in my hometown, that’s what’s getting me excited,” Hurd said, “and counting down the days to the fight.”
His mother, Brenda Hurd, is organizing a family reunion around the bout to include, among others, her nine siblings. Hurd’s maternal grandmother is set to see him fight in person for the first time as part of the family’s Mother’s Day weekend celebration.
Hurd’s relatives no doubt will have ample opportunity to catch up with him, given that he lives with his parents.
“We just decided that he’s comfortable at home right now,” Brenda said. “He doesn’t really want to make any changes because everything’s working well. But now he’s talking about moving out at the end of this year. We’ll see.”
Brenda still occasionally attends her son’s workouts, although not as often as Fred Hurd Sr. The family patriarch introduced all three of his sons to boxing, with Jarrett Hurd taking an immediate interest. He grew up watching Lamont Peterson, the former unified junior welterweight champion from the District who recently announced his retirement, and hearing about other much celebrated local champions, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and William Joppy.
As one of two active fighters from Prince George’s County with a world title — Capitol Heights featherweight Gary Russell Jr. is the other — Hurd welcomes the responsibility of continuing the legacy of his championship predecessors from this area.
Next on that checklist, assuming Hurd dispatches Williams, is becoming the undisputed 154-pound champion with a title fight for the World Boxing Council belt that belongs to Harrison, the man Hurd defeated for the IBF title.
Harrison has a title defense against former WBC champion Jermell Charlo in June at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where Hurd intends to be ringside.
“Of course I want to be put on that level with Sugar Ray Leonard, Lamont Peterson, all those guys,” Hurd said. “I feel like the path I’m on right now, I’ll be remembered that way.”