Unanimous decision goes against Accokeek native after 12 rugged rounds

Jarrett Hurd’s first title defense in the national capital region was supposed to end in a coronation for the Accokeek native who years ago pledged to headline a local boxing card only when he had championship belts in tow.

The previously unbeaten super welterweight instead departed EagleBank Arena late Saturday night without any of the three belts he brought into the ring, losing to top contender Julian Williams by 12-round unanimous decision in a bout in which Hurd was knocked down for the first time in his career.

Two judges scored the fight 115-112. A third judge scored it 116-111.

“I wasn’t able to get off,” Hurd said. “I can’t really call it right now. I have to go back and watch. I was loading up on my shots instead of letting my hands go.”

Immediately following the announcement of the decision, Williams dropped to his knees in the ring. Minutes later, he was proudly displaying hardware from the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organization.

The loss left Hurd (23-1, 16 knockouts) with an uncertain future. There’s the possibility of a rematch, which according to Team Hurd is included in the contract.

But Hurd also has indicated he has designs on moving up to 160 pounds. The loss to Williams could well expedite the decision for Hurd, who despite a noticeable size advantage was unable to put his shrewd opponent in peril except for only brief instances.

“I am just overwhelmed,” Williams said. “This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him. I am one of the best fighters in the world.”

The heavily partisan announced crowd of 5,105 left disappointed with the result after a hometown-tinged ring walk from Hurd featuring members of the Washington Redskins marching band energized the building. Hurd is Redskins team ambassador and wore trunks with the franchise logo.

But the proceedings turned dire for Hurd when Williams landed a left hook with 30 seconds left in Round 2, dropping the former champion and underscoring a fundamental deficiency he had been able to overcome until Saturday.

With an inclination to attack from the opening bell, Hurd provides a fan-friendly style in the ring that at times has left him open to counter punching. Such was the case in his previous fight against Jason Welborn at Staples Center in early December.

Welborn managed to pin Hurd along the ropes in the fourth round and land scoring blows before the champion used his commanding power to drop his opponent in the same round to win by knockout .

Hurd devoted a significant portion of this most recent training camp to refining his defensive acumen, anticipating Williams to be a far more capable challenger. The only loss of Williams’s career entering this weekend was to Jermall Charlo, the former IBF 154-pound champion.

“The thing about defense is, people have got to understand too, I’ve stepped up every time in competition,” Hurd said, “Of course, if you look at punch stats, my opponents have gotten hit more than me, but I guess because of my style, come forward, come forward, come forward, it looks like I take a lot of punches.”

There was no mistaking the punches he was absorbing in the early rounds, as Williams was able to get inside when Hurd often allowed his left arm to dangle, making him highly vulnerable.

But Hurd regrouped by overpowering Williams in the middle rounds, launching an assault in the fifth that brought the crowd to its feet.

A straight right connected to Williams’s temple, leaving the area visibly swollen and in need to treatment.

Trainers continued to work on the swelling in subsequent rounds, but it wasn’t long before Hurd’s corner had to do the same when Williams opened cut near Hurd’s right eye in the eighth.

Despite chants of “Swift, Swift, Swift” — Hurd’s nickname — throughout the stands during the closing rounds, he was unable to do much damage when clearly Hurd needed at least a knockdown to tilt the scoring.

“He was humbled by a tough defeat,” said Ernesto Rodriguez, Hurd’s trainer “It was J-Roc’s night. There is nothing you can say about it. It wasn’t the pressure of being home for Jarrett. J-Roc was the better fighter tonight.”

Upon winning a world title, Hurd aspired not only to defend locally but also to headline a card with other fighters from the area. Three undercard bouts on Saturday featured boxers with local ties, including the opening fight of the night that ended in a brutal fashion.

Clarksburg’s Mark Duncan was on the receiving end of a ferocious left-right combination from Kevin Womack Jr., in the second round that sent Duncan face-first to the canvas in a super middleweight bout.

Duncan’s legs began to twitch, and his body convulsed as he received medical attention. After being lifted to a gurney at ringside, Duncan’s legs continued to tremor, and he was transported by ambulance to Inova Fairfax Hospital for additional examination, according to fight officials.

In the first televised bout of the night on Fox, confusion reigned after Russian middleweight Matt Korobov initially beat Richmond’s Immanuwel Aleem by a majority decision that later was amended to a majority draw.

One judge had mismarked his scorecard for the 10th round, scoring it 10-10, which gave Korobov a 96-95 win. But the judge, according to officials, meant to award the 10th round to Aleem, 10-9, thus yielding a 95-95 draw, also the result from a second judge.

A third judge had Korobov winning, 97-93.