Jarrett Hurd vs Erislandy Lara
WBA 154lb champion, Cuba's Erislandy Lara, and IBF 154lb champion, Maryland's Jarrett Hurd, put their belts on the line in a unification fight.
Lara starts well, beats Hurd to the punch, moves well, and fires off clean punches throughout the first round. Hurd is more aggressive in round 2, but Lara still lands the cleaner, sharper punches off the back foot, although Hurd, able to land the heavier shots.
Hurd walks into clean but light punches to start round 3, Lara's shots are harder as Hurd gets closer, but Hurd is able to dig some hard left hooks to the body, Lara lands more, late in the round, Hurd lands the harder shots. Round 4 starts brilliantly, as Lara lands some good shots as Hurd comes in, Hurd walks through them with ease and lands hard shots of his own. Hurd gets the best of the end of round 4, as he out fights Lara.
Hurd comes forward in round 5, but struggles for accuracy, and is hit with clean shots. Lara fights the other guy's fight in round 5, and although they both have success, Lara lands the sharper, cleaner shots, maybe with as much velocity as well. Hurd struggles to find the range in round 6, Lara keeps him at distance. Hurd closes the gap, but struggles to hit Lara, and Lara lands a clean, jarring left uppercut off the ropes, Hurd finishes the round better, but can't sustain an attack.
Hurd lands a good right hand to start round 7, but can't build on it. Hurd is the aggressor, and Lara's shots don't have much behind them, but Lara, better technical skill wise. In a close round, Lara lands a couple of crisp combinations late. Hurd starts round 8 very well. Round 8 is good, Hurd attacks the body well, Lara lands a couple of clean counters. Both fighters land good shots late in round 8, Hurd with more, Lara, with a couple of stand out shots, but not many in a round mostly dictated by Hurd.
Hurd has a dominant start to round 9, jabbing, attacking the body. Lara's counters seem to have lost power, and Hurd is able to land hard body shots, chip away at Lara on the inside. Hurd has a great round 9, drags Lara into his fight, lands his right uppercut repeatedly, Lara is able to respond, but not with much. Hurd is aggressive in round 10, but struggles to land clean, Lara lands good straight shots. Hurd lands to head and body, but is caught on the counter, and as Lara is on the ropes, the Cuban lands with ferocious uppercuts. Later in the round, Lara lands great lefts, holds his ground as Hurd is ragged, Hurd finishes the round well, but doesn't match Lara's punch quality.
Both fighters land hard on the inside to start round 11. They slug it out, and Lara lands the good shots as the round goes on. Hurd is relentless, has output, lands some hard shots, but Lara lands on the counter with the more quality punches, but Lara, made to work at Hurd's pace. Hurd starts round 12 strongly, Lara lands clean, with power, but Hurd walks through it, misses, but lands an uppercut that hurts Lara. They both land, but Hurd does the damage, and late in the round, he lands a great left hook, drops Lara. Lara gets up, and fights it out with Hurd in the last 30 seconds.
Both fighters understandably think they have won what is a very close fight, most people seem to think it could go either way, but Hurd, with the late knockdown.
It is desperately close as all 3 judges score a 1 point margin, and not all to the same fighter, but Hurd wins a very close split decision, winning the WBA title.