The Super Welterweight division altered dramatically last weekend once again, as former unified champion Julian Williams saw his IBF and WBA (Super) belts ripped away in his homecoming in Philadelphia by Jeison Rosario.
Almost eight months earlier, Williams himself was revelling in his new found glory, after his stunning upset over the previously unbeaten Jarrett Hurd in Virginia.
Hurd took his licks and spent some time away from the sport, as he re-grouped and returned with a unanimous decision victory over Francisco Santana on Saturday on the undercard of Danny Garcia’s equally dominant win over Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach at Barclays Center, Brooklyn.
A performance which was perhaps displeasing to some, however ‘Swift’ took his time and stuck to the gameplan devised by new trainer Kay Koroma to ensure there was no repeat shock in his comeback fight.
A final round knockdown would have been a more than welcomed confidence boost for Hurd, as he battled past his Californian opponent.
The once unbeatable Accokeek native has been forced to rebuild, however Saturday’s victory was possibly crucial as he plots his charge back towards the pinnacle in an ever-changing, yet highly intriguing Super Welterweight scene.
Hurd expressed his desire to finish the job he started by becoming a two-time titlist and ultimately becoming undisputed champion, before moving up to the middleweight ranks.
Here are ‘Swift’s’ possible options in 2020:
Rosario is the man who beat the man who beat the man. ‘Banana’ was a relatively unknown quantity and was not given much of a prayer, as he went on to emphatically prove the doubters wrong by stopping Julian Williams in a brutal fifth round assault.
The Dominican Republican has rightfully stolen the limelight and with two belts, is the clear golden ticket of the division and a notable option for Hurd who remains intent on claiming back his straps by the quickest route possible.
Despite being unified champion, Hurd would likely still be the favourite heading into a bout between the pair, however it appears that Rosario will be tied up with Williams again, who is bound to exercise an immediate rematch clause.
A rematch between the pair will surely take place at some point down the line. Hurd pulled out of a scheduled rematch on December 14th for unspecified reasons and ‘Swift’ may regret the decision, as he now must wait his turn to face ‘J Rock’.
Williams has vowed to exercise his rematch clause immediately following his shock loss to Rosario meaning his fellow PBC stablemate will be out of the picture, as he bids to mount another title challenge.
Nevertheless, with or without a belt, a second fight is likely to still generate interest to conclude whether Hurd did just have a bad day at the office last May or whether Williams is in fact just his adversary.
Hurd could chase a potentially colossal bout with WBC champion Jermell Charlo.
Charlo, 29, regained his WBC title in December in a rematch with Tony Harrison, just shy of a year on from their first bout, in which the Detroit man fully capitalised on his second world title opportunity to upset his foe in Brooklyn.
Harrison’s previous world title attempt came in 2017, as Hurd produced a ninth round stoppage in their IBF world title fight, whilst Charlo claimed revenge in their second bout with an 11th round TKO.
Both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Swift’ are part of the PBC banner and therefore a bout between the pair appears fairly straight forward to make.
Moreover, with the PBC choosing not to recognise the WBO belt held by Patrick Teixeira, who is set to face Brian Castano with purse bids decided this week, this option seems like Hurd’s most viable method to climb back to the hills he once reached.
Currently, however Orlando’s Erickson Lubin appears best place to challenge Charlo once again having racked four successive victories since his first round defeat in 2017 and in doing so, elevated himself into the #1 position.
The experienced Cuban-born American, Erislandy Lara also represents another route to a world title for Hurd, in what would also be a rematch between the pair.
Hurd scored a final round knockdown, as he did against against Santana, to became unified champion on a split decision against in 2018, ripping away ’The American Dream’s’ WBA (Super) crown in an explosive battle, which was voted fight of the year by ESPN.
A second bout would be a mouthwatering prospect and if ‘Swift’ is unable to secure a shot at Charlo or Rosario, then this option seems worth exploring.
Lara, who too is under PBC, holds the WBA (regular) world title following his victory over Ramon Alvarez, the older brother of Canelo who Lara lost to on a split decision in 2014.
The 36-year-old may be drawing to the end of a highly successful career, but would be no soft touch, as Hurd experienced, carrying a wealth of experience dating back to claiming a gold medal at the 2005 World Championships.