What struck me about Jarrett Hurd’s defining career win against Erislandy Lara for three world championship belts in 2018 was one bit of personal information given about Hurd by the commentary team. He was fighting for all that gold and glory, while his parents were angling for him to move out of the family home. He was 27 years old at the time. He was saving money, and while he had the privilege of his next-door neighbor doing meal prep for him, he was still doing household chores for his parents.
Jarrett Hurd Career Highlights
The living situation of Jarrett Hurd reflects the economic realities for many fighters. Chase the tantalizing prospect of greatness, at the cost of a degree of personal independence. That’s not to say that Hurd also appreciated the comforts of close family ties, but his life-story paints a picture of the life of a boxer, at least from my experience of being around fight camps, gyms, and media events. We often put fighters on a pedestal of superhuman strength, at a cost of neglecting the basic reality that they are humans too. They have to put food on the table and they need somewhere to live/call home.
It’s saddening to learn that Hurd lost his father in the intervening years between this weekend’s comeback fight against Jose Resendiz and his big win over Lara. Again, the emotional impact of grief is sometimes overlooked in the career of any athlete, but especially that of a fighter. While it is impossible and unhelpful to speculate, I think personal circumstance needs to be factored into the way we preview, commentate and assess fighters.
Jarrett Hurd’s loss of momentum in his career perhaps bears testimony to the unsettlement caused by losing a father and moving out of his family home. However, he showed against Lara that he has the technical capabilities to rise to the top, and I wouldn’t bet against him doing so once more.
In a world where journalistic neutrality in the world of boxing is ebbing away, I must confess that I would love nothing more than to wake up to a Jarrett Hurd win on Sunday morning. Because by all accounts and appearances, Hurd carries himself with humility and grace. And victory would show that he is not only back to his best as a professional boxer, but also back to his best as a fellow human being.
By Harry Duffy