Ex-NFL player Chad Johnson, Pascal-Jack, Hurd-Arias added to Mayweather-Paul undercard

All-time boxing great and 2020 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Floyd “Money” Mayweather will make his return to the ring as the undefeated, 12-time, five-division world champion squares off in an exhibition bout against social media sensation and pro boxer Logan “The Maverick” Paul, headlining a blockbuster SHOWTIME PPV event on Sunday, June 6. The anticipated clash pits superstars from two different worlds in a must-see showdown for sports and entertainment fans around the globe.

The event is presented by Mayweather Promotions, Fanmio and Mavathltcs and will take place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The pay-per-view event also will feature a pair of intriguing professional boxing showdowns, as WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal and two-division world champion Badou Jack meet in a 12-round rematch in the co-main event. Plus, former unified super welterweight champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd returns to the ring to face Luis Arias in a 10-round bout.

In a fourth PPV bout, former NFL star wide receiver Chad Johnson will make his boxing debut in an exhibition match against an opponent to be announced. After years of off-season training with Mayweather in Las Vegas, the man once named Chad Ochocinco will test his skills in the boxing ring and bring his unique brand of fan-friendly entertainment to the star-studded event.

The pay-per-view telecast will begin live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, June 6.  Tickets for the live event at Hard Rock Stadium will go on sale next week with additional details regarding tickets and the pay-per-view telecast to be announced shortly.

Mayweather, who was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020, has a perfect 50-0 record with 27 knockouts. He racked up 12 world titles in five weight divisions during his illustrious career that spanned three decades. His brilliant boxing resume includes 24 wins over world champions, including Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez. During his career, he was named the world’s highest paid athlete multiple times by Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Mayweather has accumulated numerous “Fighter of the Year” awards, including five ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards. His 2015 showdown with Pacquiao shattered the all-time pay-per-view television record with 4.6 million buys, a record that still stands. Mayweather last fought in a boxing exhibition on New Year’s Eve 2018 in Japan. His last professional boxing match was his 2017 stoppage win over Conor McGregor, the second biggest pay-per-view event in television history.

As Mayweather dominated boxing en route to a perfect professional record and international stardom, Paul rose to fame on the internet. Paul, 26, welcomed the world into his life on various social media platforms including YouTube, where he has amassed more than 20 million subscribers. His legions of devoted fans supported him as he stepped into professional boxing in 2019 and sold out the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in his six-round debut against fellow YouTube star KSI. The Ohio native is a former high school wrestling standout and has been training for more than two years. Now, he readies himself to face an undefeated boxing legend. While Paul stands six inches taller than Mayweather and owns an 18-year age advantage, the social media sensation will be challenging the best boxer of his generation, in his arena.

Pascal (35-6-1, 20 KOs) earned a narrow split-decision victory over Jack in their December 2019 title showdown that saw both men hit the canvas. Prior to that fight, Pascal captured his interim title by handing Marcus Browne the first defeat of his professional career. Pascal scored four knockdowns in that fight, eventually earning a close technical decision when a cut suffered by Browne on an accidental head butt stopped the fight after eight rounds. The 38-year-old has been in the ring with the top fighters of his era during his brilliant career, including Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev, Carl Froch, Lucian Bute, and Chad Dawson. Pascal, who was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and now lives in Laval, Quebec, won his first light heavyweight world title with a unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu in 2009.

Jack (22-3-3, 13 KOs) will look to avenge the razor-thin defeat he suffered to Pascal in their first match. Jack mounted an impressive rally on the scorecards that nearly turned the match in his favor. Born in Stockholm, Jack (who represented his father’s home country of Gambia in the 2008 Olympics) now lives in Las Vegas. Jack won the 168-pound world title with a majority decision against Anthony Dirrell in 2015 and successfully defended the belt three times before being handed a hard-fought majority draw against James DeGale in one of 2017’s best fights. In his first bout at 175 pounds, Jack stopped Nathan Cleverly to pick up the WBA light heavyweight title before fighting to a majority draw against then WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in May 2018. In his most recent outing, Jack won a unanimous decision over Blake McKernan in November 2020.

The 30-year-old Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs) unified the WBA and IBF 154-pound titles in 2018, dropping longtime champion Erislandy Lara in the final round to win a close decision in a fight that was the unanimous 2018 Fight of the Year. The Accokeek, Maryland native lost the titles in one of 2019’s best fights, dropping a decision to Julian Williams. Hurd first became champion in February 2017 when he stopped former champion Tony Harrison in the ninth round, before going on to defend the title against another former champion in Austin Trout. Most recently, Hurd scored a unanimous decision victory over Francisco Santana in January 2020.

Born in Milwaukee, Arias (18-2-1, 9 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time since August 2019 when he takes on Hurd on June 6. The 30-year-old has faced some of the best in the middleweight division, including going the distance with former middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs in a 2017 duel. Arias racked up wins in his first 18 pro fights after turning pro in 2012 and is now training in Las Vegas as he prepares for this fight.

Hurd: ‘I know they love the ‘War Swift,’ but I gotta think about myself first’

Former world champion Jarrett Hurd did what he had to do on Saturday night in Brooklyn when he defeated Francisco Santana by unanimous decision in their 10-round super welterweight contest.

Hurd, who was fighting for the first time since losing to Julian Williams back in May, showed his ability to box against Santana. Hurd used a lot of head movement and worked behind his jab in this fight. He was able to control much of the fight from the outside, landing 80 jabs throughout the fight, connecting on 22%. He also proved elusive in the ring, allowing Santana only to land five jabs throughout the fight.

Hurd would drop Santana in the 10th and final round, but Santana was able to make it to feet before the end of the round. 

This was also Hurd’s first fight with his new head trainer Kay Koroma, and at times in the match, the Barclays Center crowd wanted to see Hurd go toe-to-toe with Santana, but Hurd’s main focus was to stick to the game plan.

“Hey, listen, man. They could have booed until their throats were sore,” Hurd said at the post-fight press conference. “I gotta do what I gotta do, man. At the end of the day, like I said, I know they love the “War Swift,” but I gotta think about myself first.”

The 154-pound division is on fire right now, and at 5’11,” Hurd is a big man. However, he hopes to stay at this division for as long as he can. 

“I’m going stick around as long as I can, man,” Hurd said about fighting at 154. “I’m going to stick around until I’m missing weight. I’m going to do whatever I can to accomplish that goal where I want to become undisputed before I move up.”

The biggest fight at super welterweight is probably WBC 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo and Hurd. Hopefully, that will happen very soon, but in the end, Hurd will fight anybody that will get him belts.

“We want the belts,” Hurd said. “We want the best. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the next move, but we want the belts.”

Photo: Amanda Westscott/Showtime

Hurd: ‘I look back at my fights, and it kind of scares me all the hits I was taking’

Former unified 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd(23-1, 16 KOs) is back, and he comes with a new trainer. Hurd fired his trainer Ernesto Rodriguez after his loss to Julian Williams last May and hired trainer Kay Koroma.

Now, Hurd is focused and ready to battle Francisco Santana(25-7-1, 12 KOs) on January 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 

“I’m so focused on taking care of Francisco Santana; I can’t look past him,” Hurd said at a media workout on Wednesday. “He’s a guy who comes forward. This is a fight where I want to see how things work out with my new trainer Kay Koroma, but Santana comes to fight just like Jeison Rosario did. I have to be on my toes.

“People say this is the new Jarrett, but I feel like it’s the old me, and I’m just getting back to it. I used my defense and my height against Frank Galarza and other earlier fights. But when I was training for Erislandy Lara, I was developing this pressure style, and we didn’t have enough of the fundamentals set behind it.

Hurd has had some tough fights in his career, including battles with Williams and Erislandy Lara. In those fights, Hurd took a lot of punishment, something he believes needs to change.

“I look back at my fights, and it kind of scares me all the hits I was taking,” Hurd said. “I had back to back Fight of the Year battles. Those were back and forth fights. I don’t want those each and every year. I want to win in one-sided fashion.

 The Accokeek, Maryland native wants to get back to the top, and he hopes to become the undisputed champion at 154. 

“I was close to becoming undisputed champion at 154-pounds, and that’s still a goal of mine,” he said. “I want to accomplish that feat in this division before we move up. I know I had a bad night against Julian Williams, but it was just a small hiccup. I’m coming back for my number one spot.”

 Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

We expected Charlo-Hurd; what we could get is Harrison-Williams

The beauty of boxing is the unexpected can happen at any time. For example, look at the 154-pound division. In 2018, the thought was that then undefeated champions Jermell Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd would battle it out in unification fight. However, Tony Harrison happened. He beat Charlo by unanimous decision last December in Brooklyn to take Charlo’s WBC belt, and on Saturday night in Fairfax, Virginia, Julian Williams happened.

Williams shocked Hurd by unanimous decision, including dropping Hurd in round 2 to capture the IBF, IBO, and WBA belts.

Both Charlo and Hurd were headliners in their bouts against Harrison and Williams, which may have been something that overwhelmed them. There is a lot of things a fighter has to do when headlining a show: the appearances, the media, family, and more.

The 28-year-old Hurd said he didn’t feel like himself in the fight against Williams. Fighting in front of a raucous hometown crowd filled with family and friends as he hails from nearby Accokeek, Md.

“I wasn’t able to get off. I can’t really call it right now. I have to go back and watch. I was loading up on my shots instead of just letting my hands go,” Hurd said. “J-Rock was just the better man tonight. There’s definitely a rematch clause in our contract, and I’m going to go for it. I’m going to come back better than I was tonight.”

The 154-pound division is very deep. Besides the champions, you have Erislandy Lara, Erickson Lubin, Brian Castano, and more.

Charlo and Hurd won’t happen anytime soon, and in reality, if Harrison beats Charlo in their rematch in June, there is a chance we could see Williams-Harrison in a unification bout sometime in 2019. No one would have ever expected that one, but that’s boxing for you, the “theatre of the unexpected.”

Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Williams: ‘Maybe I wasn’t ready for the title the first time I got the shot’

Julian “J-Rock’’ Williams knew he was walking into the lion’s den when he traveled from Philadelphia to Virginia to face undefeated unified super welterweight champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in his backyard. But Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs) wasn’t afraid.

He came. He saw and he conquered Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs), scoring a 12-round unanimous decision, handing Hurd his first loss and taking the IBF, WBA and IBO championships before a hometown crowd at the EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University.

The crowd and the primetime audience, which tuned in to FOX and FOX Deportes, witnessed a valiant performance from both Williams and Hurd in what will certainly be a “Fight of the Year’’ candidate. The judges had Williams handily defeating Hurd with scores of 116-111 and 115-112 twice.

Williams had come up short in his previous attempt at a world title when he was stopped on via TKO by Jermall Charlo in 2016. He was overwhelmed by emotions after his upset victory over Hurd, who was a presumptive favorite over the 29-year-old Williams.

“I am just overwhelmed. This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him. I am one of the best fighters in the world,” said Williams. “Maybe I wasn’t ready for the title the first time I got the shot. I took the loss. I took it like a man and the whole world doubted me. I went into this fight a five to one underdog.’’

“This is a dream come true. I have been waiting for this for years. I never ditched the gym. I never got into girls or left the gym. I am from the streets, but I was never in the streets. I was in the gym practicing my craft.

“The only people that believed in me were my team, but all I can say is ‘and the new’!”

Williams jumped on the defending champion right out of the gate, throwing crisp punches behind a pistol-like jab. Williams dropped Hurd in the second round with a shot to the temple.

Sensing he had stunned Hurd, Williams came out firing in the next round. He picked up the pace and Hurd decided to match the ferocity of the attack rather than wither under it. Midway through the third round, Hurd landed a blistering left uppercut that snapped Williams’ head upward and slowly started to regain his form.

By the seventh round, the fight had become a war of attrition and a test of wills. Hurd was cut over his left eye in the eighth round. By then, Williams was completely in control.

You have to feel good for Williams. He was determined to beat Hurd, and it showed. Due to a rematch clause, we’ll probably see Williams against Hurd again, which is not a bad thing after what we saw on Saturday night in Virginia.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotion

 

Hurd: ‘There are some nerves fighting at home, but they’re good nerves’

Before they square-off this Saturday night, unified 154-pound world champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd and top contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams faced-off at the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Thursday as they near their Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes main event live from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

A native of Accokeek, Maryland, Hurd will be making his return to defend his titles in front of a hometown crowd for the first time since becoming a world champion. Saturday marks Hurd’s first fight in the region since his 13th pro victory in 2014 that took place at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Philadelphia’s Williams will look to spoil Hurd’s homecoming and become a world champion in his second title opportunity.

Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday afternoon:

JARRETT HURD

“I feel great right now. I’m here in my city. This is where I wanted to bring the fight. Only two more days. I’m ready and I can’t wait.

“There are some nerves fighting at home but they’re good nerves. The energy I’m going to feel in the arena is going to get me hyped and ready to go.

“I have to treat it like any other fight. When I go out there and do what I know how to do best, I always get the win. Julian Williams is going to come on top of his game, but a graceful Jarrett Hurd is a bad night for anyone.

“My city has been behind me since day one and I made a promise to bring a fight back to them. Here I am. ‘Swift Nation’ is going to be in the building Saturday night.”

JULIAN WILLIAMS

“We had a really good camp. It was easily one of the best I ever had. I’m not worried about his fans. I’m just focused on what I have to do in the ring Saturday night.

“Every fight is a stepping-stone for the next chapter. I’ve just been trying to win and get back to this position. I’m coming to win this however I have to win.

“I can’t concern myself with things that are out of my control. I can’t control the fans or the atmosphere. I can’t worry about it, so I don’t worry about it.”

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Hurd: ‘I think I have a better resume than guys at the top of the pound-for-pound list’

Unified junior middleweight champion is on a nice run right now, and he has beaten some quality fighters along the way. Hurd has beaten one current and two world former world champions in three out of his last four fights, and on Saturday, he will be facing a guy who many believe has championship caliber ability in Julian Williams.

Hurd and Williams will battle it out at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia, which air on FOX.

The undefeated Hurd(23-0, 16 KOs) believes he has established himself as one of pound-for-pound best in the sport of boxing, and he thinks he has the resume to prove it.

“I don’t want this fight to be close,” said Hurd about his fight with Williams on a conference call last week. “I’m trying to get the recognition that I work hard for. I think I have a better resume than guys at the top of the pound-for-pound list. I’m going to come out and prove it Saturday night and make a statement on FOX.”

Hurd is usually a guy that keeps coming forward, which makes for exciting fights. In April 2018, Hurd unified 154-pound titles by defeating WBA titlist Erislandy Lara in a thrilling contest that saw Hurd drop Lara in the final round to edge the decision on the scorecards. It was the consensus 2018 Fight of the Year, including recognition from the BWAA, ESPN, Sporting News and more.

“For me to be in a Fight of the Year against a fighter with Erislandy Lara’s style, I must be an exciting fighter,” said Hurd. “When fans tune-in to watch me, they know the fight is usually action-packed. I go out there and leave it all in the ring and give it my all every time.”

Hurd is definitely climbing the pound-for-pound list, and if he keeps winning and keeps collecting belts, he might make his way to the top. No matter what happens, here’s one thing you can guarantee with Hurd: it’s going to be fun to watch.

 

 

 

Jarrett Hurd: ‘The plan is to go after the WBC belt next’

Unified and undefeated IBF and WBA 154-pound champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd held a media workout at his gym in Temple Hills, Maryland on Tuesday as he prepares for his hometown return in a title defense against top contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams Saturday, May 11 that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.

The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will see Hurd return to defend his titles in front of a hometown crowd for the first time since becoming a world champion. A native of Accokeek, Maryland, this is Hurd’s first fight in the region since his 13th pro victory in 2014 that took place at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

This is Hurd’s second fight since he had shoulder surgery last June, and at this point, according to Hurd, the shoulder is not an issue.

“I feel strong and the shoulder is 100 percent,” Hurd said. “In sparring and hitting the bag, I forgot I even had surgery. That’s how good I feel.”

One knock on Hurd is that some believe he gets hit too much. However, Hurd believes looks are deceiving.

“My defense is getting better, but what people have to understand is that I kept stepping up the competition I was facing,” Hurd said. “So, of course, I got hit more, but if you look at the stats, my opponent got hit even more than me. Because of my style it looks like I take a lot of punches. I expect to get hit in this fight but, I’m ready to hit him more.

“It’s hard to tell what type of fight this is going to be. I want to say that he’s going to try to box, but I said that about Erislandy Lara and we saw that he stood toe-to-toe with me. Because of my size, I don’t really think Julian Williams is going to try to do that. He’s going to try to get his shots off and score points and make it through 12 rounds.”

Hurd’s ultimate goal is to be the undisputed champion at 154, and if he beats Williams, he may get that opportunity in the near future.

“I want to be undisputed champion at 154-pounds. The plan is to go after the WBC belt next. I’m inspired to do it and I see it right in front of me.”

Photo: Fernando Castro/Team Swift

 

Julian Williams on fight with Hurd: ‘I think I’m going to win in a classic’

For Julian Williams(26-1-1, 16 KOs), May 11 could be a day of redemption as he battles unified junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd(23-0, 16 KOs) at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.

The last time Williams had a title shot, back in 2016 against Jermall Charlo, it did not end well. Williams was dropped three times by Charlo and was stopped in the fifth round. It was the first time Williams tasted defeat as a pro.

Since that fight, the Philly native is on a four-fight win streak and now will have a chance to capture that elusive title against Hurd.

“I had to get over the loss quick,” Williams recently said about his loss to Charlo. “You can’t dwell on that. Am I going to mope? No, it’s who’s up next? I can’t even put it into words how hungry I am.”

Hurd will not be easy for Williams, and Hurd has beaten some very good fighters over the few past years, including defeating Erislandy Lara to unify the titles last year, but all that does not matter to Williams.

“I’m not Erislandy Lara,” Williams said. “I’m going to fight a completely different fight than he did. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to win. That’s the kind of fighter Hurd is, so that’s the kind of fighter I have to be.

“I think I’m going to win in a classic. We’re probably going to have to do it a second time it’ll be so good.”

To defeat Hurd, The 28-year-old Williams plans to use the same strategy he employed to beat Nathaniel Gallimore, who Williams defeated by majority decision last April.

“Hurd is definitely a really exciting fighter. He gives that extra each fight, but I’ve seen some things. I have a way of wearing guys down myself. I wore Nathaniel Gallimore down fighting off my front foot, and I think I’ll do the same to Hurd.”

Hurd does not make boring fights, so expect a great night action against Williams on May 11.

Photo/courtesy: Kent Green

Hurd: ‘Tony Harrison beating Jermell Charlo definitely threw a monkey wrench into the plan’

In life, sometimes, the best-laid plans don’t work out, and in boxing, plans are thwarted all the time. Such could be the case when it comes to a fight between unified junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd and former WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo.

Hurd and Charlo were on track to fight each other in a unification bout sometime in 2019, but the unthinkable happened. Charlo would lose by a controversial unanimous decision to Tony Harrison back in December, which killed the plans for the highly anticipated fight between Hurd and Charlo.

However, according to FOX Sports boxing insider Mike Coppinger, Charlo will battle Harrison, in a rematch, sometime in June, while Hurd has a tough fight on tap as he will battle Julian Williams on May 11 at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.

According to Coppinger, if Hurd and Charlo win, the two could clash later in 2019. At least, that is the plan.

“Tony Harrison beating Jermell Charlo definitely threw a monkey wrench into the plan coming off of surgery,” Hurd said on Sunday. “I’m going to go after the WBC belt regardless of who has it, but first I have to take care of Julian.”

For the 28-year-old Hurd, this an opportunity to defend his title near his hometown of Accokeek, Maryland, which is very important to Hurd.

“It was very important to fight at home because that’s what everyone has been asking for,” Hurd said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity, and I can’t wait to step in the ring.

“All of my fights are classics. I know that ‘J-Rock’ has been watching me and that makes him dangerous. He’s coming in with a good game plan, and we’ll see what it is on fight night.”

While he won’t predict how he will win, Hurd expects to get the victory in Virginia. Of course, that’s the plan.

“I’m going to be victorious on May 11. I’m looking for a decisive win. I’m not saying I’m going to to get the stoppage, but it will be convincing that it went my way.”

Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME