MIAMI GARDENS, Florida – Leonard Ellerbe was convinced based on what he had seen from Luis Arias over the past six months that he would defeat Jarrett Hurd on Sunday night.
Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, watched closely as Arias sparred against Floyd Mayweather and one of the company’s top prospects, Jalil Hackett. That helped make him completely confident that Arias’ preparation for their 10-round middleweight match was better than how Hurd got ready for their fight.
Hurd, 30, came down from approximately 200 pounds while training for their fight on the Mayweather-Logan Paul undercard at Hard Rock Stadium. Hurd also had to train through the heartache from losing his father, Fred Hurd Sr., who died March 11 at the age of 63.
The 30-year-old Arias appropriately prepared and fought as if his career were on the line versus the former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion. Arias also lured Hurd into just the type of fight he wanted, even though Hurd’s trainer, Kay Koroma, has worked with him to rely more on his boxing skills and defense during their past two camps.
“Me and Floyd are extremely, extremely proud of him,” Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com regarding Arias. “And he’s gonna get a big, big opportunity based off of what he was able to go out there and do tonight.”
Arias went 0-2-1 in his three bouts before he fought Hurd. He had lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Daniel Jacobs, boxed to a 12-round split draw with Gabe Rosado and lost a 10-round decision to Luke Keeler prior to his career-changing victory over Hurd.
Mayweather re-signed Arias to a promotional contract after sparring with him and watching Arias in the gym. Monitoring Arias closely encouraged Ellerbe to believe Arias would perform to the potential he and Mayweather thought the Milwaukee native would realize when they promoted him earlier in his career.
Ellerbe told anyone who would listen that Arias (19-2-1, 9 KOs) was “more than a live dog” against Hurd (24-2, 16 KOs). The William Hill sports book listed Hurd as a 9-1 favorite, but an aggressive Arias hit him at will with right hands, withstood Hurd’s rally in the sixth and seventh rounds, and overcame a questionable knockdown during the ninth round to win on two scorecards (97-93, 96-93, 94-95).
“He came to Floyd and he asked for a big opportunity,” Ellerbe said. “And, you know, we made this happen. See, this is how I knew – I saw his preparation, up close and personal, every day. I was in the gym with him every day. I saw he boxed Floyd, he boxed my kid, Jalil Hackett, who’s gonna be a future world champion in a number of different weight classes, and he boxed two other amateurs that really pushed him every day. And I’m sitting there looking at the level that he’s working at in the gym. It’s no disrespect to Hurd because he’s a tremendous champion, he’s an excellent fighter.
“But again, everything in life is about timing. And I knew that this fight right here, he was fighting [Hurd] at the right time, and he was gonna be the better man tonight. You know, I knew that [Hurd] was coming from over 200 pounds, and a lot of that had to do with – may his dad rest in peace, who was a great man – that he had the unfortunate loss and he had to break camp. So again, I have so much respect for Hurd and what he has done. But I knew that coming into this fight right here, Arias was gonna be the better fighter that night. And it didn’t matter.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.