Before the eighth round of Luis Arias’s middleweight bout against Jarrett Hurd, trainer Ismael Salas told his fighter the key to sealing a victory against a bigger, stronger opponent.
Don’t back up. At all.
Arias, a 30-year-old former prospect who entered Sunday on a three-fight winless streak, had already followed that blueprint, tattooing Hurd with overhand rights and left hooks to the body in the early rounds. Hurd, a former super-welterweight champion, didn’t necessarily mind the bout unfolding that way early. He built a reputation and a résumé winning by attrition, taking punishment early and overwhelming tired opponents late, and Hurd surged in the middle rounds by moving forward.
But he also spent long stretches trying to box tactically, while Arias potshotted him with overhand rights. The final three rounds, the smaller Arias moved forward more than he retreated, outworking Hurd, and winning a split decision. One judge had Arias winning seven rounds, and another had him winning six. A third judge gave five rounds to Hurd, but awarded Hurd an extra point when Arias went down on a rain-slicked ring and the referee scored it a knockdown.
Arias improves his record to 19-2-1. Hurd is now 24-2.