By: Hans Themistode
Erickson Lubin pushed himself to the limit for his past training camp. The highly ranked junior middleweight contender knew that in order to successfully remove Sebastian Fundora from his title path, he would be forced to reach the sort of heights that few 154-pounders are able.
On April 9th, at the Virgins Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lubin was nearly triumphant in his bid to become an interim world champion. On the night, Lubin and Fundora waged a back and forth war that left many who were tuned in to watch, shellshocked.
After successfully outboxing his man in the first, Fundora turned the tide in the second, dropping Lubin with a short uppercut. From there, the two spent the majority of their bout in the middle of the ring. With Lubin finding his second wind, the 26-year-old rocked the freakishly tall Fundora in the seventh, sending him crashing down to the canvas for the first time in his career.
Yet, despite nearly stopping his man, Fundora quelled Lubin’s momentum in the eighth, before scoring the stoppage victory following the ninth round.
A look of disbelief was etched onto the face of Lubin as Kevin Cunningham, his head trainer, stepped onto the apron and waved off their contest.
While usually in those circumstances, both the head trainer and fighter communicate over the possibility of throwing in the towel, Lubin wasn’t afforded that courtesy. If, however, the crafty and powerful southpaw was given a heads up, he believes he would’ve gone to plan B.
“Nah we didn’t have that conversation,” said Lubin to BoxingInsider.com during a recent interview. “I don’t blame him, he’s like, looking out for me but the fighter in me, I could’ve kept going. I could’ve finished that fight. If I would’ve gotten a fair warning, like ‘oh yeah, I’m bout to stop the fight, I think you’re taking too much punches, or your face is messed up’ something like that, I would’ve changed up my game plan. I would’ve got to boxing or something. I would’ve figured it out.”
To make matters worse, at the time of stoppage, Lubin rallied enough in the second half of their contest to eke ahead on the judge’s scorecard. While judge Tim Cheatham had things even, scoring it 85-85, both Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld gave Lubin the slight edge, scoring it 85-84.
With rounds 10, 11, and 12 considered the “championship rounds”, Lubin grows even more apoplectic over the entire ordeal. While Fundora seemed to be gaining momentum, Lubin maintains that he was more than capable of doing just enough to pull out the victory.
“Yea, for sure, for sure,” said Lubin when asked if he could’ve mustered enough energy to pick up the win. “Those are the championship rounds. Those are the rounds you talk about in the gym every day. When it gets to crunch time, when it gets to those grueling rounds, when you gotta bite down. I’m for it, I’m all for it. I think I definitely would’ve bit down and came out with a decision. Maybe even a knockout.”
Despite believing that he was given a raw deal, Lubin refuses to play the blame game. Shortly following the second defeat of his career, Lubin was immediately rushed to the hospital due to severe swelling that was developing throughout. Although Lubin remains firm on wishing Cunningham communicated with him prior to the stoppage, the Florida native is of the belief that this bump in the road could become a career turning point.
“Like I said, I don’t blame Kevin. He’s going to do whatever he feels is best for me. I don’t think this is going to draw us any further from each other. I think this is actually going to have us get closer. Me and my whole team.”
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