By Robert Aaron Contreras
Erickson Lubin (221-1, 16 KO) was not the only big name of the card—helping bolster a Showtime broadcast that included former champion Robert Easter Jr. and heavyweight upstart Frank Sanchez—but his big left hand was a big reason he headlined the show and more importantly walked away a clear winner over late-replacement Nathanial Gallimore (21-4-1, 17 KO).
Lubin, 24, overcame Gallimore’s heavy fire early in the fight as well as his mind games later in the action to earn a unanimous decision victory. All three judges scored the bout 99-91 for Lubin, who was originally expected to face U.S. Olympic standout Terrell Gausha for a crack at the WBC championship before a hand injury took Gausha off the card. Just this month Gallimore stepped in on short notice. The schedule change did nothing to impede the work put in by Lubin and his new trainer Kevin Cunningham.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
“I had a tremendous training camp,” Lubin told correspondent Jim Gray following his fourth consecutive victory. “Thanks to Kevin Cunningham. We been at it for about 10 weeks. Gallimore, I appreciate you stepping up to the plate. You gave me a tough, tough fight. We gave the fans what they wanted.”
The scorecards turned in, and the fighting seemingly over for the night, Lubin still had some jabs left over for his would-be opponent.
“At first we had Terrel Gausha,” Lubin added. “He pulled out the fight due to whatever he got going on—I think he’s pregnant or something.”
Stepping into the ring with an exceptional KO percentage, it would take a more calculated approach from Lubin to befuddle a sizable junior middleweight like Gallimore. Lubin, giving up two inches in height, relied on his jab to take the opening frame. Gallimore was able to brush Lubin back with a mean right in the third period. But that about concluded Lubin’s trouble for the night.
Often punch-drunk behind massive overhand lefts, Lubin in the fourth round fired away with a lead right hook (a crucial component to a well-rounded southpaw), making Gallimore’s head spin and even knocking his mouthpiece out.
Cunningham, who Lubin teamed up with in 2018 following the American puncher’s lone loss, has a growing reputation as a “southpaw whisperer” of sorts. Years handling former welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander counts as Cunningham’s shining accomplishment. But serviceable as Alexander was, Lubin is a generational talent. After the fight, Cunningham’s new charge could not help gushing over his new lead cornerman.
“Kevin is a real strict trainer,” Lubin said. “And he’s a southpaw specialist. He deals with southpaws very well. We’ve been improving our game everyday.”
On their strategy, Lubin added: “I measured [Gallimore]. And made sure to read body language to see what shots he threw most of the time. And I would time him and I was able to land my power shots because he was opening up.”
Lubin began working in his giant left hand in Round 5, closing out the stanza with violent sequences that again left Gallimore reeling.
The sixth and seventh were all Lubin until action erupted in the eighth inning. Still despite the two-way action the rounds belonged to Lubin. Over the final stretch Gallimore’s best work was a variety of gibes and taunting exercises: throwing his hands in the air as if it was Lubin who was not pushing the pace, or sticking his tongue out. The end of the fight was no different. In the waning seconds of the final round, with Lubin’s combinations careening in from every direction, Gallimore quickly picked up his head from the unending stream of punches and stuck out his tongue, of course as expecting eating more right and left hands for his trouble.
Gallimore, 31, deserves credit for staying in well enough shape to answer the call from a desperate promoter. He, too, is more than deserving of nearly getting shutout. The Chicago transplant, by way of Jamaica, has dropped three of his last four bouts. He has still never been finished inside the distance which is a real cap in his feather having competed against Brazilian puncher Patrick Teixeira, unified champion Julian Williams, and now extending a bludgeoning hitter like Lubin.
Lubin’s win streak has been a renewal from the downfalls of a failed world title shot in 2017 against Jermell Charlo, undefeated since then and now 3-0 with Cunningham at his side.
“I definitely want Jermell Charlo again,” Lubin said. “Whatever my team says, that’s what we’re going to do. But my goal is to get revenge.”
Robert Easter Jr. def. Adrian Granados by unanimous decision
Easter Jr. (22-1-1, 14 KO) and Granados (20-8-2, 14 KO) met in the ring, both having been defeated in their last bout. Granados, after years battling (and failing) against the popularizers of the welterweight divisions, needed a signature win. But Easter Jr., no longer with a title claim at lightweight, denied him that pipe dream, picking up his first win at 140 pounds by way of a unanimous decision on scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 100-90.
Taller, with a longer reach to boot, Easter seared right hands into Granados from the opening bell. His sharp combinations stood in contrast with Granados’ bodywork, which did come to life by the third round, making for even action through the middle stages. The Mexican-born brawler would even outwork Easter in the fifth frame. But when Easter remembered to take advantage of his length, the leverage to the former champ’s punches earned round after round from the ringside panel.
Beginning in the sixth round was when both men laid into each other. It comes naturally for both despite their differing body frames—affirming that that violent streak runs through the heart of all boxers, white, black, short or tall. The war continued in Round 7. Granados’ voluminous assault never let up, even when he was put on shaky legs at the end of the eighth stanza.
It was the same story for the final couple of rounds: shaper combos from Easter versus Granados’ output. The judges knew what they preferred, even if they were too kind to Easter.
Considering the way Granados was recently beat into submission, Easter may not carry exactly a lethal punch above the lightweight limit but again proved nobody is too tough for him.