By Jason Gonzalez
There is an old adage that states that stars are born in Brooklyn. Junior middleweight contender Erickson Lubin of Orlando, Florida has an opportunity to prove this theory right if he wins this Saturday. The challenge lying before him is the reigning WBC 154 pound champion Jermell Charlo of Houston, Texas. Not an easy task, but if you ask Lubin he will tell you otherwise.
“I’m better than anyone he has ever faced and I am going to show that On October 14,” the 22-year-old, now 18-0, (13) would say. I am going to expose him. This will be the fight that is going to make me into a superstar.”
Lubin and Charlo will lock horns in the co-feature bout of the evening at the Barclay Center. Division titlists Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd will also be showcased in separate bouts on the same card, which will be televised on Showtime. Lara will be fighting Terrell Gausha and Hurd will face Austin Trout. Promoter Lou DiBella stated that although this isn’t a tournament in the junior middleweight division, there will be “clarity” come Sunday morning.
“We are going from six to three,” said DiBella. “Obviously the idea is to eventually have the winners face each other down the road. But there are other big names in the division that maybe we could pair up with the winners. Credit to Showtime and Stephen Espinoza for putting on the very best fights, and I am confident that they will continue to do so in the future.”
Lubin-Charlo has the potential of being the best fight on the triple header. As both fighters make their way to Atlantic Ave., the pair are coming off of impressive knockout victories. The 27-year-old Charlo, 29-0, (14) put Charles Hatley to sleep in the sixth round back in April. As for Lubin, he stopped Jorge Cota within four rounds seven months ago.
Lubin was voted as ESPN’s prospect of the year in 2016. With that being said, he is somewhat of an anomaly. As he climbed up the ranks, he never faced an opponent with a losing record. Whether or not his past opponents were any good is irrelevant. Simply put, you don’t see that often from any rookie on the come up. Typically, most novices in the game that have fought in obscurity have what’s referred to as a “manufactured record”. But kudos to Lubin, none of the aforestated applies to him.
“That’s the way I wanted to come up,” Lubin said. “I have always wanted the big names. I have longed for the big fights for a while now. I told my team, and everyone else that helped raise me that I did not want to fight anyone with a losing record. Which is the reason why I am here today. My upbringing in the game has made me the fighter I am today, and prepared me for October 14. Anyone that thinks that I am not ready for this because I am too young is just crazy. No disrespect.”
Assuming Lubin wins, there will be other issues that he will then have to deal with. Is he prepared for superstardom? How does he plan on avoiding the pitfalls of success? Is he mature enough to handle the temptation that young athletes are subjected to on a daily basis? All too often we see promising stars go down the same route as a Zab Judah or an Adrien Broner. What makes Lubin any different? Well, he will tell you the same thing that his mentor, Mike Tyson, tells him regularly.
“Mike has taught me so much. After all, he became the heavyweight champion at 20. And here I am fighting for a world title at 22,” Lubin said of his former promoter while making the comparison. “Mike is like an older brother to me. He taught me how to deal with the media, as well as how to deal with any negative situation that I should ever encounter.
But most importantly he believed in my dreams. He believed that I would be fighting for a world title. He believed that I would become a world champion with time. Mike is just the best. And I am going to make him proud,” Lubin added.
18 years ago, a then 21-year-old Fernando Vargas fought Ronald “Winky” Wright. Wright was the older, established junior middleweight champion considered to be too much of a stylistic conundrum for Vargas to unravel.
The narrative is awfully familiar, and history has a way of repeating itself, especially in the sport of boxing. There is no doubt that Lubin is a live dog in in is this contest.
We shall see what happens.
It all goes down Saturday, October 14, 2017, on Showtime at 10 pm ET/PT