Think back to what you were doing as a 21-year-old. Odds are, whatever it was, you weren’t demonstrating the same kind of maturity—let alone discipline—as rapidly rising 154-pound contender Erickson Lubin.
Lubin was a senior in high school and just a few weeks removed from his 18th birthday when he launched his professional boxing career in the autumn of 2013, winning his debut by first-round TKO. Six weeks later, the southpaw stopped another opponent in the opening round. A month after that, he did it a third time.
Today, still not even three years into his career, Erickson Lubin (16-0, 11 KOs) is regarded as one of the most devastating punchers in the loaded 154-pound division. Everything about the charismatic Orlando, Florida, native —from his wide, childlike smile to his easygoing manner to his cement fists—suggests he’s a star in the making.
As much as Lubin is advanced beyond his years as a boxer, the recently turned 21-year-old is equally as seasoned outside of the ring, as we learned when we went 12 rounds with “The Hammer,” who revealed his fondness for seafood, hot yoga, one of the greatest boxing champions of all time and a suddenly single A-list megastar.
Who is your boxing hero?
I have a few, actually. Floyd Mayweather, Marvin Hagler and Oscar De La Hoya. Besides Hagler, Mayweather and De La Hoya really paved the way for a lot of fighters, whether you’re talking about black fighters or hispanic fighters or whatever race.
Marvin Hagler was just a straight savage, and I take that into the ring with me. I get into savage mode.
How would you have fared in the ring against Hagler?
I would be a great fight where we go toe-to-toe, and it would kind of play out like Hagler against Sugar Ray Leonard. I would be more like Leonard. It’s possible that it goes the distance, or it’s possible that somebody’s getting knocked out.
Hagler is sort of like a Mexican-style fighter, and ever time I fight a Mexican, I keep them at the end of my punches, move them and turn them. Hagler is very tough and he’d come forward the entire time. I would train to adapt to his style, and I think I would be able to adjust to the way he fights.
Being that Hagler is a southpaw like me, I think there’s a possibility that we’d fight to a draw. We’re both savages, and somebody’s going to get hurt, whether it’s me or him. Of course I always believe I’m going to win. But if it goes the distance, we’d both go to the hospital.
Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …
… in school and maybe playing basketball.
What fighter has hit you hardest, what did it feel like and how did you deal with it?
It was my eighth fight against Norberto Gonzalez. He hit me the hardest and floored me in the first round, which I always call the most dangerous round, because everybody still has the jitters.
I’m still young in the game and was fighting a veteran with 20 wins and six losses. I started off hot and went straight for the kill—wanted to get him out of there and make a statement. But I paused for a second, was a little off balance and he landed a very clean shot, an overhand left.
I jumped up and smiled at him and dominated the rest of the fight, flooring him in the fourth round and winning an eight-round unanimous decision.
What is your favorite punch to throw?
I have my two hammers—the right hand is the Jackhammer, and the left is the Sledgehammer. My right hook has knocked out 11 people. Every time I throw that right hook, I throw it with bad, bad intentions.
Who is the best fighter you’ve ever sparred against but never fought?
I would have to say that Lamont Peterson is No. 1, but I’ve sparred a lot of [quality fighters] like Terrance Crawford and Sammy Vazquez Jr., and also Luis Arias, who is an undefeated middleweight who is a real-deal puncher. They’re all guys with different styles who give you good work.
What is the one meal or item that you like to eat that is the toughest to give up while training for a fight?
My seafood, man. Lobster, shrimp, crabs. I even put that in my salads and stuff like that. Stuff is addicting to me.
When you’re in training for a fight, what are your favorite and least favorite exercises?
I always look forward to sparring. It’s almost like a fight to me. My least favorite would have to be running the track and the hills and stuff like that.
“ We’re both savages, and somebody’s going to get hurt. Of course I always believe I’m going to win. But if it goes the distance, we’d both go to the hospital. ” Erickson Lubin on a theoretical fight with one of his boxing heroes, Marvin Hagler
Favorite boxing movie?
Ali, starring Will Smith. You see behind the scenes how Muhammad Ali and black people were treated back in the day. There were his great fights and how he had to make a way for himself and overcome segregation and racism. Going to jail, coming back after being out of boxing, the fight with Joe Frazier. That’s my favorite boxing movie.
If Hollywood was to make a movie about your life, what actor would you want to portray you?
I’m gonna say Jamie Foxx. He’s got so much character and he does the job. He can be humorous and serious at the same time.
What is your favorite movie genre?
Comedy. I want to laugh when I watch a movie. Watching scary movies, sometimes, I can’t go to sleep. They can keep me up.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Angelina Jolie. I first saw her when I was young, I think in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and also, Tomb Raider. She’s still killing in the movies, and I still have a crush on her.
I’ve heard she’s no longer with Brad [Pitt]. Wait until she comes to one of my fights. She can get a front-row seat.
What is your dream vacation destination?
I want to go to Greece. It’s a beautiful place. I remember that the Olympics were there in 2004, and they’d show the views of the city between the sports competitions. You see the ancient ruins and things like that. A trip there would be perfect.
What was your first car?
When I first turned pro, I got a BMW 323Ci. It’s a convertible, so I always put the top down. It’s a fast car and I still have it.
What’s your dream car?
Who is the one artist that fans would be surprised to find in your playlist?
Has to be Alicia Keys. She talks to me. She’s always saying something to me, man.
Batman or Superman?
Drake or Kanye?
Drake. That’s my favorite rapper.
Would you rather run over a linebacker or juke him out of his shoes?
Juke him out of his shoes. You want to make them look silly, like in basketball when you cross somebody over.
Would you rather be the strongest man in the world or the smartest man in the world?
The smartest man in the world.
Which animal in the wild best describes your personality?
A tiger or a lion. I guess more a lion, because they’re vicious and they’re the kings of the jungle. They run it.
Finish this sentence: People would be surprised to know that I …
… do yoga. Hot yoga—really hot yoga. It’s a straight hour class two days a week. That’s what gets this weight off and keeps me flexible and elusive.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
Racism. It’s kind of getting out of hand again. Cops killing [innocent] people, although it’s the crooked ones who are doing it.
To me, all lives matter, but at the same time, black lives really matter, because this is something that started years ago and it’s still continuing. It has to change. If I could change that, I would. We’re all humans.
What is on your life’s bucket list?
I want to win a WBC world championship against Gennady Golovkin, or whoever they consider the best and the greatest at the time. I want to win the WBC title before I leave this earth.
“12 Rounds With” is published Wednesdays at PremierBoxingChampions.com. Next week: Danny Garcia.