12 Rounds With … Erickson Lubin

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The highly-touted junior middleweight contender underwent a grueling camp in the Florida sun ahead of Saturday's bout against Ishe Smith on Showtime. Now, he promises to return hotter than ever.

Erickson Lubin is "ready to bounce back in a major way.” That is what Kevin Cunningham, Lubin’s new trainer, said after working with his charge through an extended camp.

This Saturday, February 9, Lubin takes on former world champion Ishe Smith in a super welterweight showdown at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Lubin vs Smith will be aired live on Showtime Sports’ YouTube channel and Showtime Boxing’s Facebook page (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.)  

The bout serves as the co-feature to a three-fight Showtime card headlined by a WBA world title bout between champion Gervonta Davis and former two-division titlist Hugo Ruiz (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).

Lubin, 19-1 (14 KOs), is still only 23. His goal is to become the first man to stop Smith (29-10, 12 KOs) and continue his winning ways. Following an October 2017 first-round stoppage loss to then-WBC 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo, “The Hammer” rebounded with a fourth-round TKO of Silvio Ortiz last April. According to the Orlando, Florida native, he's gotten even better under the tutelage of the respected Cunningham.

How has camp been for Ishe Smith?

It has been excellent. I believe in my trainer because Kevin has taken other southpaws to world championships. Kevin has taught me some different tricks and he has put me in situations throughout sparring and pad work to show me different scenarios.

Knowing the skills that I have, and the trainer that he is, has really boosted my confidence. I know what I’m capable of and we know what we’re up against. Ishe Smith is a tough veteran, but I feel like my youth will play a part and that I can be the enforcer in there.

What do you know about Smith?

He has never been knocked out or stopped. I’m not necessarily going in there looking for the knockout. I’m not going to load up on big punches. But I feel like I’m capable of stopping him.

Being with Kevin, and with everything I’ve learned in this camp, I feel like on fight night I’ll be able to walk away with an easy victory by stoppage or knockout. I’m ready to fight right now.

Who were your favorite fighters growing up?

My top fighter of all time is Floyd Mayweather. Marvin Hagler is another one of my favorite fighters. But I also like Meldrick Taylor, Pernell Whitaker, "Sugar" Ray Leonard and Andre Ward.

There are different things that are special about those guys. With some, it’s about what they do in the ring, and others, what they do outside of the ring.  They’re great at executing the most important and basic punches and at sticking to their game plans from round one to round 12, if it goes that far. Floyd Mayweather is a little more talented than many of the other guys that I’ve named, and he’s real special.

What was your first fight or sparring session like?

I was about six-years-old and with a lot of young kids trying amateur boxing. We would all practice around the same time as the older kids, who were like 12- or 13-years-old. There was kid who was about seven or eight who was one of the better kids.

I remember that his name was Monty. My older brother used to always want me to stand out, so he told me to box Monty. Every Friday, they would have big sparring sessions, and on this one Friday, they put me in there with Monty. He beat me up.

Ishe Smith is a tough veteran, but I feel like my youth will play a part and that I can be the enforcer in there. Super welterweight contender, Erickson Lubin

In fact, Monty beat me up over three consecutive Fridays. My brother was really rough on me. We’d go home and he would tell me, “You can’t let that kid beat you up.”

So, I was like, “I don’t want to get my ass kicked by my brother and then by this kid, too.” So, this one Friday, I remember being nervous, and the kid thought it was going to be just another easy day.

But I ended up beating him up. From that day on, Monty couldn’t beat me up anymore. The game plan that I had would work every time, and, from then on, I’ve been beating guys up, and I’m still doing it.

When you are training hard like this, what is the one thing you miss doing outside of camp?

My son, Malachi, he’s about to turn two. It motivates me to go harder in camp. The last time I saw him was in early December. So, around Christmas time and the holidays, I really missed him.

Being healthy, young and to go train is great, but being around my son, family and friends is something that I miss. Being away from him motivates me and makes me want to go in there and make the fight easier.

What did you get Malachi for Christmas?

I got him a little speed bag that he’s been punching a lot. I have a video of him doing it and it’s pretty funny, and it’s amazing how fast he looks. He’s trying to follow directions, and we don’t know if he’s right-handed or left-handed. He’s undecided right now.

You’re originally from Orlando. When you are home, where do you like to hang out?

I like to play basketball a lot with some of my boys. I hang out with my son. Orlando is the home of theme parks, so I take him to Universal or Disney World.

How about favorite restaurants?

I eat everything everywhere I go.  A couple of my favorites are Hot N Juicy or Capital Grille or Texas de Brazil. After the weigh-in, I go for a really big pasta, like, maybe a chicken pasta, and then rehydrate with Pedialyte, Gatorade or water.

Are there any clothing shops you hit up?

I love clothing and fashion. Saks Fifth Avenue and Kith clothing stores, and Barney’s New York and Neiman Marcus. As far as my sneakers, I like quality.  Some of my favorites are Balenciaga, Gucci, Nikes, Yeezy and Yves Saint Laurent.

How about favorite cars?

I like a whole bunch of cars, including Porches. But I drive a Dodge Challenger RT. It’s all black with black rims. My favorite car that I’m looking at is the Mercedes Benz. That’s my next car, a Mercedes 550. Maybe after the fight, that will be my next car.

What are three favorite vacation spots or places you want to go?

I’ve gone to the Dominican Republic and Mexico. I’ve gone to Puerto Rico too. I like how relaxing it is in those places, and the food is great, plentiful and inexpensive.

What is your proudest moment as a professional?

My proudest moment as a professional was defeating Jorge Cota, knocking him out in the fourth round to become the WBC’s No. 1 challenger for the super welterweight title. But I’m pretty sure I’m on the verge of having much more prouder moments in the near future. I’ve learned so much.

For a closer look at Erickson Lubin, check out his fighter page.


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