With 10 knockouts in 13 career fights, Erickson Lubin clearly possesses the physical tools required to succeed in the ring. Not to be overlooked, though, is Lubin’s mental acumen—the dude is a natural problem solver. Just ask one of his former math instructors.
“Erickson used certain steps to solve algebraic equations for the right answer, and he’s the same way in the ring,” says Shane Whitsett, who was Lubin’s algebra teacher during the 154-pound prospect’s junior year at Poinciana High School in Kissimmee, Florida.
“He feels out his opponents, setting up whatever punch he’s throwing. Once he has the answer, he can finish the problem—or in the case of boxing, his opponent.”
Whitsett and Joel Campbell—another of Lubin’s math teachers at Poinciana—have been keen observers of Lubin’s career since he turned pro early in his senior year. As such, both have been ringside witnesses to the 20-year-old’s cerebral approach to the game, starting with Lubin’s pro debut in November 2013, which ended with a 35-second knockout.
On Sunday, Whitsett and Campbell will make the three-hour drive to Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee, Florida, to once again watch Erickson Lubin (13-0, 10 KOs) in action as he takes on Jose De Jesus Macias (18-4, 9 KOs) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card (Bounce TV, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Macias represents one of Lubin’s most experienced opponents to date—the Mexico native is four years older, and he’s fought nearly three times as many rounds. But if you ask Campbell, those facts are of no concern to Lubin.
“Erickson was a thinker and a B-average student in my class,” Campbell recalls. “He accepted challenges, wasn’t afraid to try different things. When I see him fight, he’s still that same kid willing to give it his all.”
Lubin’s 13 previous foes would no doubt give him high marks for his effort, not to mention his punctuality. Not only has the 5-foot-11 southpaw vanquished everyone he’s faced, but he wiped out nine guys before the end of Round 3.
Only once was Lubin’s mettle tested, and that was against Noberto Gonzalez in November 2014. In that contest, Lubin’s backside hit the canvas in Round 1, but he got to his feet, rallied and won a comfortable eight-round unanimous decision.
“Erickson learned a lesson from getting knocked down,” Whitsett says. “You can’t just go in there trying to knock heads off. It’s got to be the same step-by-step process.”
Lubin definitely followed that process during September’s sixth-round stoppage of Orlando Lora. After flooring Lora in Round 1, Lubin broke him down with evenly distributed shots to the head and body, then finished him off with a barrage of more than a dozen unanswered punches in Round 6, forcing the referee to step in at the 1:58 mark.
“I consider myself a boxer-puncher. I can fight when I want to. That’s what makes me different,” says Lubin, who is coming off November’s second-round knockout of Alex Camacho, his fourth straight stoppage victory. “You can bang somebody out really quick, and he’s looking to bang back, [or] you can box and control the pace and catch them unexpectedly.”
As Lubin’s career continues to rise, so does his profile back at his old high school, which he often visits when he’s not preparing for a fight. Although he departed less than two months into his senior year to launch his professional career, Lubin’s former teachers see him as a positive role model—someone who can show today’s students that, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, no dream is unattainable.
Whitsett is so impressed with Lubin’s success in and out of the ring that he’s working to honor the fighter at the school next year, “highlighting how far he’s come and all of the hard work and effort he’s shown.”
For now, though, he and Campbell are focused on Sunday night’s fight, where they’ll be sitting ringside, shouting words of encouragement. Of course, with his concentration firmly on Macias, Lubin won’t acknowledge his former teachers. But that doesn’t mean he won’t hear them.
“I usually zone the crowd out, but I can always hear the two of them,” Lubin says. “They are always on top of me, pushing me and giving me that extra drive.”
For complete coverage of Lubin vs De Jesus Macias, check out our fight page.