More than just a fighter, Erickson Lubin is a boxing junkie. He watches everything. He sees everything. He knows everything – no matter the weight class.
So of course he was watching on June 25, 2016. That was when, before Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter squared off in a Fight of the Year-caliber welterweight title fight, fellow 154-pound prospect Jarrett Hurd got his chance to shine and announce his presence to the world in a co-main event watched by millions at home on CBS.
Hurd took advantage of the opportunity with a 10th round stoppage of unbeaten Oscar Molina, and less than a year later earned his first world title shot. Lubin gets a similar springboard opportunity Saturday night in a 154-pound world title eliminator bout against Jorge Cota, which serves as the co-feature to a 147-pound world title unification bout between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, Saturday March 4 from Barclays Center. The broadcast begins at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT on Saturday.
“I don’t just want to win. I want to make a statement and show the world and the 154-pound division why I deserve to be at the top and have one of the titles,” Lubin said. “I plan on making a bigger statement than Jarrett Hurd did. He kind of set the bar in that fight on CBS. I’m here to exceed that, give the fans a better show. I plan on stealing the show that night.”
Stealing the show from one of the most anticipated main event bouts of 2017 will not be an easy task, but if there’s a young fighter whose raw talents can make it happen, that would be Lubin.
Since turning pro in 2013 at just 18 years old, Lubin has been tabbed as one of the sport’s future stars. Now with his record at 17-0 (12 KO), he’s on the verge of fulfilling those prophecies. His style and prodigious power in both hands have steadily helped his profile grow.
In 2016 his climb included winning four fights. It was the least impressive of those performances that he now says taught him the most.
After a stunning third round stoppage of Daniel Sandoval in front of a large NBC audience on June 18, he was brought back into the ring four weeks later on FOX against Ivan Montero. But after letting loose in the wake of the Sandoval fight, Lubin went into the Montero bout without the luxury of a full training camp, and it showed, despite taking a dominant 8-round unanimous decision victory home.
“That definitely taught me just to be patient,” he said. “I’m still happy I got as many fights as I could last year. This year, I’m going to take my time, because the fights are going to be harder and on bigger stages. I’m going to take my time and have a full camp. That fight with Montero, I just went in there trying to knock him out. With a full camp to prepare, I might have been more relaxed and calm about it.”
The poor taste the Montero fight left in his mouth, combined with personal loss, reset his focus for his final fight of the year.
In November, Lubin’s long-time cutman – Todd Harlib – tragically passed away, leaving Lubin without a man who had been in his corner since he was 11 years old.
“Todd was there and did everything for us. He was a great man, and to lose him so early cut hard on us,” Lubin said. “We couldn’t lose focus. We had to do it for him. I dedicate each and every fight to him.
“I remember him being with us in the amateurs, and he paid for the tournaments I couldn’t afford to go to. There were tournaments I thought I’d miss, and Todd came in and helped me out. I thought about it like this: He paid all this money for me to come out here, $1,000 plus. I definitely have to win this tournament.”
More times than not he did. And he showed that same attitude in taking care of Juan Ubaldo Cabrera via second round knockout on Dec. 10. He did so while wearing scarlet and grey trunks, a tribute to his former cutman who attended Ohio State University.
Immediately following his December bout, Lubin was informed of his major opportunity against Cota, diving right into dogged preparation.
The 154-pound division right now is one of the most talent-rich weight classes in the sport. The Lubin-Cota winner will be in line to soon contend for the belt held by Jermell Charlo, who defends against Charles Hatley on March 11. There is also a crowded pool of champions & contenders all around. In a lengthy chess match, with all of the pieces trying to position themselves, Lubin has his chance to make his first big move Saturday night.
“Jermell said I need about six more fights to fight him, so I’m about to give him an early surprise,” Lubin said. “It’s not six fights. It’s one more fight, then I get Jermell Charlo.
“I plan on knocking (Cota) out. And if he doesn’t want to go, I’ll punish him for 12 rounds.”
Erickson Lubin quotes for Jorge Cota fight
Undefeated rising star Erickson “Hammer” Lubin hosted media at his gym in his hometown of Orlando Thursday as he prepares to face once-beaten contender Jorge Cota Saturday, March 4 in a 12-round super welterweight world title eliminator on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS, presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
Broadcast coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by the welterweight world title unification showdown between unbeaten fighters Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, start at $50 (not including applicable fees) and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
Here is what Lubin and his trainer had to say Thursday:
“I haven’t stopped training since my last fight on December 10. We have been full throttle since.
“This is a big fight. It is a title eliminator. It is at Barclays Center. It is on CBS. You’ve got Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman in the main event. It is 12-rounds. This is definitely what I’ve dreamed of. This is the kind of opportunity that I’ve wanted. Getting to seize the moment. Going out there, dominating the fight and going on to become the mandatory challenger for the title.
“We always say that we aren’t training for the fight coming up, we’ve training for the title. I’ve prepared for this. To be the youngest world champion, we just saw Gervonta Davis do that and make history like that is a blessing. I can’t wait to go for that.
“The fans can expect straight fireworks. I am going to go out there and dominate the fight. A lot of fighters say they’re going to do something, but I am the type of guy that says it and lives up to it. March 4 fans definitely want to tune in.
[On the “Hammer” ring name] “There are hammers in my hands. They punish and do damage. A hammer with fireworks is dangerous isn’t it?
“It is my first time fighting in Brooklyn. I expect a lot of stars to be there. A lot of people having their eyes on me. I am expecting to become the mandatory for the belt and for everyone to know my name.
“2017 is a big year. To be in this position right now is a great start for the year and to become a mandatory challenger is bigger and becoming a world champion is the biggest. I want to be undisputed.”
JASON GALARZA, Lubin’s Trainer
“I’ve known Erickson since he was eight-years-old. He had an aura about him back then and he still has it. He continues to be a hard-working individual. He has this drive that most athletes don’t have, but the great ones do.
“There are a lot of people that don’t know of him, but there are actually a lot that do. We are going to go up to Brooklyn and show the fans at Barclays Center and the world, what we do and what he is made of.
“We have a family-based gym here. The guys that have been around Erickson from the beginning. We hit the road for the first two years of his career. We did our homework. I learned from a lot of top coaches, what to do and what not to do.
“I learned what I should and shouldn’t do to train a professional, but you can’t teach the chemistry that he and I have. When you are in with him, you are all the way in.
“People have told me that Erickson isn’t ready for Cota. I believe this is the right time. He pushes himself, he is a student of the game and always has been. The difference with this training camp from others is that we know who our opponent is. We have focused on that one individual, so we know.
“I’m from Brooklyn and I haven’t been there in about seven years. So Erickson is bringing me home.
“Fans can expect fireworks. This kid is very explosive. They will see a mature fighter at 21 years old. He will have so many more fans after March 4th.”