By: Hans Themistode
Erickson Lubin has placed a lot of time between himself and the worst night of his boxing career.
After winning ESPN’s prospect of the year in 2016, Lubin found himself standing across the ring from Jermell Charlo. Everything seemed perfect for the Florida native. With one more win against the aforementioned Charlo, and Lubin would have completed a lifelong dream of becoming a world champion.
However, what was supposed to be his dream moment turned into a nightmare as he was laid out within minutes of the very first round.
Before the loss to Houston’s Charlo, Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs) went from a quiet, hardworking, low-key boxing talent, to someone who became full of himself. The Jr middleweight contender looked to his left and heard fans screaming his name, then looked to his right and listened to the pundits as they crowned him as one of boxing’s brightest stars.
Nevertheless, the consistent praise went straight to his head and Charlo took full advantage.
“I definitely feel like I took the sport for granted because of the hype and everything,” admitted Lubin to former world champion Cornelius Bundrage. “I needed that transition from taking a loss and having to face adversity. That Charlo loss definitely taught me how to be patient. I was lacking in patience like I wanted to be a world champion so fast. I saw the light and I was like I was young and I wanted to be the youngest to do this and the youngest to do that. It kinda humbled me, I won’t take boxing for granted ever, ever again.”
The price for Lubin’s lack of focus as he alluded to, was a painful one. Gone were the mentions of him becoming a household name as his stock to a major hit. While Lubin could have returned to the ring much earlier than he actually did, the now 25-year-old took the time to evaluate his skills and the team surrounding him.
After being completely honest with himself, Lubin realized he needed to make changes. Not only would he make some adjustments to the manner in which he fought but he also enlisted the help of renowned trainer Kevin Cunningham. By all accounts, the combination of the two has been a sagacious decision.
“I had just turned 22 days before the fight. But I believed in myself since I was 18 and I believed that I could’ve became world champion anytime they gave me the opportunity. I feel like I just needed to be a better pro and just learn more of the pro-style. You can see it in my game now. I’m a whole better fighter. Moving away from home and getting with Kevin has been a big help. I just knew that he could take my game to the next level.”
Although the loss may have been excruciating, Lubin has pushed forward and is now in the midst of a five-fight win streak. Now, he finds himself in a familiar position as he is once again the mandatory challenger to Charlo.
Looking back on their first fight, it’s difficult to peel away anything good from the results. To many, the abrupt ending of their first showdown appears fluky. Anyone can get caught with a big shot, especially early. But for Lubin, he refrains from calling Charlo’s one-punch knockout win against him lucky. He simply gives Charlo the credit he deserves but vows that the second time around he’ll be more than ready.
“I don’t look at it as a lucky punch. Other people might say it was a lucky punch to keep me happy but I know boxing. It was a nice placed shot. He set me up with a nice shot. When it’s time, I’ll definitely be ready for my mandatory which is Charlo.”