There is a full slate of fights on Saturday throughout the world that will be broadcast on various outlets. The match-up between junior middleweights, Erickson Lubin, and Sebastian Fundora -- which highlights Showtime's broadcast from the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas -- is the most intriguing and evenly matched.
This bout is for the WBC interim belt at 154. The winner gets into position to fight for the full title which is currently held by unified belt-holder, Jermell Charlo.
It was back in 2017 when that same Charlo stopped a green Lubin (who was the Ring Magazine 2016 Prospect of the Year) in the first round. A right hand that he never saw had him sprawled out on the canvas at the Barclay Center. 'the Hammer' got nailed.
Shortly after that bout, the respected trainer Kevin Cunningham took over the reigns. Since then, Lubin has notched solid wins over the likes of Nathaniel Gallimore (W10), Terrell Gausha (W12) and Jeison Rosario (KO6). He is now 26 years old, and a fully matured boxer. Currently he is ranked fourth in the division by Ring Magazine.
When asked if Lubin was perhaps rushed into Charlo, Cunningham told SNAC.com, "I can't say whether or not he was ready for the fight but in my opinion, as a 21 year old fighter with 18 fights -- it wouldn't have been a fight that I would've pushed him towards at that particular time in his career."
Cunningham is no stranger to preparing talented southpaws, having reared the likes of Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander in the past.
"I think he's taken his skill set to another level, and especially being a little more defensively responsible," said the veteran trainer. "He's always been an explosive offensive fighter but I just wanted him to put some emphasis on being a little more responsible defensively without taking away from his aggression, but using smart aggression."
Listed as just under 6'6, Fundora is a freakishly tall junior middleweight. It's safe to say he'd win every jump ball in the division. Cunningham notes that they have worked in the past with Leon Lawson III, who is just a half-inch shorter than their upcoming foe. But he notes that Lawson boxes from the orthodox stance.
Fundora isn't a stick and move boxer that likes to stay on the perimeter of the ring. He actually is much more comfortable mucking-and-grinding on the inside. Cunningham describes him as a, "guy who doesn't fight tall."
Lubin has the sharper, more powerful punches in his arsenal. While Fundora overwhelms his opponents with sheer volume and activity. All this should make for an entertaining affair.
"I envision a fight that's going to be a fan-friendly fighter, it's going to be non-stop action. I think Fundora's going to come the way he usually comes, he's going to be busy," Cunningham stated. "Erickson's going to meet him in the center of the ring and be there to stand his ground, turn him around, turn him back the other way."
Meanwhile on DAZN from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, is the return of lightweight contender, Ryan Garcia, who faces Emmanuel Tagoe. For the social media superstar, it's his first fight since January 2, 2021, when he halted Luke Campbell in seven rounds.
He comes into this fight with Joe Goossen in his corner, after his union with Eddy Reynoso came to an end. And so far, so good.
Goossen told SNAC.com a few days before the bout, "No kidding when I tell you this -- it was one incredible training camp. Number one, we hit it off really well. I've known Ryan for seven years, so it's not like I didn't know him going into this. So that made the transition into the camp very easy because he had trained at my gym for several months.
"He knew what I was about, he knew my personality. So with all that, when I say that it was an incredible camp, there was a nice foundation to start with. Switching to Ryan training, I use the term, 'beast'. He was a beast in camp. It's hard to contain him, he's a whirlwind. He doesn't stop working."
This training camp was held at Garcia's gym in San Diego. Goossen is a guy who could be described as a traditionalist when it comes to preparing a fighter. He's much more into the heavy-bag, then flashy pad work. Oftentimes, his boxers will do up to 40-plus rounds of floor work on certain days. It's a formula that worked with Gabe and Rafael Ruelas, Michael Nunn, Diego Corrales and Joel Casamayor, among many others.
Garcia impressed him going into this weekend.
"If I were to sum it up, I'd say it was in the top three training camps of all time. It was really that good."
And last but not least, ESPN has a card from the Hangar in Costa Mesa, California, that features IBF/WBO junior lightweight champion, Mikaela Mayer, taking on Jennifer Han.
Prior to this contest, Mayer has been engaging in some spirited tweeting with Alycia Baumgardner, who won the WBC belt in this division last fall by stopping Terri Harper in four in Manchester, England. It was around that same time that Mayer won her belts by defeating Maiva Hamadouche in one of the best bouts of 2021.
It will be interesting to see if Mayer-Baumgardner is the next high profile women's bout to occur
A fight of note on the Gennadiy Golovkin-Ryoto Murata card on (very early) Saturday morning is WBO flyweight titlist, Junto Nakatani, facing Ryota Yamauchi....Meanwhile on DAZN, in addition to Garcia-Tagoe, you have Shane Mosley Jr against Gabe Rosado, and a female flyweight unification bout between Marlen Esparza and Naoka Fujioka....On ESPN, welterweight Giovanni Santillan takes on Jeovanis Barraza, and Jason and Andrew Moloney are also on the undercard....The main support bout on Showtime is a junior middleweight match-up between Tony Harrison and Sergio Garcia...The WBA has ordered a bout between featherweights Leo Santa Cruz and Leigh Wood to clear up their featherweight championship....After a shaky start, I ended up really enjoying this past season of 'Billions' on Showtime. Mike Prince grew on me....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org....