The super-welterweight division proved itself to be one of the best in boxing once again after Sebastian Fundora beat Erickson Lubin last night in Las Vegas.
Their fight will be remembered for Fundora’s uppercuts, a knockdown suffered by each man, Lubin’s resilience and his disfigured face which forced trainer Kevin Cunningham to end matters himself at the end of round 9.
Fundora’s win gave him the WBC Interim title but as he told Showtime’s Jim Gray afterwards, he wants the real one, currently in the hands of unified champion Jermell Charlo.
Both men produced more entertaining action in six minutes than Ryan Garcia and Emmanuel Tagoe achieved over 36 on the same night.
This 154lbs clash had a relentless pace from the beginning. Fundora got his work-rate warmed up quickly while Lubin fended off the six-foot six giant with his jab.
Lubin brought himself into the contest in round 2. His combinations got going but a recurring theme of the fight was slowly beginning. The Fundora uppercut, time and time again, hammered through Lubin’s guard and the Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em impersonation took its toll on Lubin who got rocked and dropped by one of the most brutal shots in boxing. The clock proved to be the Floridian’s friend as the seconds left were not enough for Fundora to finish the job.
The response from Lubin in the third was exemplary. His right hook was finding a target and he boxed carefully and cleverly off the ropes. A one-two with a shot behind the guard was an example of Lubin’s strong finish to the round to bring him back into the fight. He closed the fourth strongly too after some good work to the lanky frame of Fundora.
Coachella’s Fundora got back to work in the fifth. The uppercuts woke up again and his size was proving troublesome for Lubin. The 24-year-old tower of a man got his opponent into the corner in round six and wailed away at whatever body part presented itself as a target. The pace kept up, rarely dipping.
The seventh will earn a nomination as round of the year at the end of 2022. It began with Fundora seizing on his momentum and taking the fight to Lubin as he walked his man down with those eye-catching uppercuts. The danger signs were there. Fundora threw whatever he could knowing that if at least one landed it would do damage. Lubin to his relief found space and threw a right hand to turn the round and the fight on its head. The former world title challenger threw 10 shots, not all successful, but there was enough to put Fundora down for the count. Fundora looked weary, he was bloodied but Lubin’s face was a sight of one that had been hit by a shovel square on.
Lubin was catching Fundora on the inside in round 8. Fundora kept up his work-rate and as he let his hands go an uppercut and left hook inflicted further punishment on his fellow southpaw.
Fundora brought more pressure and pain to Lubin in the ninth. He followed his foe everywhere and put in the type of effort that in turn made the efforts of Lubin look slow. The fight was getting away from him as quickly as the fuel was draining from his tank. With the round over trainer Kevin Cunningham could be seen waving his hands to referee Russell Mora to end the fight. The damage sustained by Lubin had clearly become too much to watch and the sight of his face would have been of great concern.
Fundora looks a gentle giant but as he proved tonight, he is a towering nightmare with a relentlessness that many of his peers at 154lbs will not be calling out to take on.