Top super welterweight contenders Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora and Erickson “Hammer” Lubin delivered an instant classic Saturday night, as Fundora captured the Interim WBC Super Welterweight Title via TKO after nine rounds in the SHOWTIME main event from The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
In a bout that lived up to the pre-fight hype, both men hit the canvas and showed tremendous fortitude to recover from knockdowns and continue to deliver massive blows. It was the six-foot, six-inch Fundora who struck first with a sweeping right uppercut that sent Lubin to the mat during the final seconds of round two.
“I think this was probably my best performance ever,” said Fundora. “It was a back-and-forth fight. He really brought his hammer but I decided to bring my drill. The uppercut was landing like no other. The uppercut is my lucky punch. I’m here in Vegas, so I feel a little lucky, and that’s my lucky punch. It lands most of the time with everybody. Southpaw. Right hand. It doesn’t matter. Once I find that, I feel like the job’s done.”
Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
Despite appearing on shaky legs after round two, Lubin recovered in the final minute of round three to bloody Fundora with a series of head shots. Lubin won three of the first four rounds on all three scorecards, buoyed by a bruising body attack against his taller opponent.
In round seven, Fundora and Lubin engaged in a surefire Round of the Year candidate, as both men took serious damage. Fundora’s nonstop volume began to show dividends on Lubin’s face, which started to swell up from damage during the frame. However, Lubin showed championship mettle by turning the tide with an unrelenting series of hooks that eventually forced Fundora to take a knee, the first time he’s been down as a pro.
“I got hit with a good punch and I didn’t feel like I needed to get hit again so I took a knee to get a little breather in and I recovered,” said Fundora. “I intentionally took a knee. I knew I had to take a knee because if I kept getting hit like that it wouldn’t be smart for me and I wouldn’t be able to recollect myself.”
After rising to his feet after the knockdown, Fundora recovered to out-land Lubin 26 to 12 and 28 to 3 in rounds eight and nine respectively, according to CompuBox. Overall, Fundora out-landed Lubin 255 to 149, while Lubin held a 40% to 36% advantage in punch accuracy. Lubin had early success with his jab, landing 18 over the first three rounds, but only connected on 15 throughout the rest of the action.
After a one-sided round nine, and with swelling continuing to grow around Lubin’s face, his trainer Kevin Cunningham asked referee Russell Mora to stop the fight, officially ending the action via a TKO after nine rounds. At the time of the stoppage, Lubin led 85-84 on two judges’ cards, with the third judge scoring the fight 85-85.
“I think it was a good decision for Kevin Cunningham to stop the fight,” said Fundora. “His face shifted from round one to round nine. It completely morphed and there was a lot of blood coming out. He’s a tough fighter. He was in the game the whole time but there’s no need to get hurt that much.”
Lubin was taken to UMC Trauma Center for further observation post fight. For Fundora, he puts himself in position to face the winner of the undisputed 154-pound title rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño, taking place May 14 on SHOWTIME.
“I see Charlo winning the fight against Castaño,” said Fundora. “I feel like he’ll be too strong for Castaño the second time. If Castaño wins, that’s great too. I just want to go after all of them. This is the interim belt so I want the world champion title. I want the real deal.”