Junior middleweight contender Erickson Lubin was faced not only with a change of opponent on two weeks’ notice but a radical change in the boxing style of his foe.
He had spent most of camp in South Florida with trainer Kevin Cunningham preparing to fight a slick boxer in fellow former world title challenger Terrell Gausha in a 12-round world title elimination bout on Saturday in the main event of a tripleheader on Showtime (9 p.m. ET) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
But when Gausha suffered a hand injury and pulled out of the bout, Lubin found himself having to change things up in camp to fight a 10-rounder against Nathaniel Gallimore, a more straight-ahead fighter with superior power to Gausha. As far as Lubin was concerned, no problem.
“We worked on everything. It doesn’t matter who comes to the ring Saturday night. We’re definitely ready for anything,” Lubin said at the final pre-fight news conference on Thursday. “Gallimore comes to fight. He’s a bigger puncher than Terrell Gausha and he takes risks. We’re prepared for everything. It’s my time for sure on Saturday.
“Gallimore is a power puncher and he relies on that throughout a fight. He’s going to try to land the big shots. We’re going to capitalize on the risks he takes. We’re prepared for it all. We’re the total package. Working with coach Cunningham has taken my game to a whole new level. You’re going to see something special on Saturday night.”
Lubin (21-1, 16 KOs), a 24-year-old southpaw from Orlando, Florida, is aiming for a third win in a row since a shocking first-round knockout loss challenging Jermell Charlo for a junior middleweight world title in October 2017 in a fight that was a bit too much, too soon.
Now the 2016 ESPN prospect of the year believes he is back on track and headed for another 154-pound title shot.
“My plan is not to just take over the division. My plan is to take over boxing and it starts Saturday,” Lubin said. “I can’t wait to put on a great performance for everyone to watch. I’m hungry, dedicated and I’m going to be at my best Saturday night. Gallimore is a stepping stone and he’s in my way. I’m going to crush him. I believe I can stop Gallimore.”
Gallimore (21-3-1, 17 KOs), 31, a Jamaica native fighting out of Chicago, lost both of his fights in 2018, but to good opposition — a title eliminator by decision to Julian “J Rock” Williams, who went on to win a unified title, and an eight-round decision to Patrick Teixeira. Gallimore rebounded with a win in August and had no issue taking the fight two weeks ago.
“I’ve been training hard way before this fight. I knew this opportunity would present itself to me,” he said. “Saturday night, you’re not going to want to miss this legendary performance.
“Lubin should be expecting everything. I’m not a one-dimensional fighter. They can see my fights on tape, but when it comes to Saturday, I’m going to give everyone a memorable night. I have more dimensions to my game than what he thinks. He’s only seen one side of me. I will show them the whole package. I can absolutely see myself stopping Lubin.”
In the 10-round co-feature, former lightweight world titlist Robert Easter Jr. (21-1-1, 14 KOs), 28, of Toledo, Ohio, is moving up to junior welterweight to face battle-tested Adrian Granados (20-7-2, 14 KOs), 30, of Chicago.
“I felt that it was time to move up in weight,” said Easter, who is 0-1-1 in his last two with a title loss to Mikey Garcia and a draw with former titlist Rances Barthelemy in April. “Getting to 135 (pounds) was cutting a lot of muscle. My body was getting tired so we made that move and this fight presented itself. The power is going to be there. My strength coach has worked me really hard and we’re getting the feel for this weight class.”
In the opener, Las Vegas-based Cuban heavyweight Frank Sanchez (13-0, 11 KOs), 27, who replaced injured Efe Ajagba earlier this week, will face Jack Mulowayi (7-1-1, 3 KOs), 32, of Belgium, in an eight-rounder.