"The better my opponent, the better I will fight...I will hit him more than he hits me (laughing). I really shouldn't get more specific than that. Look, I respect Charlo's game. I was bored fighting the guys who were willing to fight me. I don't get jacked up for mediocre guys that nobody knows. For the first time since my last Gold Medal in an amateur tournament, I'm jacked up and really excited," stated jr. middleweight contender Erickson Lubin, who talked about his upcoming title shot against champion Jermell Charlo. Check it out!
PC: How is preparation going for your October 14th fight against Jermell Charlo?
EL: Preparation has been great; coming to Jersey for this camp was a great decision. I've been working with people here who train and condition the NY Giants and other pro athletes in NYC. And there's plenty of good sparring here in NYC, so camp has been great. I've definitely never been in as good condition as I am right now. My coach, Jason Galarza, has me on point both mentally and physically.
PC: It’s amazing that you’re only 21 years old. Was there some sort of goal that you set to be contending for a world title at this age or is this just how it came together for you?
EL: I actually just turned 22. That was the plan when I signed. I gave up a great shot at Gold to go pro and it was negotiated at the time that I get to move as quickly as possible into a championship fight. I wouldn't have signed with them if they were going to give me this "it's too soon" stuff. I appreciate my management team of Jonas, Decubas Jr., Haymon, along with PBC for keeping their word.
PC: You recently signed with Lil Wayne’s “Young Money Sports.” How did that deal come about and what made that the right landing spot for you?
EL: We didn't sign with Young Money. They came by and they expressed interest and took some pictures. No business deal was ever signed. Next thing you know it's on TMZ. First it was Charlo, then it was me. Either way, it's false.
PC: Oh wow! That's crazy because that was a lead story on TMZ Sports. All in all, it had to be an honor for Lil Wayne and his company to show interest in you.
EL: It’s definitely an honor any time somebody like that expresses interest in me. You never know.
PC: You fought 5 times in 2015, 4 times in 2016, and only once so far this year. Is that just because of the level you are at now doesn’t allow for that type of activity or was it by design to be in line for a title fight?
EL: The reason the volume of fights slowed down was because these opponents were asking PBC for a lot of money. What nobody is aware of is that they couldn't make the fights. Anyone that Charlo fought wouldn't fight me or was asking for ridiculous money to fight me. Their plan was to avoid me and hope they get their shot. And now, as you can see, Charlo wouldn't fight me for whatever reason he's using. Hurd wouldn't, Lara wouldn't. Hey man, God bless Sulaiman and the WBC; this is what mandatories are all about. When everyone is ducking a fighter, then what? So yeah, fights slowed down as much as anything because it was difficult to make them. PBC spent more than they wanted to at that point, so that had to limit them to a degree. Either way, I've got no complaints with having 18 fights in 4 years and 17 of them on national TV. I've been blessed with how my career has been managed so far.
PC: Jose Rodriguez was the last southpaw Jermell has faced and that was 4 years ago. It took him until the 10th and final round to dispose of Rodriguez. Can you take anything away from that or am I digging too much into it?
EL: I don't think the southpaw thing is that big a deal. The better fighter is going to win this fight. Most fans just don't know where my ceiling is at. They say it was all scrubs, but nobody ever would have called Yudel Johnson or Rubio scrubs; and Cota beat Johnson and hung with Rubio. So when I say I made him look like a scrub, check your facts closely and you will see that to be true.
Furthermore, I've fought guys with Charlo’s pedigree and talent in the amateurs. When I beat the Cuban, Toledo, he was 26, a bronze medalist in the previous Olympics, and I was 17. I beat him and won Gold in that tournament. And I've had some very intense sparring that, out of respect, I won't talk about with who, but it was with top fighters in the world and observers will tell you I won those battles. That's how I auditioned for Mike Tyson, by beating a bunch of contenders in sparring when I was 18.
My point is nobody will deny Cota was a step up from the others and I made him look like the others. The better my opponent, the better I will fight. There are a bunch of top fighters out there who have fought with me behind closed doors that will tell you that this "Lubin’s only fought scrubs" nonsense doesn't apply here. But if Jermell and his coach want to think that, then good, they are underestimating me and it's to my advantage.
PC: A lot is always made of the size of the Charlos. Given your extensive amateur career, I’m sure you have faced all styles and sizes and that shouldn’t be a factor for you.
EL: Charlo isn't bigger than me. We were standing eye to eye. My arms are longer and we're the same weight class and will probably weigh the same fight night. So there's no size advantage for him. If anything, he's in great condition. I respect him for that. He's a pro and he's determined and focused, so I knew from the get-go that I needed to step it up and match his conditioning. This camp has accomplished that.
PC: What do you feel will separate you from Jermell Charlo on fight night?
EL: I will hit him more than he hits me (laughing). I really shouldn't get more specific than that. Look, I respect Charlo's game. I was bored fighting the guys who were willing to fight me. I don't get jacked up for mediocre guys that nobody knows. For the first time since my last Gold Medal in an amateur tournament, I'm jacked up and really excited. I think the fans will see how much of a difference that makes to a fighter like me. People will see a level from me that they didn't know existed by watching my other fights.
PC: What do you think of his last performance against Charles Hatley?
EL: Seriously, I think Cota beats Hatley and many boxing insiders will agree. I'm sorry, I don't like talking bad about Hatley, but I can't judge Charlo based on a fight with Hatley.
PC: What would it mean for you to grab that WBC strap at just 22 years of age?
EL: The WBC strap right after my 22nd birthday would mean everything to me. I've been dreaming about it for years. Words can't describe how important it is to me. I got to thank Sulaiman for this opportunity.
PC: I wish you the best of luck on October 14th. I hope to speak with you afterwards. Is there anything else you would like to add before I let you go?
EL: Yeah, to the fans out there, talk is cheap. I understand this is a business and I got to do my part to promote this fight, but I'm out, I'm done, time to go dark and get in beast mode. Next time you hear from me will be me speaking to Jim Gray afterwards. To all those doubting me, that's okay, I will enjoy proving you wrong. Do yourself a favor, don't put your money where your mouth is; save it. After all, I’m hoping you're going to be a "Hammer" fan when this is over.
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]