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Kevin Cunningham: Lubin vs Rosario will be violent, like Hagler-Mugabi

Lubin’s trainer sees a great fight coming between the junior middleweight contenders.

Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Prior reports are true: Junior middleweights Erickson Lubin and Jeison Rosario are going to face off on Showtime. Exactly when, it’s not been settled, said Lubin’s trainer, the esteemed Kevin Cunningham, who is a specialist in training lefties and marching with them up the ladder of prominence.

No date or site has been determined, but Cunningham, reached in his home base of Florida, said probably late May/early June.

Showtime have been running in a bubble at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, but it’s a good bet that by late May or June, events will move elsewhere, in front of some number of patrons.

Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KO) will seek to bounce back from an eighth-round knockout defeat to Jermell Charlo in their 154-pound title unification fight last September, eight months after he upset Julian Williams to win the WBA and IBF belts.

Cunningham is prepping Lubin for the guy who beat “J-Rock,” not the one knocked out by Charlo.

“I see this fight as being like Marvin Hagler vs John Mugabi,” said Cunningham, a St. Louis guy who helmed corners for Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander, among others. “It’s going to be a violent fucking fight, we’re preparing for it to be that. We’ll be looking to apply the strategy, game-plan and skill set of my guy to disarm Rosario and be explosive. We’re expecting a rough, strong, violent fight.”

We’ll see how it plays out, but Cunningham is setting the bar at a certain place, he’s going out on a limb a bit here.

“My kid doesn’t get the credit he deserves, he gets judged on one fight four years ago, when he was 21 with 18 fights,” Cunningham continued, referring to the 2017 bout where Jermell Charlo knocked Lubin out inside of a round.

“These are the type of fights this kid wants to fight, real tests against the top guys. Lubin is rated No. 1 by the WBC, but he doesn’t want to sit around and wait for a title shot and do a couple tune ups while the champs fuck around. If he can’t get Jermell Charlo, who by the way has earned the right to do what he wants, then in that division, which is full of top notch fighters, he wants to fight those guys.”

Tony Harrison, Jarrett Hurd, Julian Williams, Erislandy Lara — those are some of the folks Cunningham says his guy would be all in to battle.

“Some of the fans want to hold Lubin’s one fight against him, when he stepped up against a real good guy, but other fighters know, some people ain’t fighting him for a reason. The only one that stepped up is Rosario. The other guys talk, then they fight tune-ups. Lubin is just not interested in tune ups.”

Compared to his past successes with southpaws Spinks and Alexander, Cunningham says Lubin is a different sort of fighter.

“This is the first time I’ve had the pleasure in a long time of teaching a southpaw with skill and power like this.”

And Cunningham likes that Lubin does his homework.

“He listens real well, he’s a student of the game,” he said. “Every week he comes in the gym talking about old throwback fights he’s been watching. Last week he was telling me how amazed he was at how busy, how ferocious and intense Aaron Pryor was, you couldn’t tell if it was round one or round 13. And the week before that he was talking about Hagler — the Hearns fight and the Mugabi fight. That’s what you’re gonna see in Lubin against Rosario.”

Cunningham: Trainer, and he has as a bit of the promoter in him, too. The vision he offers is intriguing, we will see if his gut instinct plays out as predicted.

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