Saturday’s Showtime pay-per-view has an intriguing main event pitting Gervonta “Tank” Davis in his 140 lb debut against secondary WBA titlist Mario Barrios, but the best fight on the card just might be the co-feature, a meeting between junior middleweight contenders Erickson Lubin and Jeison Rosario.
Lubin (23-1, 16 KO) and Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KO) will be fighting for a minor WBC belt, and the winner is hoping to cash in and get a possible undisputed title shot after Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano fight for all four major belts on July 17, also airing on Showtime.
Lubin, 25, faced Charlo back in 2017, and got blitzed in the first round. But he’s shaken off that loss, regrouped, and seemingly come to terms with the fact that he might have rushed into that level of fight before he was ready. Now a bit older and riding a five-fight win streak, he believes his time has come.
“I feel really confident, I feel strong, and I’ve had my best camp since I’ve been a pro. I’m ready to fight, and Saturday is just going to be another amazing performance by me,” he said at Thursday’s final press conference.
“I chose this fight because I don’t want any tune-up fights. I don’t like guys with lopsided records, and I don’t want the easy fights. I want the top guys in the division, so when I get my title shot or become the champion, they can say I beat everyone. I didn’t come this far just to come this far. I want to take this all the way to the top. I want to be the best in boxing. Not just the best in the weight class, but the best in boxing.”
Rosario, 26, lost to Charlo in his last outing, getting knocked out in the eighth round of a fight that had been competitive. Before that, he upset Julian Williams to win the WBA and IBF titles in Jan. 2020, before the Charlo fight eight months later. This fight, obviously, is a chance for him to get right back into a championship fight.
“I’m absolutely ready to do whatever it takes to win. I possess the power in my hands to end the fight, both in the first round and the 12th round. I’m ready both physically and mentally to endure the 12 rounds if needed to come out victorious in the end,” Rosario said.
“I couldn’t care less what we say right now. This Saturday night, we are going to see who is faster, stronger, and who has the will to win. That’s the bottom line. The rest is pure talk.
Both say they expect an action fight, one with show-stealing potential.
“He will come out like he always does, aggressively,” Lubin predicted. “If he does try to box me, that will be a mistake. He can’t outbox me; my skills are second to none. When he does come out aggressive, I’m going to tame him.”
“People can expect a war. I’m a warrior and I love to be fighting that war inside the ring,” Rosario stated. “I want people to be happy and to enjoy this fight. It’s going to be a great show.”
The PPV broadcast will also feature two more fights, with Carlos Adames (19-1, 15 KO) taking on Alexis Salazar (23-3, 9 KO) in a late addition to the PPV, plus a WBA eliminator at 140 lbs between Batyr Akhmedov (8-1, 7 KO) and veteran Argenis Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KO).
“My opponent is a very talented fighter, but I have more experience, which will play a factor in this fight. I also have every one of the fundamentals needed to bring him into the way I want to fight, and then I am going to come out with my hand raised in the end.
“I’m in a great position in my career to get another world title shot. That climb back begins on Saturday. I have everything I need to become world champion.
“With me, there is no room for experimenting. If he is coming to fight, he is really going to have to come to fight. Expect a great fight on Saturday night, I’m going to be more than ready.”
“Regardless of what my opponent might say, it’s not all about strength, it’s about strategy as well. When you fight smart, you can do a lot of things. I’ll be ready to fight and I look forward to what promises to be a great bout on Saturday night.
“This is going to be a war. We’re both ready, so let’s step in there and do it. I’m ready to leave it all in the ring.
“I respect what Adames can do, but nobody knows just how good I am. This is my chance to announce myself and show everyone what I can do.”
“I’m not looking past Argenis Mendez. He is a former world champion and a very credible fighter. I am only looking forward to this fight and then after that we can talk about my rematch with Mario Barrios.
“My opponent is very experienced. Out of a few options we had, I chose the toughest and strongest guy to face. I believe he is also very exciting and comes forward, so that promises an action-packed fight.
“I think that he is tailor-made for me also. He likes to fight and rumble, which I like. It promises to be a good fight. I’m going to do everything I can and God willing, I am going to win.”
“I am glad to be here. I believe that this fight will be different because my opponent likes to come forward and is an aggressive fighter. That is exactly how I like to fight.
“My opponent is a very strong fighter that will provide us with a very good fight because he will engage with me. I will emerge victorious, but it will be an exciting and interesting fight.
“This is a big opportunity that I plan to take advantage of. I am a warrior and I plan to come out victorious on Saturday and then go after the title that I want.”