Sebastian Fundora and Erickson Lubin put on a fantastic show in Las Vegas, trading brutal punches and thrilling knockdowns in a phenomenally entertaining action fight that ended with Fundora victorious after nine rounds from a courageous and appropriate corner stoppage by Team Lubin.
Lubin (24-2, 17 KO) was the gambler’s favorite and a unanimous choice in our staff picks. He started the fight well, jabbing hard to Fundora’s chest and maintaining separation. But things changed dramatically in the second round, as Lubin’s willingness to exchange in the pocket played out to Fundora’s advantage with a thumping knockdown from an uppercut.
Lubin never seemed fully composed again. He had good success from the middle distance whenever he could maintain it. But Lubin instead kept fighting forehead-to-collarbone with Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KO), and that approach worked to Fundora’s great advantage.
Fundora handled the power of Lubin much better than Lubin took Fundora’s punches, and the fight seemed to be headed towards a decisive and early Fundora victory. Lubin couldn’t or wouldn’t adjust, ignoring his corner’s demands and choosing to go with the unorthodox “double Zoolander,” refusing to turn in either direction as Fundora pressured him and tenderized his face with uppercuts.
Just when things seemed to be coming to a conclusion, we saw a huge momentum swing in round seven. Fundora dominated most of the round, bloodying Lubin and swelling up his face badly. But Lubin rallied late, stunning and dropping Fundora in the last 30 seconds to swing a likely Fundora round over 10-8 his way instead.
Fundora recovered quickly, taking the eight and ninth round on my card. The noticeable dropoff in Lubin’s energy was matched by the dramatic inflation of his face, and it appeared that Lubin would have to rally once again to change the momentum in the final three rounds. Instead, Lubin’s corner chose to stop the fight and protect him from further damage.
Lubin’s trainer Kevin Cunningham waved things off after the ninth round before Lubin could even sit down. In our live coverage, I said that Lubin’s face looked like he had a peanut allergy, and Fundora’s gloves were loaded with Skippy. Another commenter said it looked like Lubin had been in a headbutting contest with a Ford F150 truck. Tremendous respect to the man for fighting through it, but even more respect to Lubin’s corner for making the right decision without waiting for any objection from their fighter.
Fundora will tune in to Charlo-Castano 2 next month with great interest, having put himself in prime position to challenge the winner for all four belts in the division. His performance tonight should silence any lingering doubts about his ceiling at 154 pounds.
Lubin takes a step back, but he led on all three cards at the time of the stoppage. Showtime’s Steve Farhood had Lubin ahead as well. It’s a heartbreaking (and face-breaking) loss, but a very respectable performance. We’ve already seen Lubin bounce back from defeat once, and hopefully he’ll regroup and start climbing the ladder again.
Tony Harrison UD-10 Sergio Garcia
The co-main event featured a brilliant performance from Tony Harrison. Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KO) put on a counterpunching clinic, slipping and stifling charges from Sergio Garcia while landing snapping jabs and sharp counters in return.
There’s no drop in the stock of Garcia (33-2, 14 KO), as he never stopped trying to force the action and turn the fight around. The final scorecards, though legitimate, didn’t accurately reflect his overall performance tonight. But, that’s how round by round scoring works.
Harrison looked phenomenal and fresh all the way to the final bell to earn his first victory since a December 2018 unanimous decision over Jermell Charlo. I gave Garcia the last round for a gentleman’s sweep and a 99-91 Harrison victory. Two of the official judges had it clean for Harrison, with the third a 98-92 Harrison card.
Harrison gave a hilarious post fight interview, where he praised his own tactical success with the quote: “Muscle is the way of the street, but skill pays the bills,” and laid out a four step plan for what comes next.
- Step 1: Custody fight to see his kids for the first time in 6 months
- Step 2: Raise money for his charity to help at-risk kids
- Step 3: Take a vacation (and make more kids)
- Step 4: “Detroit, baby. We got this bitch again.”
Kevin Salgado D-10 Bryant Perrella
The opener was a potential turning point for both Kevin Salgado, facing a big step up in opposition, and Bryant Perrella, looking for his first win since July of 2019.
In the end, neither man got what they wanted and everyone had to settle for a split draw. Salgado (14-0-1, 9 KO) started well, but the experienced Perrella (17-3-2, 14 KO) controlled the range and spent much of the fight jabbing at a distance that neutralized Salgado’s offense.
Much of that Perrella ring generalship was off the back foot. But he stunned Salgado a bit by an uppercut in the 5th round, and Perrella got enough juice from the punch to shift into a forward gear for a while.
Salgado won rounds when he was working off the front foot. Perrella controlled rounds when he kept Salgado at arm’s length or forced him to move backwards. On my card, it was enough for a 96-94 Perrella victory. The judges saw it a variety of different ways, delivering a split draw on 97-93 Perrella, 96-94 Salgado, and 95-95 scorecards.
It’s the second consecutive split draw for Perrella after a 12 rounder against Tony Harrision a year ago. His trainer, Roy Jones Jr, responded to the official decision by repeatedly asking: “How? How? How? How?”