Kevin Cunningham on Erickson Lubin: The 154-pound Division Is In Trouble

By G. Leon


Greg Leon: Congrats on Erickson Lubin's third-round stoppage of Ishe Smith. Can you give us some thoughts on his performance? Kevin Cunningham: "I thought he put on a spectacular performance like I knew he would. I couldn't ask for more. He did what no other guy before him has done and that's stop Ishe Smith, who is a crafty veteran and a former world champion who really knows his way around the ring. He knows how to survive and Hammer went out and showed people that he's a force to be reckoned with in the 154-pound division."
GL: Could you have drawn it up any better?
Kevin Cunningham: "Not really. I expected this outcome, but I expected it to happen in the later rounds."
GL: Did you think you Ishe was going to have better punch resistance? Why did you think it was going to take accumulated punishment to get him out of there?
KC: "Because Ishe knows all of the tricks of the trade and he knows how to survive. People don't realize though that Hammer has power in both hands, and we spent a lot of time working on his balance, range and distance. I think he showed Ishe early on that he could also box and control range and distance, but when he touched him with that power, it was real. His power is real and I think Hammer showed that he wasn't so easy to touch and he's able to drop that power off of his boxing. That's what made it possible to touch Ishe with something heavy early."
GL: When can we expect him back in the ring? Are there any early indications?
KC: "I don't know just yet, but I'd like to have him back in the ring by May. Hopefully Al (Haymon) could make that happen so he doesn't have too big of a gap between camps and things of that nature."
GL: Do you think he's ready for a world title shot now?
KC: "I think he's ready for a title shot, but that's not what I want for him next. I think we're buiding our chemistry and I'd like to have another camp for us to work together, because there's some things that we're working on. Our chemistry is really gelling well and I think after another camp everyone in the 154 pound division is in serious trouble. I'd like another fight and then it's whoever."
GL: Who do you favor in the Jarrett Hurd-Julian Williams bout?
KC: "That's going to be a good fight, but if I had to lean either way it would be towards the champ. J-Rock is a helluva fighter, so I think that's going to be a great fight."
GL: What about the potential rematch with Harrison and Charlo?
KC: "I think Harrison showed a lot of boxing skills and technique, and that's exactly what gives both Charlo brothers problems, so it could be really interesting."
GL: Do you see Erickson avenging that loss to Jermell Charlo?
KC: "Definitely! We got to run that back so we could straighten that out. In due time he's going to get it!"
GL: Closing thoughts for the fans.
KC: "I just want to let the fans know this was just the beginning of what you can expect to see from Hammer. Stay tuned there's going to be much more to come."

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