By Jake Donovan
The upcoming welterweight fight between Joan Guzman and Simeon Hardy now has a home, as well as an undercard slot featuring a notable pro debut.
Iron Mike Productions will host the November 15 show at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Featured on the card will also be the pro debut of highly touted amateur Erickson Lubin, who signed with the Florida-based company earlier this month.
An opponent has yet to be named for Lubin, but IMP plans to fast track the just-turned 18-year old prospect right out the gate.
“We understand that the debut of a fighter like Erickson has made a big impact in the media,” notes Henry Rivalta, whose ‘Rivalta Management’ company handles Lubin’s career. “Therefore, we are looking for a quality opponent (to challenge him).”
Lubin–who is from Kissimmee but now trains with John David Jackson out of Tyson’s gym in Deerfield Beach with several other IMP fighters–was viewed by many as the United States’ best chance at a Gold medal for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, with those games three years away, the rangy welterweight instead opted to turn pro, signing with IMP on October 1, his 18th birthday.
The move left a bitter taste in the mouths of those who run USA Boxing, the beleaguered amateur program desperate to retain promising amateur talent after watching the past two Olympic classes miserably fail during the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games. The organization sought publicity from Lubin’s signing by taking a swipe at Tyson, claiming the former heavyweight king was crippling its program by snatching its best talent rather than investing into its program.
Such claim fell on deaf ears, as Lubin and his new team eye a potentially brilliant future. The first step is now in place with the announced date for his pro debut.
“[T]his guy is destined to become a superstar in this sport,” Rivalta insists before setting the bar exceedingly high. “Some time ago, Adrien Broner said he was ready to take the flame over when Floyd Mayweather Jr. decides to retire. However, I believe that when the boxing world observes Erickson Lubin talent, they will know know that if there is a relay for Floyd (to grab the torch), that replacement is in Florida defending the Iron Mike Productions banner.”
Lubin’s pro debut comes in supporting capacity to a main event between inactive participants.
Hardy hasn’t fought since a pair of decision wins over Howard Eastman last year. Guzman fights for the first time since last November’s technical decision loss to Khabib Allakhverdiev in their vacant title fight, the first major title fight promoted by Acquinity Sports, which has since joined forces with Tyson to form Iron Mike Productions.
Guzman was scheduled to return in June, but missed weight by more than a full division, thus canceling his planned interim title fight with Vicente Mosquera. His latest shot at redemption comes with additional incentive; the bout with Hardy is part of the WBC’s 50th Anniversary Boxing World Cup tourmament.
The winner of the Nov. 15 showdown will face Canada’s Antonin Decarie early next year in the welterweight quarterfinals. The eventual tournament winner will earn a future world title shot at the belt presently owned by reigning pound-for-pound and box-office king Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox