By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Erickson Lubin emphatically introduced himself Saturday night to the largest television audience that has seen him fight.
The powerful southpaw – a highly touted, 21-year-old contender – recorded a one-punch, fourth-round technical knockout win against Jorge Cota at Barclays Center. Lubin landed a crushing left hand that floored Cota in the fourth round.
Mexico’s Cota reached his feet, but was hurt bad enough that referee Earl Brown waved an end to their scheduled 12-round, WBC junior middleweight elimination match at 1:25 of the fourth round. Lubin’s win against Cota opened a CBS broadcast in prime time that featured a welterweight championship unification fight between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia in the main event.
“I baited him with the jab,” Lubin said. “I knew he was going to come with the big shots early. I put a few tricks on him. I landed that overhand right and it was night-night. I put my hands down to bait him in, I did a squat and then it was night-night. I was ready to follow up with a right but he was already out.”
Following an uneventful first round in which neither fighter did much, Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) and Cota (25-2, 22 KOs) began firing power punches from close distances in the second round.
Lubin landed a left hand that hurt Cota just before the midway mark of the third round. An aggressive Lubin tried to hurt Cota more, but Cota came back to throw hard punches of his own and waved Lubin forward.
By the time the third round ended, Cota seemed to have his legs under him again.
Cota fought the first three rounds almost exclusively from a southpaw stance, which he hoped would confuse the left-handed Lubin. When the fourth round started, Cota switched back to his usual orthodox stance and paid a steep price soon thereafter.
The knockout defeat was the second of Cota’s career. Before losing Saturday night, Cota had won nine straight fights since fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio (59-8-1, 51 KOs) stopped him in the seventh round of their June 2012 fight in Torreon, Mexico.
Lubin, of Orlando, Florida, is expected to become the mandatory challenger for the WBC super welterweight championship after defeating Cota. Houston’s Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of that 154-pound championship sometime this spring against Dallas’ Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.