Top super welterweight contender Terrell Gausha believes that his WBC Super Welterweight title eliminator showdown against Erickson "Hammer" Lubin gives him an opportunity to solidify his spot in the stacked 154-pound division as they headline live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, September 19 in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
"This fight is a chance to send a message to all the other fighters at 154 pounds," said Gausha. "I want to control every round against Lubin, and if I get him hurt, I'll be looking to get him out of there. I'm planning to show the gap between us as fighters. He was the one to call for this fight, but anyone who plays with my name, I make sure to send for them."
Gausha has trained with coach Manny Robles in Los Angeles, with minimal disruption because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the extra time off has allowed extra healing time for the hand injury that forced him to withdraw from a previously scheduled fight against Lubin last year.
"Before the pandemic, we trained as a team with in-house sparring, but now it's just slightly more restricted," said Gausha. "Now it's usually just me, my coach and then whatever sparring partner we bring in for that day. Normally I'd go to LA Fitness for some night training and treadmill work, but now we're working out in the park and doing my running outside.
"My hand has totally healed," added Gausha. "I'm ready to go full-throttle and I have no problems there anymore. The pandemic actually helped the healing process because I wasn't using my hands as much. So I'm definitely 100% now."
Lubin presents a chance for Gausha to score a signature victory on his road to a second world title fight. While he didn't harbor any frustration in having to pull out of the original fight against Lubin, he made sure to watch his fight against Nathaniel Gallimore closely, noting his September 19 opponent's improvements.
"Since Lubin's loss, I know he switched trainers and I think he's taking more time and fighting smarter now," said Gausha. "I wouldn't say it was disappointing watching Lubin fight Gallimore, but I definitely think things would have gone differently for him if he had been fighting me.
"September 19 is going to be a great test for me. Lubin is a young elite fighter, with his only loss coming against a world champion. Taking care of Lubin is going to show everyone that I'm ready for another title shot."
Gausha bounced back from his only career loss, a decision to then WBA 154-pound champion Erislandy Lara in 2018, by knocking out Joey Hernandez in the first-round of their December 2018 clash. Most recently, Gausha fought to a split-draw against former champion Austin Trout in May 2019. With the experience against veteran southpaws in Lara and Trout, Gausha believes he is primed going into a showdown against another lefty in Lubin.
"I think I'm a lot more poised these days," said Gausha. "In the Trout fight, I pressed the fight in the beginning. I did some different things, and I showed that I can use my footwork. Lara was my first test with an elite southpaw, and then I had Trout in my last fight. So I'm even more prepared for Lubin after those fights. I'm just more relaxed in there and sure of myself."
With the WBC title eliminator, Gausha could put himself in line for the title currently held by Jermell Charlo, which could end up being a fight for three belts against the winner of the September 26 unification showdown between Charlo and WBA and IBF 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario. No matter who emerges from the Charlo vs. Rosario battle, Gausha believes he stacks up well against both of their styles.
"I think the winner of Charlo vs. Rosario would be perfect for me," said Gausha. "I think I'd match up well with either one of them. They both like to stay busy in the ring, and I like my chances against that type of fighter."