Erickson Lubin has heard enough of what Tony Harrison’s had to say—as well as what he hasn’t said.
With the top level of the junior middleweight division having become something a revolving door these days, Lubin believes his time has come for a second chance at a lasting impression. The blue-chip talent has won four straight since a stunning 1st round knockout at the hands of Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17KOs), an October 2017 World Boxing Council (WBC) title fight loss he’d love to avenge.
A 4th round knockout of Zakaria Attou last June repositioned the 24-year old from Orlando, Florida—who now lives and trains in West Palm Beach—at the top of the WBC 154-pound rankings. His position was further solidified following a 10-round win over Nathaniel Gallimore last October. The hope was to face the winner of the December 2019 rematch between Harrison and Charlo, with the latter claiming an 11th round knockout to regain the title he’d lost via disputed 12-round decision one year prior.
Instead, he’s now willing to face the loser from that event in hopes of turning it into a makeshift eliminator.
“I feel like I’m ready [for a title shot], but my team will know best,” Lubin (22-1, 16KOs) insisted during the most recent edition of Timeout With Ray Flores on Premier Boxing Champions’ (PBC) Instagram Live channel. “If they feel like I need a tune-up fight or… not even a tune-up fight but a number-one contender matchup. Someone like J-Rock, someone like Tony Harrison.
“I want Tony Harrison. I’m gonna keep saying it.”
The Detroit native has been on Lubin’s mind for quite some time, though more so in recent weeks. With the sport as a whole virtually shut down in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, athletes have been forced to do far more talking than fighting these days. Recent interviews conducted by Harrison suggest that Lubin isn’t quite on his radar these days, a puzzling comment considering their current placement among the sanctioning body rankings.
“I want Tony Harrison. Rest in peace to his father. I don’t want to kick nobody while they’re down,” notes Lubin, sensitive to Harrison’s father, Ali Salaam having passed away on April 21 at age 59 due to COVID-19 related complications. “I feel like some comment he made on who he wants to fight - they actually mentioned my name to him. He said something like a fighter like myself won’t get him up. Basically, a he won’t get up for a fighter like me. It won’t be the same hunger, like I’m nobody in the division.
He’s saying he want… I watched these interviews and see what they got to say. I just don’t like the comments that he made about wanting to fight the best of the best. It don’t get no better than me. Especially after coming off the loss to Charlo, him being #3 in the WBC and I’m #1 in the WBC.”
Harrison (28-3, 21KOs) hasn’t fought since his aforementioned loss to Charlo, having been out of the ring since outpointing the Houston native 12 months prior to claim the WBC 154-pound title. While it can be understood if he wanted to save his talents for the division’s absolute elite, the names mentioned by the 29-year old former champ made little sense to Lubin—who would love nothing more than to bring closure to this discussion.
“He’s saying he wants the top of the top fights. He wanted to fight Jorge Cota he wanted to fight Terrell Gausha,” points out Lubin. “I found it a little bit disrespectful. He’s got 24 hours to answer me. I want to know that that was about.
“We gotta talk. Tony Harrison, you got 24 hours. Let’s talk.”
With any luck, they can fight from there once the sport is ready to resume at full strength.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox