LAS VEGAS – Tony Harrison had a ringside seat Saturday night for one of the more brutal boxing matches you could witness in person.
The former WBC super welterweight champion came away from it more impressed with Erickson Lubin than ever. He still wondered whether Lubin should continue his career after absorbing that type of damage to his face during a technical-knockout loss to Sebastian Fundora in their fantastic fight for the WBC interim super welterweight championship.
Lubin, 26, suffered a broken nose and a separated right shoulder that’ll require surgery. The swelling between and around his eyes made the unbelievably brave southpaw unrecognizable to Harrison and most everyone else who watched starting in the sixth round.
“Man, listen to me – after this fight, if I’m Lubin, I’m thinking about retiring,” Harrison told BoxingScene.com. “You know what I mean? That’s a tough fight. That’s a tough out. You don’t even recognize him, for real. You know what I’m saying? He gonna be sore in the morning, and ain’t nobody gonna sit with that man but his team. This sport don’t give a f*** about you.”
Lubin and Fundora showed huge hearts in an undeniable “Fight of the Year” candidate that ended when Kevin Cunningham, Lubin’s trainer, instructed referee Russell Mora Jr. to halt the sustained action after the ninth round at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. By then, Lubin and Fundora had recovered from knockdowns toward the end of the second and seventh rounds, respectively, and hammered away at one another for most of their fan-friendly fight.
“Super hell of a fight, man,” Harrison said. “It just lets you know boxing is the toughest sport in the world.”
Detroit’s Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) produced his own impressive performance in Showtime’s co-feature Saturday night. The 31-year-old ex-champion picked apart Spanish contender Sergio Garcia (33-2, 14 KOs) on his way to easily winning a 12-round unanimous decision by wide margins on all three scorecards (100-90, 100-90, 98-92).
As pleased as Harrison was to thrust himself back into position for another meaningful fight, he greatly respected the fact that Lubin (24-2, 17 KOs) and Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) delivered the type of spectacular savagery boxing fans will never forget.
“Lubin showed so much grit to me tonight, man, he showed so much dog,” Harrison said. “And I really haven’t been seeing that from him. To push forward the way he was pushing forward after being knocked down, I salute that man. I salute him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.