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Erickson Lubin vs. Ishe Smith on Feb.9 LIVE on SHOWTIME

Abner Mares Ishe Smith

By Jim Dower: Former junior middleweight world title challenger Erickson ‘The Hammer’ Lubin (19-1, 14 KOs) will be facing 40-year-old former IBF 154 pound champion Ishe Smith (29-10, 12 KOs) in a 10 round scheduled fight on the undercard of Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis vs. Abner Mares on February 9 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Davis-Mares and Lubin vs. Smith will be televised on Premier Boxing Champions LIVE on SHOWTIME.

Based on the ages of the two fighters, one would assume that the 23-year-old Lubin will have too much for the 40-year-old Smith. That may not be the case though. Lubin is still very raw at this point in his career, and lacking in the experience that Smith has going for him. Perhaps more importantly, Lubin doesn’t possess blazing hand speed and superior technical boxing skills. He’s a good fighter, but not unbeatable. Smith has a real chance in this fight if he can get to Lubin’s chin like Jermall Charlo did. Lubin made a big mistake in his fight with Charlo by dipping his head low in front of him. Charlo took advantage of that by hitting him with a chopping right hand to knock him out.

Lubin, 23, is making his second fight since losing to former World Boxing Council light middleweight champion Jermell Charlo by a 1st round knockout last year on October 14, 2017. Moments into the fight, Lubin took a big right hand on the top of the head from Charlo that put him down. Lubin was concussed by the shot, and unable to get back up no matter how hard he tried. Lubin bounced back from that loss to defeat journeyman Silverio Ortiz (37-23, 18 KOs) by a 4th round knockout last April. Lubin has been out of the ring ever since. By the time Lubin does face Smith, he’ll been inactive for 10 months. That’s obviously not the kid of activity that you’d like to see from a young contender like Lubin, but that’s his current situation.

Smith comes into his fight with with Lubin with a 2-fight losing streak. Smith was beaten by Tony Harrison by a close 10 round split decision on May 11. Considering that Harrison defeated Jermell Charlo by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night to win the WBC junior middleweight title, it’s not looking so bad now that Ishe was beaten by Tony earlier this year. Before that, Smith lost to the highly rated former 154 pound world title challenger Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams by a 10 round unanimous decision last year in November. Despite being an older fighter at 40, Smith still has a lot in the tank. He’s not an over-the-hill fighter by any stretch of the imagination.

Lubin possesses the punching power to knockout Smith if he get to his chin often enough. Smith has been in with big punchers in the past like Harrison, Julian Williams, Vanes Martirosyan, Erislandy Lara, Cornelius Bundrage, Daniel Jacobs, Joel Julio, and Randall Bailey. None of those guys were able to knock Smith out. Lubin doesn’t punch as hard as many of those fighters, but if he can score a knockout of Smith on February 9, it would be a big accomplishment. It would show that he’s got the ind of talent to defeat a still very good fighter.

A loss for Lubin in this fight would be a major blow to his career. It’s one thing losing to an explosive young fighter like Jermell Charlo, and a much different thing in getting beaten by an older guy like 40-year-old Ishe Smith. It won’t be the end of Lubin’s career if he loses to Smith, but it’ll be a clear signal that drastic changes would need to be made for him to turn things around. Lubin might need to consider getting a new trainer, because if he can’t beat an older fringe level fighter like Smith, he’s not going anywhere at 154.

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