Erickson Lubin shocked Jesus Ramos (Photograph by Esther Lin/Showtime).
Erickson Lubin heard the boos. He had to. They were a little hard to ignore for the 27-year-old. It is boxing. It happens. What the masses see may not always match what ringside judges see.
Somehow, someway, Lubin was awarded a unanimous 12-round decision Saturday night in handing budding 22-year-old rising star Jesus Ramos the first loss of his career in the co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez-Jermall Charlo undercard from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Judge Patricia Morse Jarman (Nev.) had it, somehow, 117-111, for Lubin, judge John McKaie (N.Y.) had closer, 116-112, and judge Chris Migliore (Nev.) had it 115-113 in a controversial junior middleweight bout.
Unofficial Showtime judge, Hall of Famer Steve Farhood, had it 116-112 for Ramos, which is the same score The Ring had the battle of Ring top-10 southpaws who were seemingly going in opposite directions.
“I’m happy about the victory,” Lubin said. It’s ‘Boxing 101’, I was hitting and not getting hit. ‘Mono’ is a very strong kid. I tip my hat to him. He’s a very talented young kid but I was just tired of them calling me a gatekeeper. I’m one of the top dogs in this division. I deserve all the top fights. I don’t want the youngin’s coming up, I want the belts.
“I just stuck to the game plan. Every time I came back to the corner, Kevin Cunningham was telling me to stick to my guns, stay boxing and use my jab. My jab couldn’t miss. We came away with the victory.
“I was controlling the fight. I fought at my pace. I didn’t let him do too much and I won the fight. I want the world title. Like I said before, I’m tired of people calling me a gatekeeper. I ain’t no gatekeeper in this division. I just beat a young kid that’s 20-0, he’s a great young fighter, but ya’ll gotta stop calling me a gatekeeper. I’m one of the top dogs in this division.”
Entering the fight, Ramos (20-1, 16 KOs) was ranked The Ring’s No. 7 ranked 154-pounder, while Lubin (26-2, 18 KOs) was ranked No. 5.
The victory was a huge boost for Lubin’s career. He was in danger of losing for the second time in three fights and watching any relevance he had turn into mist.
It is certainly the way it looked through the first six rounds.
According to CompuBox, Ramos connected on 145 of 499, 29% in total punches compared to 92 of 532, 17% for Lubin. Ramos’ body attack was particularly effective, landing 78 to Lubin’s 25.
Ramos’ connect rate over the last five rounds, according to CompuBox, read like this: 14/47 (29.8%), 13/38 (34.2%). 6/34 (17.6%), 18/41 (43.9%), 11/46 (23.9%) and 9/41 (22%), in comparison to Lubin’s connect rates of 11/46 (23.9%), 5/39 (12.8%), 11/43 (25.6%), 15/54 (27.8%), 3/32 (9.4%) and 13/46 (28.3%).
“I felt like I did a little more than him, but that’s alright, Ramos said. “Congratulations to Erickson Lubin. He was sharp. He had a good game plan. Congratulations to him, it’s back to the drawing board. We’ll come back.
“I felt like I was just trying to show different dimensions to my game and not just come forward. It is what it is. I’ll take this loss, come back and learn from it. I learned not to let it go to the judges. Maybe I don’t put it on cruise control next time. A little more pressure. I’ll learn from this. It was a good experience.”
With 1:06 left in the first, Ramos tapped Lubin (25-3, 18 KOs) with a light right on the cheek, but otherwise, neither fighter landed anything of significance in the first round. After the feeling-out round, Ramos began the second round as the stalker, with his wide stance, inching ever closer to Lubin. By the middle of the round, Ramos had found his range. He chopped at Lubin with 1:12 with a combination to the midsection and kept working downstairs the remainder of the round.
He ended the round digging shots to Lubin’s obliques to finish the second.
Lubin started the third more aggressive than the previous two rounds, though he could not deter Ramos from working the body. In the latter portion of the third, it was Ramos once again coming forward and nailing Lubin to the body, especially with a three-punch flurry with :15 left in the round.
In the opening minute of the fourth, Ramos poked through Lubin’s high guard with annoying jabs to the face, but Lubin did fire back with a quick combination to the body.
By the fifth, it seemed Ramos was in firm control. Lubin was trying to get by with sporadic activity, while Ramos kept constant pressure on the 27-year-old fighter. In the last 20 seconds of the fifth, Ramos had Lubin once again pinned against the ropes, firing away as Lubin tried to defend himself.
Sensing he was falling behind, Lubin began the sixth more aggressive, but about 45 seconds later, Ramos had Lubin retreating on his left foot.
As in the earlier rounds, Ramos’ pressure backed Lubin into the ropes in the seventh and eight rounds. Neither fighter was effectively pronounced, though Lubin could have had the edge in those rounds.
As the 10th round began, however, it seemed Lubin needed a knockout to win. Until then, he could not even uphold any sustained pressure on Ramos.
Ramos may have slowed after the sixth, and his face was getting marked up, he was still walking down Lubin, placing him in uncomfortable places against the ropes, making him doubt himself each time he pulled the trigger.
As the final round unfolded, it did not appear Lubin was fighting with any urgency, possibly believing he was closer on the scorecards than he was. Lubin finished strong, though not strong enough to put Ramos in trouble.
Little did anyone realize what the scorecards would read.
“We went in there to feel him out and box him and beat him to the punch with counters because of his strength,” Lubin said. “It was working all night. I was sticking and moving. It was ‘Boxing 101’.
“My jab was landing all night. He had all his success when I was on the ropes. My coach was telling me to stay off the ropes, so I was trying my best to do that. He didn’t show it too much, but I buzzed him a few times.”
“This shows that I’m no gatekeeper. I’m one of the top dogs in the division. I need a title shot. If those belts present themself at 154 pounds, I’d like to fight for those belts.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.