The story was fairly typical: top-flight, highly skilled, undefeated champion, now in his prime, taking on a brash young upstart who rose through the boxing ranks relatively quickly, and believed whole-heartedly that Saturday night in the Barclays Center would be his moment.
Jermell Charlo, 27, and 22-year-old Erickson Lubin fit the bill perfectly. For Lubin, known as “The Hammer,” it was designed to be his coming-out party. Just ask his team.
Actually, you didn’t have to.
Walking into Wednesday’s media workout in the legendary Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO, Lubin noticeably had the biggest and most vocal entourage of all the fighters who attended that day, which included Erislandy Lara, Terrell Gausha, Jarrett Hurd and Austin Trout, who rounded out Saturday’s triple-header of three world title fights at the 154-pound division.
Charlo was still present, but neglected to pay any mind.
While Lubin went through his media workout, his crew kept up the hype: “They say he’s just a kid from Orlando!” a few members kept repeating, harping on Lubin’s roots from the Sunshine State. “They say he doesn’t have a chance. They say he’s too young!”
Muhammad Ali would’ve been proud.
The next day, the final fight night press conference was held at the Highline Ballroom on West 16th Street in Manhattan. It was more of the same: Lubin had a large crowd, Charlo not as much.
Lubin took the podium and said, “come Saturday night, you will be hearing ‘and the new,' I promise you that.” His team responded in unison shouting, “and the new” or “Hammer time!”
Charlo was next, and with a stern, fight-ready mug, reminded everyone “we’ve been here before” a few times and acknowledged that Lubin had “a lot of hype men.” Team Lubin took exception.
During the presser, both crews had to be separated and calmed by promoter Lou DiBella and others, the result of constant bickering and badgering while Lubin, and later, Charlo, took the stage.
At one point, a woman with a baby seated by Team Lubin voiced her opinion during an argument, to which a member of Team Charlo retorted with “shut yo’ a** up when grown men are talkin’.”
Emotions were high and the trash talking resumed during the mandatory press conference-closing stare down between opponents.
At Friday’s weigh-in, the energy grew more rambunctious as Charlo and Lubin were face to face. It was a battle of verbal machismo that only the Sweet Science could deliver, and they had to be divided by DiBella again.
After weigh-in, Charlo sported a shirt that read “Keep Running Ya Mouth” as he spoke to Showtime’s Jim Gray. It was clear that we were ready for Saturday.
At last, it was fight night. Finally, the theatrics were finished and the fight began.
And two minutes and 31 seconds after the opening bell, Charlo rocked an unsuspecting Lubin with a short but thumping right hook. Lubin, who leaned forward prior, caught the shot on side of his face, and humped the canvas for the first time in his young career.
His left leg quivering, his left arm trembling, and his corner panicking. First round knockout.
The fight was over, but the night was not.
Seconds later a member of Lubin’s team hurled a chair in the direction of Charlo’s team and raced out of the building, chased by multiple security guards.
Team Charlo was incensed, and Jermell, visibly fuming, incoherently voiced his displeasure while speaking to Gray in his post-fight interview moments after celebrating the win.
It is unknown what became of the two sides after the fact, but backstage and outside the arena, the strong police presence was notable.
Hurd’s stoppage over Trout beforehand might’ve stolen the show. Lara’s wide victory over Gausha served as an anticlimactic finish. But the feud between Charlo, now 30-0 with 15 KOs, and Lubin (18-1, 13 KO’s), was as beautiful as it was ugly.
Thankfully, it stopped there, and Charlo lent voice to his intentions to unify titles afterward.
"The other champions want to fight me and I'll take any of them," he said confidently. "Give me another title. I want Hurd, give me Hurd."
• Erislandy Lara def. Terrell Gausha by 12th round unanimous decision decision (WBA Super & IBO World Super Welterweight titles)
• Jermell Charlo def. Erickson Lubin by 1st round KO (WBC World Super Welterweight title)
• Jarrett Hurd def. Austin Trout by 10th round TKO (IBF World Super Welterweight title)
• Tony Harrison def. Paul Valenzuela by 8th round unanimous decision
• Cindy Serrano def. Edina Kiss by 8th round split decision
• Chordale Booker def. Malcolm McAllister by 8th round unanimous decision
• George Arias def. Mario Heredia by 5th round TKO
• Julian Sosa def. Erick Daniel Martinez by 4th round unanimous decision
• Richardson Hitchins def. Jordan Morales by 4th round unanimous decision