PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 4, 2012) – There’s a time and a place for everything in a boxer’s life, including the time to sit back and reflect on recent accomplishments.
“Hammerin’” Hank Lundy, who vaulted to No. 2 among lightweights in this month’s World Boxing Council (WBC) rankings after dominating Dannie Williams this past Friday, will let the world know when he feels he’s done something significant.
Until then, it’s back in the gym mastering the craft that’s brought him to the brink of stardom.
“I appreciate being No. 2, but I’m not satisfied,” said Lundy, who defended his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) title with Friday’s win and improved to 22-1-1. “I’ll be satisfied when I win that world title. Then we can talk.
“Right now, I ain’t done nothing yet.”
Lundy would rather let his peers do the talking, and, after Friday’s scintillating victory on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” – arguably his most complete performance to date – there’s plenty to discuss regarding Lundy’s chances of winning a world title in the competitive lightweight division.
At No. 2 in the world, he’s on the brink of a major title shot, just one spot ahead of Mexico’s Sergio Thompson (22-2, 20 KOs), who upset Jorge Linares – the former No. 2 lightweight in the world – via second-round knockout Saturday night in a WBC world title eliminator. Linares, who lost to current WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco in October for the then-vacant title, dropped to fifth in the rankings while Thompson, a former super featherweight, jumped to No. 1, though it’s still uncertain whether or not Thompson will get a mandatory shot at DeMarco’s title, so Lundy is still holding out hope that he’ll get the call if and when DeMarco is ready to fight.
“He’s tailor-made for me,” Lundy said of DeMarco, who is scheduled to defend his belt against an opponent to be determined on July 7 in California.
“I need that fight. I want that fight. He stands right in front of you and makes a lot of mistakes. I’m not going to run my mouth, but that’s the fight I want.”
On paper, it appeared Linares would take care of business against Thompson and face DeMarco in a highly-anticipated rematch for the world title in July, but Thompson’s upset victory Saturday in Mexico added an unexpected wrinkle to the championship picture. Though Thompson is the official No. 1 contender in the WBC, Lundy has faced tougher competition in recent years; the record of Lundy’s last seven opponents is a remarkable 140-10-3, which includes wins over former WBC world champion David Diaz and current World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champion Richard Abril.
Thompson, who entered April ranked No. 16 in the world among super featherweights, hadn’t fought above 130 pounds since June, and among those three bouts, only one came against an opponent with a winning record.
The years of hard work appear to have finally paid off for Lundy, who is now arguably the most logical, legitimate challenger for DeMarco’s world title.
“Everybody’s talking about all these other guys fighting for the title, but I should be fighting for it. I’m next in line. I’ve put in more work than anybody.
“Right now, I’m No. 2 in the world. They should make these champions start fighting the top contenders, or else strip them of their titles. I’ve never run from any fighter. I think the champs should do the same. Fight me!
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be an ass-whooping.”
Given DeMarco’s record (27-2-1, 20 KOs) and recent success in the lightweight division, Lundy would probably be the underdog if the two were to face one another for the title. No problem, says Lundy – he’s used to it by now.
“I was supposed to lose and get knocked out by Williams, too,” Lundy said. “Like I keep telling people, my will and determination to win always shows through. Even after getting knocked down [in the first round] I bounced right back up.
“The world should know by now not to go against me. Every time you put me in there against these guys I’m supposed to lose to, I end up winning the fight.”
Lundy suffered a flash knockdown against Williams in the opening round when his opponent hit him on the side of the temple with a hard right hand – Williams’ signature blow. Lundy’s glove touched the ground momentarily; he bounced right back up and went on to dominate the final nine rounds in a decisive, 97-92, 97-92, 98-91 win. The key was Lundy’s ability to soften the body and keep Williams at bay with his jab, which Williams couldn’t defend.
“At the end of the day, I’m a fighter,” Lundy said. “My corner tells me what to do, but sometimes you have to adjust. My main thing was to go to the body, which I did, but once he got in front of me, I noticed he couldn’t handle the jab.
“That’s what great fighters do. When you’re a great fighter, you learn to do certain things. I broke him down. The knockdown? He hit me on the temple. If anyone gets hit on the temple, they’ll get knocked down, but my knee never touched the ground. It was a flash knockdown – that’s it. I did what I had to do.”
Whether or not the current champions hold up their end of the bargain remains to be seen. For now, Lundy is back in the gym in his hometown of Philadelphia improving each day while waiting for the opportunity of a lifetime.
“This is my career,” he said. “Most fighters take six or seven months off after a fight. I stay in the gym 24/7 working on my craft. Most of these guys want to step up to the plate and face me. Go ahead. I’m always in the gym working.”
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV