VERONA, N.Y. (Jan. 15th, 2015) — Here he is again, on the road facing an opponent with a huge record on short notice in front of a worldwide television audience with perhaps his entire career on the line.
What might unnerve most fighters translates to another day in the office for CES Boxing's “Hammerin'” Hank Lundy.
Ranked No. 4 among lightweights in the World Boxing Council (WBC), Lundy (25-4-1, 12 KOs) will step back into the ring Friday night at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in the 10-round co-feature of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights against hard-hitting Russian Petr Petrov (35-4-2, 17 KOs).
Less than five weeks after his loss to Thomas Dulorme on HBO in a 140-pound bout in Brooklyn, the Philadelphia slugger is again putting it all on the line, agreeing to face the dangerous Petrov on just nine day's notice. No tune-up. No walk in the park. Just another highly anticipated ring war that could Lundy back in the conversation for a long-overdue shot at a world title in the 135-pound division.
“They think they're catching me off guard,” Lundy said. “I just fought December 6th on HBO and put on one hell of a performance. I'm looking forward to coming back to ESPN and doing the same thing.”
Friday's card, promoted by Artie Pelullo's Banner Promotions, features a 10-round middleweight bout between Willie Monroe Jr. and Brian Vera. Given his flair for the dramatic and ability to rise to the occasion under the bright lights of network television, Lundy could steal the show against the powerful, but untested, Petrov. Friday will be just his third fight on U.S. soil with Lundy representing his most challenging opponent since Petrov fought Marcos Maidana in 2011 for the 140-pound world title.
“Petrov likes to fight on the inside,” Lundy said. “He likes to come forward and throw a lot of uppercuts and right hands. I'm going to display to the whole world once again that 'Hammerin'' Hank is right here and ready for a world title shot. After we clean this guy up, we can't denied.”
Lundy's been in this position before, once traveling to Montreal on short notice to fight on the televised portion of another FNF broadcast, where he dominated Omri Lowther in front of Lowther's hometown fans. On Friday, he'll be back in his comfort zone fighting at 135 pounds, where he's had his most success as a professional.
The loss to Dulorme was a lesson of sorts for Lundy, who picked himself up off the canvas in the opening round and shook off a slow start to turn it into a competitive fight, so close, in fact, that one judge awarded the decision to Lundy. Dulorme escaped with a 97-92, 93-96, 96-93 split decision win, but Lundy won over many new fans with his gritty performance.
“What I learned is to stick to your game plan,” he said, “and know your true definition of you.
“Everyone knows I'm a boxer-puncher, but in that fight I went into stalking mode and went in for the kill. Never abandon what gets you to the top. That's what I did wrong in that fight. Everything I did to get to ESPN, Showtime and HBO, I abandoned in that fight. I'm a fast guy, but I got away from that a bit.”
Leaving the gym or taking time off following the loss to Dulorme was never an option, hence why Lundy was ready when he got the call to challenge Petrov on Friday night. Opportunity is knocking again for one of boxing's most colorful fighters and this time Lundy is primed to answer the bell.
“After that fight in December, I left with no bruises. I wish I could say the same for my opponent. I think he left with a broken jaw,” Lundy said. “At the end of the day it's back to the drawing board. I shook the rust off and got right back in the gym and continued training. This is my job. I learned from Bernard Hopkins to stay on your job and stay on your craft.”