Brimming with confidence during this week’s press conference at Madison Square Garden, Hank Lundy made it abundantly clear he’s more than just a backup plan for his upcoming opponent, Terence Crawford, boldly predicting the coronation of a new 140-pound king on Feb. 27th.
While the mainstream media has painted Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs) as the second or third choice among the Crawford camp for their fighter’s first title defense of 2016 (contenders Mauricio Herrera, Viktor Postol, etc., reportedly turned down the fight), Lundy promises to steal the show when the two square off for Crawford’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) Junior Welterweight Title in the main event of HBO’s World Championship Boxing doubleheader at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, promoted by Top Rank and CES Boxing.
“I guarantee fight night I’m going to break you. I’m going to break your will,” said Lundy during an animated, sometimes heated, exchange Tuesday with Crawford, who mostly chuckled during Lundy’s delivery. “I already got you out of your comfort zone.
“I want you to get this in your head. You can be funny all you want. I’m going to beat your ass. It’s going to be bad.”
Though he’s the clear underdog on paper against the undefeated Crawford, Lundy expects to have “homefield advantage” on Feb. 27th considering he grew up in Philadelphia, less than 100 miles from New York City.
“Philly, Jersey, Boston, they’re all going to be here,” Lundy said. “One thing and one thing’s for sure, the Garden knew what they were doing by picking ‘Hammerin” Hank because they know this bum can’t sell the place out!”
“When we come to New York and we come to Madison Square Garden, we are going to have homefield advantage,” added CES Boxing president Jimmy Burchfield Sr. “If you study homefield advantage, it means a lot. Not only will Philadelphia and New York be here, but Boston and Providence and Connecticut will be here. We will fill that theater with Hank Lundy’s fans.
“Everybody is looking at Hank Lundy as an underdog, or this is your second and third choice. We’re not coming here to be the underdog. Don’t underestimate that. We’re coming here to take the belt back to Philadelphia.
“I think you made a mistake. I really do,” Burchfield said to Crawford, “but we appreciate the opportunity. We’re going to be up for the challenge.”
Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), the reigning WBO champ, is considered one of the sport’s breakthrough stars, perhaps a top five pound-for-pound fighter by the end of the year if he survives Lundy on Feb. 27th.
Since winning the title from Ricky Burns in England in 2014, Crawford has defended his title four times with knockout wins over Yuriorkis Gamboa, Thomas Dulorme and Dierry Jean.
“Everybody knows you, Hank. You’re like the boy who cried wolf,” Crawford said. “You talk a good game, but when you lose it’s always something. ‘I’m going to do this … I’m going to do that.’ You ain’t gonna do shit. You talk about how street you are. That’s talking, boy.
“We know about you. We’ve heard about you getting socked up in the gym and not doing anything. You can smile all you want. You can talk all you want. For real, though, when you look at me in the eyes, I’m about that lifestyle. You’ve heard my background. We ain’t heard nothing about Hank. We just hear you talking.
“I’m going to put on a spectacular show come Feb. 27th. I’m gonna hit him in his mouth and he’s going to end up like [Dierry] Jean and get what he’s looking for.”
The 27th will be Lundy’s first shot at a world title, a long overdue opportunity after nearly a decade of working his way to the top by facing the toughest opposition in the sport. Lundy’s last 17 fights have covered 13 different states and two countries and the combined record of his opponents during that stretch is a remarkable 276-44.
“He’s fought real fights,” Burchfield said. “He’s never backed down from anyone. He stays in the gym. He’s done nothing to harm his body. He’s a warrior. Terence is a warrior. This is why this fight has the ingredients to be the top fight of 2016.”
No stranger to controversy, Lundy suffered a split-decision loss to Dulorme in December of 2014 after battling back from an early knockdown before his highly-publicized 2015 showdown in Los Angeles against Herrera, which ended in a technical decision loss for Lundy when the fight was stopped toward the end of the fifth round due to a pair of cuts over each of Herrera’s eyes caused by accidental head-butts.
“Another round and it would’ve been a knockout victory for Hank,” Burchfield said. “We’ve told Herrera we’d fight him. We’d fight him for nothing. They won’t fight us.”
Crawford went on to stop Dulorme in six rounds in April in a blistering performance by the reigning champ in Texas, but, Burchfield said, Dulorme was “damaged goods” by that point courtesy of the test he faced from Lundy in his previous bout.
“I beat the brakes off him,” Lundy said of Dulorme. “Had the man running around the ring.”
Crawford’s trainer, Brian McIntyre, had a different perspective from watching the fight.
“He said he was beating up Dulorme. No you weren’t,” McIntyre countered. “You were losing, dog. You did come back, though, but you needed help. You needed someone to coach you in the corner, to get you up. ‘Come on, man. You got dog in you! You got dog in you!’
“I don’t have to do with that Terence, because the dog’s already in him when he comes out. I know that for sure. You don’t have confidence in yourself. Another thing I noticed about you, you’ve switched coaches time and time again. That’s inconsistency, bro, along with your chin. Your chin is inconsistent!
“I respect you. I’m just stating the obvious and the obvious is you’re going to get your ass kicked. I bet you that. I bet $10,000 on that.”
The Feb. 27th HBO doubleheader, which begins 10 p.m. ET, also features a 10-round WBO Latino lightweight title bout between reigning champion Felix Verdejo (19-0, 14 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and unbeaten challenger William Silva (23-0, 14 KOs) of San Paolo, Brazil. On sale beginning tomorrow, tickets are priced at $25, $50, $100, $200 and $300 and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone at (866) 858-0008 or online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.thegarden.com.
“[Crawford-Lundy] reminds me of a fight a long time ago, Floyd Mayweather and Emanuel Burton,” said Top Rank president Todd DuBoef. “People said, ‘Burton’s got nine losses. How can you put Mayweather in with him?’ and what a fight it was. Floyd had to earn every bit of that, probably his most difficult fight to date and someone that gave him an enormous amount of difficulty and challenges in the ring. Don’t ever judge a fighter by their record. Hank Lundy has been in there with everybody. People thought he was beating Dulorme and Herrera. He is a top quality fighter.
“What Terence Crawford represents in the sport right now is one of the most excellent fighters in the sport,” added HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson. “In front of him in Hank Lundy is one of the best tests that can be found, a fighter that will step up and take the challenge.”