Sunday, February 23, 2014

What’s Next For Hank Lundy?

Over the last couple of years one fighter who has certainly emerged as a seasoned veteran is present Jr. Welterweight contender Hank Lundy.  Lundy, who began his career as a Lightweight winning eighteen of his first nineteen professional fights seemed to be on a clear path to a world title shot before he was stopped in eleven rounds by John Molina in July 2010, the first loss for Lundy in his professional career.

The setback for Lundy did not seem as though it would derail his hopes for a potential title shot for too long as he was able to bounce back to win four straight fights following the loss to Molina.  This set the stage for Lundy to face Lightweight contender Ray Beltran in July 2012.  In an extremely close fight where both fighters had their moments, Beltran, who was viewed as an underdog heading into the bout was able to earn a hard fought ten round majority decision. This fight was one that honestly could have gone either way and one that this observer felt was a draw. 

Beltran would eventually go on to challenge WBO Lightweight world champion Ricky Burns earning a controversial draw.  Some may argue that it was Beltran’s victory over Lundy that first gave him the notoriety that led to his title shot against Burns.  Unfortunately for Lundy he would suffer two more disappointments following his close battle with Beltran. 

Lundy was scheduled to face top Jr. Welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse in January of last year, but the fight ultimately fell through due to managerial problems.  Lundy would then lose a twelve round unanimous decision to undefeated Ukrainian contender Viktor Postol in March of last year.  The silver lining for Lundy, despite those setbacks is he has shown the ability to bounce back and has established himself in both the Jr. Welterweight and Lightweight divisions. Currently, Lundy is rated number thirteen by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and number ten in the world by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) in the Jr. Welterweight division.

After scoring an impressive ten round unanimous decision over top Jr. Welterweight contender Olusegun Ajose last July, Lundy would open his 2014 campaign February 21st in the Lightweight division against highly regarded prospect Angelo Santana in Cleveland, Ohio. This fight may have appeared in the eyes of some to be a bounce back fight for Santana who came into his fight off of a knockout loss at the hands of fellow prospect Bahodir Mamajonov in April of last year. This would however, be a considerable test for Santana against a fighter who was more experienced in Lundy.

The early rounds saw both fighters have their moments as both were willing to engage in periodic exchanges. As the rounds went on Lundy’s lateral movement and greater offensive output began to dictate the pace of the fight. The majority of the rounds seemed to be carried by Lundy simply being the more active of the two fighters. An argument could be made that some close rounds during the course of this fight went in favor of Lundy simply due to effective aggressiveness and ring generalship. 

Santana was effective when he did let his hands go particularly during periods when he was able to get Lundy against the ropes, but could not do it consistently enough to ensure that he got off first and win rounds in my opinion.  In contrast, Lundy established his jab from the outset, mixed in combinations, and was the fighter who initiated the action throughout much of the fight. 

The highlight of the fight came in closing seconds of round nine when Lundy dropped Santana with a right hand. Lundy would go on to score a convincing ten round unanimous decision in a fight that I unofficially scored for him 98-91.

It was a workman like performance for Lundy and off of not only this performance, but also his previous fight against Olusegun Ajose it is hard not to argue that Lundy could have some interesting options on the table for him in either the 135lb. Lightweight or 140lb. Jr. Welterweight divisions.  In terms of the Jr. Welterweight division the obvious option would be for Lundy to seek another opportunity against Lucas Matthysse. Other potential fights against contenders like former IBF Lightweight world champion Paul Spadafora, Gabriel Bracero, and Thomas Dulorme could be interesting possibilities for Lundy if a fight with Matthysse is not on the table at least in the immediate future. 

If Lundy however, decides to remain in the Lightweight division an obvious option that could be available for him in my mind would be a rematch with Ray Beltran or perhaps a rematch with current WBA Lightweight world champion Richar Abril, who Lundy defeated via split decision in 2010.   It would also not surprise this observer to potentially see Lundy face the winner of the upcoming WBO Lightweight world championship fight between Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford.

Whether or not Lundy will get a chance to fight for a world championship in the near future remains to be seen.  It is clear however, that after winning twenty-four of twenty-eight professional fights, after bouncing back from three losses and one draw along the way, Hank Lundy is a force to be reckoned with. In my opinion, Lundy is certainly deserving of an opportunity against a marquee opponent should one come along. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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