He's a veteran of the game, nearly a decade into his professional career, but with experience and wisdom also comes age, and Philadelphia's Hank Lundy, who turned 31 in January, knows it's "now or never" as he continues to chase that elusive world title.
"This year, I'm going to shock the world and get what I've been chasing after," Lundy said. "No more playing around."
Three months removed from his last bout, a controversial loss to Mauricio Herrera on HBO Deportes, Lundy (25-5-1, 12 KOs) returns to the ring Saturday, Oct. 17th, 2015 to face Nicaraguan vet Carlos Winston Velasquez (23-21-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant Word Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas Lightweight Title in the 10-round co-main event of CES Boxing's "Gold Standard" card at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Lundy is currently ranked 15th among 135-pounders in the WBC. Winning another regional title moves him closer to the top, and perhaps closer to a shot at reigning champion Jorge Linares, who's defended the title twice since winning it in December.
"The one thing I noticed about him is he can't deal with pressure," Lundy said of Linares. "He's weak. He's slow. I've been dying -- as a matter of fact, I can't wait to get in the ring with him -- to destroy him and bring that world title back to Philadelphia."
First thing's first, Lundy must get through Oct. 17th. Having been down this road before, he's well aware that looking too far ahead can be hazardous to his career. Case in point, Lundy was ranked No. 1 in the world at 135 pounds before facing then-unknown journeyman Raymundo Beltran in July of 2012 in what was supposed to be a tune-up for a title shot. Instead, Lundy lost and spent the next year and a half rebranding his image and fighting his way back into the championship picture at 135.
Three consecutive wins, including a dominant victory on ShoBox against hometown favorite Angelo Santana, earned him a shot at 140-pound prospect Thomas Dulorme on HBO in December for the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) crown. Lundy absorbed a first-round knockdown and lost a narrow split decision. He planned to jump right back a month later against Petr Petrov on less than two week's notice, but the fight was cancelled when Lundy failed to make weight.
Six months later, Lundy earned another shot at the 140-pound NABF title against Herrera, but lost on the scorecards via technical decision 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. That fifth round turned out to be the difference-maker; the fight was even after four, but judges Eddie Hernandez and Fernando Villareal awarded the partial fifth round to Herrera while Zac Young ruled it an even 10-10 round. Herrera won, 48-47, 48-47, 48-48.
"As the fight went on, I was going to hurt Herrera and stop Herrera, and Golden Boy didn't realize that," Lundy said. "You could tell the fix was in.
"I think [Herrera] knows better than to give me [a rematch]. At the end of the day, he knows I'm a more explosive fighter than most of those guys he's been fighting. He found out in the first couple of rounds I could punch. I guess he didn't know I was that fast. He didn't believe the hype about 'Hammerin'' Hank and he found out the hard way."
With so many highs and lows the past three years, it'd be understandable if Lundy grew jaded or felt snake-bitten by a sport that has done the same to so many promising fighters, but "'Hammerin'" Hank continues to press forward, refusing to quit this journey despite the setbacks.
"Like I tell everybody, I don't let a loss define my career or who I am. At the end of the day, I'm still 'Hammerin'' Hank," Lundy said. "I'm going to work hard, I'm going to fight my ass off and, like I know, nothing's given in this fight game. Everything I've got, I earned by working hard and Jimmy Burchfield, my promoter, we've been pushing it and we're going to keep on doing it.
"Most of these fights, we've had to go in as the opponent. We're not on the upside, so there's always a possibility in the background where you know you're not going to get a fair shake. The only thing you can do is go out there and give your all and all and put your heart into everything and that's what I do when I fight. The world sees that these guys aren't beating me. I'm getting beat by the judges or getting robbed."
Not only does he plan on capturing a world title at 135 pounds, perhaps by the end of the year, he's made it clear he still wants to take another shot at 140, where he faced Dulorme, Santana and current WBC light welterweight world champ Viktor Postol, among others.
"I have unfinished business there, just like when I started at 135," he said.
Lundy won seven times at 140 between 2006 and 2010, often fighting at catch weights during the early stage of his career, but he's just 3-3 in that weight class since then, including his 2013 loss to Postol in the Ukraine.
"None of these guys have beaten me where I can say, 'OK, he really whooped my ass.' None of these guys really beat me. The judges robbed me," Lundy said. "I might go on a mission and unify those titles. That's what I've been thinking about. Reigning at 135, unify those titles, then move up to 140 and do the same.
No matter the mission, it's now or never as Lundy closes in on his 32nd birthday in January. The quest continues Oct. 17th.
"I'm dying to get back in that ring," he said. "This next year or two is definitely going to be a big run for Hank Lundy and Team Hammer."
Tickets are priced at $25.00, $50.00, $125.00 and $200.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesboxing.com or www.mohegansun.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
The 10-round main event, promoted in association with Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing and Artie Pelullo's Banner Promotions, features Providence, R.I., native and former junior middleweight world champion Demetrius Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) against Argentinian Dario Fabian Pucheta (20-2, 11 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) International Titles, Andrade's first fight in 16 months.
Next Saturday's event will also be a showcase for New England boxing with undefeated Worcester, Mass., junior middleweight Khiary Gray (9-0, 7 KOs); New Haven, Conn., featherweight Josh Crespo (4-2-3, 2 KOs); and super middleweight Vladine Biosse (15-7-2, 7 KOs) of Providence featured on the undercard.
Gray will face Denver's Marcus Dawkins (4-2, 1 KO) in a six-round bout and Biosse returns in a six-round bout against Nathan Miller (6-0-1, 4 KOs) of New Brunswick, Canada. Crespo battles Albany, N.Y., vet Rigoberto Miranda and cruiserweight Mike Marshall (1-0, 1 KO) of the Bronx faces newcomer Hampton Miller of New Haven, both four-round bouts.
For more information on "Gold Standard" visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBOXING on Twitter and Instagram and "like" the official CES Boxing Facebook fan page.
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