He’s won 10 of his last 11 fights since 2008, captured two lightweight titles, fought in front of a worldwide audience four times in 16 months and is now ranked among the Top 20 in two major sanctioning bodies, yet Philadelphia’s “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy still hasn’t gotten the call to fight for a world title.
“I’m knocking at the door,” said Lundy, who’s promoted by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports. “I’ll fight anybody they put in front of me. What more do I have to do to show these guys I’m one of the top fighters in the world?”
The answer might come Friday, Aug. 19th, 2011 when Lundy defends his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) lightweight title against former world champion David Diaz in the 10-round co-feature of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” telecast at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., presented by Hitz Entertainment in association with Banner Promotions.
This will be Lundy’s first title defense since capturing the belt in a win over Patrick Lopez on April 1st and his fifth consecutive bout on “Friday Night Fights” since April of 2010. A win over Diaz (36-3-1, 17 KOs), whose resume includes victories against former five-time world champion Erik Morales and former World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight champion Ener Julio in addition to a grueling battle against pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, would boost Lundy (20-1-1, 10 KOs) in the lightweight rankings and possibly lead to a major title shot by the end of the year.
“[World Boxing Association and WBO interim lightweight champion] Robert Guerrero, [WBA and WBO lightweight super champion] Juan Manuel Marquez – I can beat those guys,” Lundy said. “If they will give me a shot and let me prove my talent, I guarantee I will wipe them out with no problem.”
Until then, Lundy must deal with Diaz, who’s in the midst of his second comeback following a 10-month layoff. Diaz returned to the ring in January with a majority-decision win over Robert Frankel. The 35-year-old Chicago native originally left boxing for more than a year following his knockout loss to Pacquiao in 2008, which, at the time, earned Pacquiao his fifth world title in five different weight classes (he’s since accomplished the feat in eight separate weight classes).
Lundy is seeking his third consecutive win since losing his North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title to John Molina Jr. in July of 2009. He rebounded from that loss with a win over Omri Lowther two months later on ESPN and then captured the vacant NABF title with a hard-fought win over Lopez, a two-time Olympian (2000 and 2004) for the Venezuelan national team.
“I feel like Patrick Lopez was the toughest fight I ever had and I handled him well,” said Lundy, who won the fight by scores of 99-91, 97-92 and 95-94. “I’m not sleeping on Diaz, but he’s 35 years old, has no knockout punch and no defense.
“When he fought Pacquiao, he got hit with everything except the kitchen sink. He comes right at you, but it’s not like I’m going to go in there and brawl with him. I’m a smart, intelligent fighter with youth on my side. I’m going to break him down. He’s a southpaw, and I plan on fighting southpaw because the one thing I’ve noticed about southpaws is they don’t like to deal with other southpaws.”
Lundy is ranked 15th in the International Boxing Federation (IBF), 29th in the International Boxing Organization (IBO) and 16th in the World Boxing Council (WBC), while Diaz is 21st in the WBC, 7th in the WBO and 4th in the IBO. Diaz held the WBC lightweight title from 2006 to 2008 before losing to Pacquiao and then failed in his attempt to recapture the belt in a unanimous-decision loss to Humberto Soto (56-7-2, 32 KOs) in March of 2010 – just six months after he beat former world champion Jesus Chavez in Chicago.
“My southpaw side is my natural side, and when I hit him he’s going to feel it,” Lundy said. “I’m going to stick to the game plan and do what I need to do. I know Diaz will try to wear me down. That’s what these fighters do today. They let you take the early rounds and try to wear you down, but everyone who’s faced me knows I’m in great shape, so I won’t be worn down.
“Everyone I’ve fought, I’ve exposed. Even in the loss to Molina, I beat myself. That’s why he’s running from me. Molina is scared of me. If you look at the scorecards, I was beating him every round, and what people don’t know is I was sick as a dog and I still fought anyway. That’s the heart of a champion. That fight made me even more dangerous. These other champions know it and that’s why they won’t step in the ring with me.”
Lundy’s title defense against Diaz is part of a dynamic card featuring the 12-round main event rematch between light welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov (19-1, 13 KOs) and Mauricio Herrera (18-7, 7 KOs) of Lake Elsinore, Calif., who also fought in the main event of ESPN’s first telecast of the season with Herrera pulling off the upset. Tickets are available through www.fanfueled.com or www.thevenue-chicago.com starting at $30.
“Showtime is back on the 19th,” Lundy said, “and ‘Hammerin’’ Hank is out to prove to the world that I’m one of the most legitimate 135-pounders in the world. I’m not to be played with. Once again, I’m putting my belt on the line and running and ducking from nobody. The champions in my weight class need to do the same.”