The trainer of unbeaten Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones says that the fighter is truly benefitting from having hired strength and conditioning coach Richie Meudt in preparation for Saturday night’s clash with Argentina’s Sebastian Lujan at New York’s Madision Square Garden.
The 28-year-old Jones (25-0, 19 KOs) will meet the 31-year-old Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs) on the undercard of the Top Rank Inc.-promoted, HBO Pay Per View-televised Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito .
“Mike really likes all of the new strenuous exercises we’ve thrown at him. He’s in great shape. Bringing in an additional strength and conditioning coach has helped make his legs stronger,” said Jones’ trainer, Vaughn Jackson.
“His balance more stable and his punching power off the charts. He’s been hurting everyone in camp including me when I’m holding the pads. We are ready.”
Jones-Lujan is for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s ratings, with the winner meeting IBF No. 2-rated Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the organization’s belt that was recently vacated by Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs).
“It’s a big fight. Probably the toughest fight we’ve had so far, Sebastian Lujan,” said Jones’ promoter, Russell Peltz, in a video interview. “It could even be tougher than fighting Randall Bailey for the title, I’m not really sure.”
Meudt has been with Jones since early August as he gears up for Lujan, owner of a 12-fight winning streak that includes six knockouts, and who is coming off a ninth-round stoppage of prospect Mark Melligan in July.
“The most important thing for me to do is to stay calm,” said Jones in the video. “To stay poised in there and don’t get excited and just take him apart.”
Jones is coming off a second-round knockout of Raul Munoz, which was accomplished in June before his hometown fans at the South Philly Arena.
“We feel terrific,” said Jones’ co-manager, Doc Nowicki in the video. “At times, I still pinch myself because I can believe that it’s actually gotten this close.”
Prior to Munoz, Jones battled through consecutive majority, and, unanimous decisions over Jesus Soto Karass in February and June.
“Lujan is like one of those speed bumps in the projects. He’s in the way of our dreams and impeding our success. He’s not going to slow us down to our next destination — world champion,” said Jackson.
“Mike has been fighting guys like Lujan his whole career. I’ve seen tapes of Lujan and he’s busy, but so was Soto-Karass. Actually, I think Soto-Karass is a better fighter.”
Jackson expects to see the best in boxing out of the 28-year-old Jones, who, at slightly more than 6-foot tall, has a six-inch advantage in height over the 5-foot-6 Lujan.
“Lujan throws punches just to be throwing them. His punches are wide and wild,” said Jackson. “I don’t care what good shape you’re in or how much stamina you have, if you’re throwing a lot of punches and getting hit with a lot of good body shots, you’ll slow down, and Mike Jones will slow him down.”
In fact, Jackson is all-but predicting a knockout victory.
“By the end of the fight, the announcer will be saying, ‘Down goes Lujan, down goes Lujan,'” said Jackson. “People say this is a step up for Mike but I say it’s a stepping stone. Mike is definitely ready.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com