BOXING

Terence Crawford Undisputed at 140, Aims For Big Names at 147

King Terence Crawford Wraps Up Reign With KO of Julius Indongo

Terence Crawford proved once again that he is the one true king of the junior welterweight division, capping off his run at 140 pounds with an impressive third-round knockout of Julius Indongo.

Indongo, like Crawford, held two world titles going into the fight. Crawford quickly showed that there was little else they had in common — that he is a special fighter, not only the best in his weight class but one of the best in the entire sport.

He is brilliant and gifted, able to control the action with sublime skills, able to take good fighters and make them feel ways they’ve never felt before. Indongo barely landed. Crawford was able to score, dropping Indongo in the second round with a left hand behind the ear and then putting Indongo down for the count in the third with a punch rarely seen in boxing.  

The end came after the southpaw Indongo pounced forward with a jab and left hand and then tried to follow up with a right hook upstairs. Crawford, an ambidextrous boxer who was also fighting as a southpaw, slid back with ease to make the first two shots miss, missing a right hook of his own but then ducking under Indongo’s third shot to land a counter left hand to the body.  

Indongo collapsed to the canvas, rolling around with pain on his face. The referee counted to 10. The referee probably could’ve counted to 100.

Crawford is now 32-0 with 23 knockouts. He was already seen as the true junior welterweight champ after last year’s victory over Viktor Postol (who had knocked out Lucas Matthysse). This victory over Indongo means Crawford now has all four major world titles; Indongo had won one with a first-round KO of Eduard Troyanovsky and another with a decision over Ricky Burns.

Indongo, who is now 22-1 with 11 KOs, was a deserving No. 2 behind Crawford. There’s just a big difference between Crawford and Indongo, and Indongo learned that there’s a huge difference between beating Troyanovsky and Burns and competing with Crawford.

Crawford is likely done at 140. He’d arrived in the division in 2015 after a year with a lightweight world title. He leaves having gone 7-0 in the division over the past two years.

The next challenge will be more difficult. Crawford is probably headed up to welterweight, where there are far more big names available. His promoter mentioned a potential fight with the winner of the upcoming rematch between Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao. But beyond that, the 147-pound weight class also is home to titleholders like Errol Spence and Keith Thurman.

Crawford has proven himself to be the best at 140 and one of the best in the sport today. What he does next could help him make a case for being one of the best ever.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk Takes His Time, Takes Out Craig Baker In Six

Sometimes a fighter is done in by perception and expectation. Light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk got an easy win on Saturday night over Craig Baker, though it was a victory that was expected to be even easier and even quicker.

Gvozdyk, after all, is a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and rising 175-pounder pro who was coming off a fantastic third-round stoppage of Yunieski Gonzalez. Baker wasn’t thought to be on his level because, well, he wasn’t.

This fight wasn’t as thrilling as the Gonzalez fight. There weren’t as many of the destructive combinations from Gvodzyk as we saw against Gonzalez. Instead, he relied on the jab to control distance and pace — jabs accounted for 300 of the 419 punches Gvozdyk sent out over the course of six rounds, according to CompuBox. Gvozdyk was keeping Baker at bay; Baker pursued but threw little and landed less.

Gvozdyk picked his spots and didn’t really seem to be putting too much emphasis on his punches until the sixth. He landed a right hand, then two more, and had Baker backing away. Another short right hand dropped Baker to the canvas. Baker got up, was pressured to the ropes, and covered up as Gvozdyk continued to throw. Baker didn’t appear to be badly hurt, but he wasn’t showing enough for the referee to allow the fight to go on.

Gvozdyk moves to 14-0 with 12 KOs. He doesn’t appear to be ready for the two top 175-pounders in the world, Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson, but there are enough potential opponents at the next level down — fighters who are either waiting for their own shots at the top or who already got their shots but fell short.

Baker drops to 17-2 with 13 KOs.

Shakur Stevenson Moves to 3-0 With Shutout Victory

Shakur Stevenson was one of just two American male boxers to win a medal in the 2016 Olympics — and the first to do better than a bronze since 2004. So it’s no surprise that the silver medalist is getting quite the spotlight early in his career.

Stevenson led off the ESPN broadcast of Crawford vs. Indongo. He’s promoted by Top Rank, which has built countless prospects into champions, and is managed by light heavyweight champ Andre Ward (who won Olympic gold in 2004).

He’s also still quite early in his career. Which is why the second-best amateur bantamweight of 2016 was taking on a determined but limited 4-3-1 opponent named David Michel Paz on Saturday night.

Stevenson, now fighting as a featherweight, had no trouble moving away from Paz’s advances and peppering Paz with combinations. He knocked Paz’s mouthpiece out in the third and again in the fifth, put Paz down on the canvas in the fifth, and won a shutout decision on the scorecards. All three judges had it 60-53.

The difference was just as wide with the CompuBox statistics, which had Stevenson landing 113 punches over the course of six rounds while Paz landed just 21.

Stevenson is now 3-0 with 1 KO. Paz is now 4-4-1 with no knockouts.

 

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman.

David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and “Fighting Words” columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing.”
Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

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