Unbeaten World Boxing Organization 135 pound champion Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) put in a safety first performance in beating challenger Raymundo Beltran (29-7-1, 17 KOs) by a less than thrilling 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night to retain his WBO lightweight strap in front of his own fans at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Depending on what kind of fan you are, Crawford’s performance was either boring or thrilling. With all the holding and movement that Crawford used to keep from getting hit, I’m in the camp that saw the fight as less than crowd pleasing. Of course, Crawford didn’t have to deal with boos given that the fight took place in his own hometown in Omaha rather than in a venue whether boxing fans would have put pressure on him to open up more with his offense.
The fight had only two semi-interesting rounds in the 11th and 12th rounds where Crawford finally let his hands go a little. But even in those rounds, he played it safe by fighting defensively and not letting his hands go the way he should have. The remaining 10 rounds were painful to watch due to Crawford playing it safe. The guy is far too defensive for his own good, and he’s going to need to change his fighting style if he wants to win over the casual boxing fans who like action.
The judges scored the fight 119-109, 119-109 and 120-108. You can’t disagree with the scores of the fight, because Crawford controlled the action with his jab, clinches and movement. However, the fight was far from interesting to watch unless you like seeing a lot of clinching and running, which Crawford did a lot of in this fight.
Crawford said after the fight that he plans on moving up to light welterweight. That can either be interpreted as a good thing or a bad thing. It’ll be a good thing if Crawford becomes more offensive in moving up in weight, but it can also be a bad thing if his fights in this weight class are as boring as last night’s bout. I’m not sure that it’s going to be interesting to watch Crawford clinch Manny Pacquiao for 12 rounds.
If that’s the idea that Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum has as far as a fight in the near future, I think he needs to step back and re-think that idea, because I see that fight as being less entertaining as the Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri fight was. That fight was a boring mismatch.
In a controversial decision, the judges scored the match-up between IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KOs) and Jayson Velez (22-0-1, 16 KOs) a 12 round draw. The scores were 117-111 for Gradovich, 115-113 for Velez and 114-114 even. Gradovich appeared to do more than enough to deserve the decision, as he dominated the last 7 rounds of the fight and he won at least two of the first four rounds. It just looked like the judges had an off night in trying to score the fight. It’s too bad for the boxing fans because many of them clearly had Gradovich the winner in the fight.
Other action on the card:
Alex Saucedo UD 6 Daniel Calzada
Johnny Determan TKO 3 Manuel Galaviz
Bernard Davis TKO 2 Bryan Timmons