IBF orders Terence Crawford to defend against mandatory challenger Sergey Lipinets; but will the unified champ choose to vacate?

Boxing moves fast these days and the sanctioning bodies move even faster. Less than 48 hours after scoring a scorching 3rd round KO win over Julius Indongo to unify all four major belts at 140 pounds, Terence Crawford was ordered to make his first mandatory defence; so reports ESPN.com

The IBF ordered the unbeaten Crawford to face Sergey Lipinets of Kazakhstan but living in Los Angeles. The 28 year old is unbeaten at 12-0 (10) and he KO’d a good fighter in Lenny Zappavigna to become the IBF mandatory challenger. Still, it’s likely not too many fight fans will be overly familiar with Lipinets, certainly not to the extent that they will get too excited over the prospect of seeing Crawford defend against him.

But will Crawford even think for too long about taking this fight – a purse bid to be ordered on September 17 if no deal is reached – or will he instead look to make the move up to welterweight where the big fights are? It looks likely that Crawford will choose to vacate the four belts he currently owns and go up in weight for the legacy-defining fights that await him at 147. And who on earth could blame him?

With three other mandatory defences set to be announced soon, Crawford, if he does surprise us by opting to stay fighting at 140, will have a tough time keeping hold of his belts. And why should as great a fighter as Crawford waste his talents and his energy by working hard in the gym to get ready to face fighters who, with all due respect, have no real chance of beating him?

No, the big tests, the defining fights, await Crawford at welterweight. It will be quite a shock if “Bud” decides to stick around at 140 long enough to make even one title defence. Look out Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Jeff Horn/Manny Pacquiao and the other top dogs at 147. As Crawford said himself after last Saturday’s fine win, there will soon be “only one name at welterweight.”

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