Diego Magdaleno 136.8 – Luis Solis TBA
Mike Tufariello 158.5 – Eddie Tigs 159
Anthony Barnes 169 – Martinez Porter 169.25
By my reckoning, and that of most in the know, Terence “Bud” Crawford (25-0, 17ko) is one of boxing’s brightest stars. Last years Boxing writer’s Fighter Of The Year will make his 140lb debut this Saturday when he steps up in weight to face Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14ko) in Arlington, Texas for the vacant WBO strap.
The fight will be screened as part of a split card on HBO in America and Boxnation in the UK.
Crawford broke out in 2014 with his beating of Scotland’s Ricky Burns in front of a partisan Glasgow crowd over 12 classy rounds. I wrote a piece at the time that warned of the dangers that the American would bring against Burns, and sadly my warning proved prophetic. Too classy for him and too skillful were my words. Even then, in his first world title tilt, his reputation had already begun to precede him by travelling across the pond.
It was in his next fight, defending his new WBO lightweight strap against Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa, who was himself then also undefeated, that people REALLY sat up and took notice of the Omaha native.
In what also became many peoples fight of the year, Crawford showed his superb boxing brain by adapting to the fast, early work from Gamboa that had him under pressure for the early going. Despite being the far smaller man physically, Gamboa is a world class operator and far and away the best fighter Crawford had been in with.
Crawford adapted, switched stances and started picking his shots and imposing his greater strength on Gamboa who touched down in rounds 5 and 8 before the fight was halted in the 9th following another 2 knockdowns, the first of which was heavy.
If Crawford needed announcing as a genuine and deserving world champion, then it happened that night in June.
In his last fight he completely outclassed Ray Beltran (29-7-1, 17ko) in a points shut out. The same Ray Beltran who gave Ricky Burns all sorts of trouble in their fight before Crawford. Burns got the SD over Beltran but he was lucky to keep his belt that night, despite his poor performance being attributed to a jaw injury he suffered mid fight.
Saturday night, after his breakout year, he gets his chance at a second world title against Dulorme, who is being touted as a heavy underdog. I hadn’t seen much of the Puerto Rican fighter but he’s perhaps not as big a push-over as the odds suggest. Let’s not kid ourselves that I think he will win this fight but he has mixed in good company and possesses a degree of power. From the footage I’ve seen he does the basics well and has a good range finding jab. He has no reach advantage over Crawford mind you but is 2 inches taller and has previously campaigned at 147lb, so following rehydration he may well be the strongest man Crawford has faced.
Sadly, I think Crawford does everything better and has the far wider skill-set. He has a whole box of tricks, the most valuable his ring IQ and boxing brain. I’m looking at a stoppage for Crawford in the last third of the fight, though wouldn’t be too surprised if it ends up as yet another points shut out for the American.
Of his opponent, Crawford himself has said to Ring Tv;
“The odds may say one thing but I respect all fighters. I never underestimate anyone. He has a sharp jab, a good right hand. I’ve nothing bad to say about him. I’m not worried about his size. I only worry about what I need to do to neutralize his strengths.”
Ever respectful, there are some who claim that Crawford has leap-frogged his way to his second title opportunity as he has never boxed at 140 before. With a stacked division around him, guys like Matthysse, Provodnikov, Garcia, Peterson and Broner, there will be no shortage of potential opponents regardless of that assertion.
Some media outlets are already suggesting a move to 147lb which, whilst I’m sure it will one day happen, is ridiculously premature. It’s his first fight at 140lb!! Let’s get Dulorme out the way before we even start thinking of such a thing. However, whilst he remains at 140, it’s very unlikely we will see him in with another British opponent as the light-welterweight division is woefully short of stars in the UK.
Sadly for us, we will have to bask in the reflected glory of this one, as the future is looking very bright for this talented breakout fighter indeed. Terence Crawford, in my estimation, is a name that will be causing a lot of fighters a whole heap of trouble in the future. If I were Danny “Gift” Garcia, as I’ve renamed him, I’d make my jump to 147lb yesterday now Crawford is on the scene!
Don’t forget the name! You’ll hear a lot more of it in the future!!
Crawford/Dulorme is on HBO and Boxnation in the UK alongside Provodnikov/Matthysse.
As always, thanks for reading. Twitter @undilutedpoison