One of the most interesting things a boxing fan can do is to look ahead, to get excited about the future of a particular fighter and to consider the mouth-watering bouts that are to come. There are not many fighters who are better suited to this practice than the WBO super welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford.
The American (28-0-KO20) enjoyed a breakout 2014 campaign, beating Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title and then defending the belt against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Raymundo Beltran. That stellar calendar year secured ‘Bud’ the ESPN Fighter of the Year award and signalled his emergence as one of the most promising fighters in the sport.
2014 also saw the end of Crawford’s run at lightweight, as he moved up to light welterweight following that fight with Beltran. A pair of TKO wins over Thomas Dulorme – where he won the WBO light welterweight strap – and Dierry Jean, served further notice to his fight-ending power as well as his elite technical ability.
The rugged Hank Lundy was dispatched in five rounds in February of this year, a victory which opened the door to a unification bout with WBC champion Viktor Postol. The Ukrainian is fresh off a career-best knockout of Lucas Matthysse in October 2015 and at 5ft 11in is extremely tall for the weight class – an intriguing proposition for Crawford.
It will be fascinating to see how Crawford copes with the height and reach of Postol, as well as his proficiency in dealing with his opponents’ tricky style. The American’s movement will surely be key as he attempts to navigate a taller opponent, but he must be wary of Postol’s power, too. Crawford has a tendency to occasionally stand in the pocket and trade with opponents, something that he might be wise to avoid in this fight.
If he can secure yet another victory, however, boxing stardom awaits for the 28-year-old. Already a feature on many pound-for-pound lists, a win over Postol would arguably be bigger than any of the W’s on Gennady Golovkin’s resume – a man who is frequently ahead of Crawford on such lists.
The future match-ups for ‘Bud’ are tantalising. If he remains at his current weight class then he could be facing off with the likes of Adrien Broner and Manny Pacquiao, but if he moves up again to welterweight then things could get really interesting. Names like Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and Errol Spence Jr. could await him in some of the best potential fights in boxing.
Crawford is graduating to HBO PPV for this bout, an indicator of how highly he is thought of stateside. Although the numbers are unlikely to be anywhere near the PPV figures generated by the likes of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, everybody has to start somewhere. One thing is for sure, anyone who tunes in will see the two premier light welterweights in the world throw down – and will perhaps witness the birth of Terence Crawford, future pound-for-pound king.by