Until Saturday, the biggest fights in Terence Crawford’s blossoming career have been in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, where thousands of his fans packed the stands to cheer him on. After this weekend though, Crawford knows his support reaches from coast to coast.
The 140-pound WBO champion made his Big Apple debut on Saturday, knocking out challenger Hank Lundy in the fifth round in front of an electric crowd in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Lundy came out aggressively in the first round, smothering Crawford with wildly looping hooks while the champion remained defensive. Capable of fighting as an orthodox or a southpaw, Crawford adjusted in the second round and opted for the latter, counteracting the lefty challenger. He began to find his rhythm, slowing Lundy down with his jab and strong yet simple combinations. Lundy continued to come forward in a close third, touching Crawford with several punches, but the champ continued to control the tempo. The inevitable outcome of the bout became apparent in the fourth, as Crawford took a strong upper hand.
In the fifth, Crawford continued his dominance and eventually scored with a straight left hand that stunned Lundy and had him retreating towards the ropes. A great finisher, Crawford immediately jumped on his stunned opponent, timing his shots before another straight left sent Lundy to the canvas. Though he was up before the count reached 10, Crawford quickly finished him off, landing two more devastating shots before referee Steve Willis stepped in and called a stop to the contest.
With the win, Crawford, now 28-0, retained his belt and proved once again he has the skill and power to easily compete at 140 pounds. The champion landed an efficient 89 of 247 punches, according to CompuBox stats. His switch to southpaw stifled Lundy, who quickly fell victim to a strong jab. Crawford, one of the world’s best boxer-punchers, gradually wore his opponent down to get the win. After months of trash talk between the two, Crawford was pleased to prove himself.
“I told everyone I got power in both hands and the boxing ability that I have, and it’s going to take me a long way in the game,” Crawford said after the fight.
Now well established as a super lightweight with two consecutive title defenses, Crawford looks ready to compete against some of the division’s best. WBC champ Viktor Postol remains at the top, according to Ring Magazine, while others such as the hard hitting Ruslan Provodnikov and arrogant Adrien Broner could provide Crawford with interesting challenges. With the largest wealth of talent in the sport one weight division above him at 147 pounds, there is plenty of opportunity for Crawford, who is willing to take on all comers.
“I never duck anyone and I’ll fight anyone,” Crawford said post-fight. “My manager will make the fights happen and I will train and fight.”
In the co-feature, rising super lightweight star Felix Verdejo remained undefeated with a near shutout win over William Silva. It was easy work for the Puerto Rican star, who won virtually every round and simply had to remain the aggressor against a hesitant opponent to get the win. Silva landed just 45 punches in the fight and didn’t follow up when he landed significant punches, failing to take advantage of any possible opportunity. With a defensive opponent, the fight, albeit a boring one, was a good test for Verdejo, who successfully dominated an opponent with a more difficult style in front of a strong Puerto Rican contingent.
“This is a new learning experience,” Verdejo said. “I will learn from this and keep moving forward.”
The action took place in a packed theater, with some of the over 5,000 enthusiastic fans occasionally becoming unruly. A physical altercation between various members of the audience occurred in the same section of stands on two different occasions, forcing security and police to step in. No one was seriously hurt during the evening.
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