As America continues to overflow like a messy mug of beer at the “bah” (we’re in the Charlestown area of Boston near the Navy yard), new undisputed super lightweight king Terence “Bud” Crawford went from a classic beer to Anheuser-Busch.
Proving he’s Top Rank’s Midwest institution and a budding legend in front of 12,121 wild fans inside of Omaha’s Pinnacle Arena, Crawford (32-0, 23KOs) looked to be rounding into pound-for-pound best form with his 3rd round demolition of former WBA/IBF champion Julius Indongo (22-1, 12KOs).
What I appreciated so much about Crawford’s performance on Saturday night, was his sense of the moment and timing. This was a glitzy affair with the great Andre Ward calling the fight from ringside on ESPN (which has been spectacular in its return to boxing), on a card that featured the future in Shakur Stevenson.
Just three months ago, Crawford made Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz look like vanilla ice cream at Madison Square Garden in late May but probably felt upstaged by Errol Spence Jr a week later, when he destroyed Kell Brook to become the IBF welterweight champion.
Then, he watched S.O.G bludgeon tough SOB Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas; Mikey Garcia’s perfect fundamental blitz of Adrien Broner at Barclays in Brooklyn, and Vasyl Lomachenko’s sci-fi Neo effect on another quitting foe. He was buried under the Floyd Mayweather V Conor McGregor circus and on the heels of Canelo Alvarez V Gennady Golovkin.
Greatness senses opportunity and does something about it– on its own terms. Bud knew he needed something gaudy, while fully embracing the challenge of annexing all of the belts against a champion who had the look of a killer. This is the type of fighter deserving of your fandom. Someone dedicated to proving himself as violently as possible.
Indongo had ruthlessly beaten the hell out of Ricky Burns and damn near killed Eduard Troyanovsky to set the stage for Omaha; yet, there he was, collapsed like an accordion at 1:38 of the 3rd via right hook to the liver. It capped a very rare punching sequence to go along with a rare performance.
What we’re watching right now is a rangy hybrid of Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns approaching the best version of himself. Right now, he’d be too big for Lomachenko or Garcia, but big enough to defeat the likes of Keith “One-Time” Thurman or “Showtime” Shawn Porter. Bud would KO Danny “Swift” Garcia and looks to be the greatest threat to Spence.
Crawford possesses none of the still glaring technical or tactical flaws on display when I’d last seen him live at MSG against Hank Lundy in February 2016. He is now the most versatile “A” fighter in the sport and no less than the 3rd best fighter in the world.