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Starry Night in New York: Crawford and Teofimo Light Up Madison Square Garden



Terence Crawford told people all week, do not underestimate an Olympian, promoter Bob Arum advised us not to look past a tough Eastern European. But folks figured Crawford would have an easy work outing versus Egis Kavaliauskas Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden, and on ESPN.

Wasn’t that; “Mean Machine” made Bud work hard to get the W in front of 10,000 plus patrons, and even buzzed the Nebraskan real good. He stood in the pocket, showed better hand speed than pre-game detractors figured, and pushed the WBO welterweight champion in a way that resulted in a fan friendly scrap. Crawford did what he’s done to this point, meaning, figured out the right angles and moments to ramp it up.

Bud scored a stoppage win (above picture by Mikey Williams for Top Rank) and managed to grab back much of the buzz that newly crowned 135 champ Teofimo Lopez snagged when he pitbullied Richard Commey and mugged him, Central Park 1977 style, scoring a stoppage victory.

Fans enjoyed the conclusive efforts and climaxes and also can luxuriate in a buzz cocoon moving forward. It looks like we are track for a Crawford versus Shawn Porter Top Rank/PBC inter-mingle match, and Lopez will seemingly see if older dog Vasyl Lomachenko can stay in the pound for pound top three in April 2020.

NOTE: More people have Crawford at P4P No. 1 than Loma, do you?

Here is the release sent out by Top Rank:

NEW YORK CITY (Dec. 14, 2019) —   Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas was game, but pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford was too much.

Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) defended his WBO welterweight world title, knocking down Kavaliauskas three times en route to a ninth-round TKO in front of 10,101 fans at Madison Square Garden.

“I thought I had to entertain ya’ll for a little bit. He’s a strong fighter, durable, and I thought I’d give the crowd something to cheer for,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t hurt at all. I got up and went straight to him. I wasn’t hurt by no means. I walked through everything he threw all night.

“I’m not ducking anyone on the PBC side or Top Rank platform. I want to fight all the top guys.”

Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) had some success early, even buzzing Crawford in the third round with a near-knockdown. Crawford rebounded, reloaded and dominated per usual, cementing his status at the top of the welterweight and pound-for-pound heap.

Teofimo Lopez Blows Out Richard CommeyA superstar was born.

Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) blitzed Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) in two rounds to win the IBF lightweight world title. Lopez knocked Commey down with a right hand in the second round and followed up with a savage combination that forced referee David Fields to stop the fight. 

Lopez made history in becoming the first boxer of Honduran descent to win a world title. He is now on track to challenge unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in a fight that would crown an undisputed champion in 2020.“I’m at a loss for words right now. This is a dream come true,” Lopez said. “{Commey} is a bad man. His shot could’ve done the same to me if he hit me with that shot.
“You all know who I want to fight next. 2020 is going to be a big year. ‘The Takeover’ has arrived, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”Said Lomachenko: “We want to ‘unificate’ all four titles. Now he’s a world champion and now he’s in position to fight me.”Conlan Wins Grudge MatchRevenge came for Michael “Mick” Conlan, but it was wasn’t easy. The pride of Belfast, Conlan earned a 10-round unanimous decision over Vladimir Nikitin to retain his WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Conlan controlled the bout, but Nikitin had his moments and found a home for his overhand right.
Nikitin (3-1, 0 KOs) was the beneficiary of a controversial decision over Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a decision that sparked an international firestorm and set up this highly anticipated grudge match.

“It was a lot of pressure going into that fight, but it’s nice to get it done. I just needed to get that one back,” Conlan said. “I needed to right this wrong. Full credit to Nikitin, who fought his heart out. There’s no bad blood. There never was. Now, we can put this chapter of my career behind me.”

— This wasn’t unlucky number 13. Super middleweight sensation Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs) scored the 13th consecutive first-round knockout to begin his career, icing the normally durable Cesar Nunez (16-2-1, 8 KOs) in only 2:45. Berlanga notched a pair of knockdowns before the referee halted the bout.

Berlanga said he came into the fight determined to keep his first-round knockout streak going in honor of his late cousin, Anthony Santana, who was murdered during training camp.
“It feels amazing to be able to represent {Puerto Rico} on such a big and important stage as Madison Square Garden,” Berlanga said. “My cousin was killed while I was preparing for this fight and that’s why I wanted to dedicate this fight to him. I wanted to keep my first-round knockout streak going for him. I did it. I promise that for the next one I will go more rounds and I will be able to show all my skills. I’m not just a puncher.”

— Josue “The Prodigy” Vargas (16-1, 9 KOs), the Bronx product, put on a show in front of the home fans and bested former sparring partner Noel Murphy (14-2-1, 2 KOs) via unanimous decision (98-92 3X) to win the vacant IBF North American junior welterweight title. 

“What a blessing to fight in front of my home fans and put on a show for them and everyone watching on ESPN+,” Vargas said. “The belt means the world to me. I know this isn’t a world title, but I am on my way. To be 21 years old and fight at The Garden is truly special.”
— Super lightweight prospect Julian “Hammer Hands” Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) cruised to an eight-round unanimous decision (80-71 2x and 79-72) over the gameManuel Mendez (16-7-3, 11 KOs), who was knocked down in the opening round.

— Undefeated lightweight contender George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs) took home the most significant win of his career, edging former world champion Mickey Bey (23-3-1, 11 KOs) via split decision.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine,, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.