“A lion never roars after the kill.”
To be synonymous with the above is standard for New York City. I’ve seen Shaq in his hey day saunter Broadway unfettered for signature moments with recognition; just as I’ve seen Terence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 25KOs) superfighter, anticipate being stopped just in case someone notices him. Such a moment occurred in Los Angeles about a year ago, as the unbeaten WBO welterweight champion and I crossed paths on a crowded Wilshire Blvd equally unbothered. He’s with his family after what appears to be a mini shopping spree, not that I care, and I can tell he recognizes me while pretending not to know. As I draw closer, I crack a wry smile — and he does too, for I’m familiar with this.
“Wassup Bud?” I drop, with the quick fist bump you’d exchange with a co-worker. With a smile equal parts common man appreciative and understanding he goes, “What’s goin on man.”
It occurred to me that no one knew he is very much a “Mean Machine” in the ring. A pugilistic iteration of a manic depressive Pernell Whitaker (RIP), in a most unapologetic way at that. They should — and that bothers me. Q-anon gets more props than he does, for truly being anonymous and not really making any sense. He’s the anti-Floyd Mayweather, in the sense he’s generally exciting in the ring but unabashedly dull outside of it. And he really doesn’t give a fuck. Only that he should.
“No, I don’t believe any one of those guys have passed me at this point in time,” Bud offered when asked about Canelo or Loma ahead of him pound-for-pound. “Kovalev has been stopped before, so he didn’t do nothing to Kovalev that hasn’t already been done.”
Cool. But Canelo, product of Mexico, is a matinee idol to teenage girls and women of all ages. A global superstar and a cult of personality. By contrast, Terence Crawford, product of the USA, is an A-list actor in his prime without a leading lady on camera. Much of that is owed to a rather pious disregard by either Premier Boxing Champions, Top Rank,or both, for his B movie offerings up to this point slant incongruous to a massive contract signed in September 2018.
Financial terms were and remain undisclosed, but when eccentric billionaire mogul Warren Buffet is one of your investors (as was the case with “Money” Mayweather), star-studded everything becomes an expectation. Only everything with this special fighter still feels as if we’re building toward anticlimactic, a perpetual state of foreplay if you will.
As for Vasiliy Lomachenko, product of Ukraine, “The Matrix” presents himself with the kind of insouciance that contains just enough mysterious arrogance and wit to offer an uncanny cool. He’s Neo in confident strides with his hands in both pockets and a smirk walking down 7th Ave in NYC. People gawk and slow their roll a little, unsure of who he is, but they know he’s somebody. I know this, because I’ve seen it first hand. Bud doesn’t do this, and for that reason, can not supplant Loma in this regard; nor can he do it based on degree of difficulty. When considered the best in the world – at anything, the challenges you’ve faced in terms of duress weighed against that which is to be expected, can’t pale in comparison to a contemporary you master in blood renderings.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17KOs), the actual “Mean Machine” (you try pronouncing that name, I don’t envy the broadcast team), isn’t a Sergey Kovalev — no matter how diminished.
And since Loma has pulled off association with an action hero, it’d be helpful if Bud conjured say, Shaft.
He doesn’t. But he’s starting to care. At 32, with a fistic maternity clock that’s “Ticking like this,” he should.
“I’m frustrated at nothing other than the time outside the ring,” Crawford told Indie Media the other day. “I thought I was going to fight three times this year and I got two. But that was the only thing I was disappointed about. I know he’s a hard worker and he’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He’s worked his way up to become mandatory, so I’m looking for a determined fighter come Saturday.”
Yeah. And judging by his draw with Ray Robinson (not even close to Sugar Ray Robinson, ladies and gentlemen), he gets lassoed and Picasso’d by the layer cake that is Crawford inside of six rounds. Flawless is a term attributed to Crawford often, by elite peers and pundits alike. From Timothy Bradley’s “Who are you?” after getting his ass kicked in sparring a few years ago to so many raving about him now. But I can think of at least two people who don’t feel the need to be complacent at all, and that would be Bud himself and trainer Brian “Bo-Mac” McIntyre. Bo-Mac is a chef, and he would know that the prodigious appetizers offered by Crawford has only left a case of the munchies for something sweeter. Boxing is a niche sport built around the superfight, and we just don’t know how good Bud’s smoke is. We should… we just don’t know. With no fault of his own, we don’t have a Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence or a Manny Pacquiao to give the streets an understanding of just how good “his shit” is, to be frank. He’s been chewing up Tad’s Steaks (set to close in New York City) when the public knows of the Gallagher’s Steakhouse offerings above. No one cares why or how or who in boxing. That’s why if I’m Bud, I turn into The Incredible Hulk at Madison Square Garden while turning “Mean Machine” into so many dime and nickle bags and demand to see “Money“.
Give Floyd credit. On a path to hell, it helped him to walk around like he owned the place. And they say where there’s smoke there’s fire.