Terence Crawford is a “Mean MF'er”
Shit be important to me like the biscuit of The Fat Man
Don't make me hit you wit dat biscuit in the mask of Batman
I'm dat man
I always got a battle plan
Sneak up on you like I am the MF'ing Taliban
Go get her
Got em, bleeding
Scratches in head
I'm just better man
You know better than to fuck wit B
Ask Mean Machines in N.I.N.E
“Does divine curse,” he asked.
“It depends. Is ‘divine' a curse,” I wondered.
If man made laws, then from that stemmed language(s).
“His next fight is in China, so go figure,” said a gratuity free Todd DuBoef, President of Top Rank, clarifying the relevance of demographics. I'd just asked budding superstar and WBC/WBO super lightweight champion Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17KOs) about the prospects of a showdown in London with Scotland's WBA and RING Magazine super lightweight champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12KOs), recent conqueror of spicy Cajun enforcer Regis Progais. We're in the opulent bowels of Madison Square Garden for a pre-fight presser, to the left of a futuristic grand stage where Ramirez would dance ever dangerously with pound-for-pound superstar and WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (37-0, 26KOs).
“I turned pro with Top Rank and this is where I want to be,” said Ramirez, after the Hanford, CA product signed a long term and undisclosed extension with boxing's preeminent promotional magnet. “While I am a unified champion, there is so much more to be accomplished. I want to become undisputed champion in 2020, and I am confident that my dream will become reality.”
The long and stout Ramirez would present an interesting challenge to Bud, while also serving as yet another example of in-house brilliance from The Bobfather. As if to say, “Oh, so the [other side of the street] is surrounded by police tape? I've got something for your ass.” Ramirez, in particular, flaunted a real looker on the new block over the summer, pounding Maurice Hooker in six…
..to become unified champ while earning an assignment with Viktor Postol of Ukraine behind The Great Wall of China. I like Ramirez, and all that he does in a very genuine capacity for fire ravaged California and immigrants far beyond Fresno. I'm thinking these warm thoughts upon leaving the press room and approaching MSG's Y-shaped fork in the basement, as I decide to head left for the main arena and ringside. It’s been awhile; I'm feeling something like Matt Damon's “Good Will Hunting” from a place of influential obscurity, to Universal Dean of Admissions with a confident insecurity. The setting is modern euro-extravagant, as my peers look like subjects of mischievous curiosity and ambivalence. So do the ring card girls and those who gamble with optics.
“I'm vegan,” goes Charles Ferrell, from the well done Deadspin. I start to call him this, until I realize he's just announced what I want to be, as opposed to the opportunivore circumstances and a $25 meal voucher dictates. I like him right away, as my fight game rich aficionado/ringside neighbor and I begin an unofficial call that turns into a lot of fun. We ponder the merits of Anthony Joshua Vs Andy Ruiz Jr II and their $60 million dollar bore (what Saudi Arabia forked over to host the affair according to a source) during an oddly ponderous action fight between Irish tough guy Michael Conlan and Russia's gritty Vladimir Nikitin. He's in the AJ boxing clinic camp regarding that performance. I'm thinking it's the equivalent of Lennox Lewis getting even with a fat Hasim Rahman via uncharacteristically vanilla Floyd Mayweather 🦌 in the headlights style.
All week long I've thought about Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12KOs). The best fighter to ever emerge from Honduras, Teo had some going-through-the-motions issues with a flat Edis Tatli of Finland and was downright shaky against Japan's angular and cagey Masayoshi Nakatani.
(EDITOR NOTE: Bad take from Tim Bradley riffing on that fight, BTW.)
The punk I saw barreling down 7th Ave with what looked like a gang prior to Loma Vs Rigo in December 2017; all but wearing a uniform emblazoned with “Hey, I'm an Asshole” in neon print was gone. Don't ask me why but it bothered me. He looked uncomfortable in the tailored suit and sockless shoe number after Tatli on April 20, almost looking around the press room for some sweats and a hoodie. Amid speculation of a rift between his family (most notably his Father/trainer) over new wife Cynthia ruining his swag, I found myself giving Mrs. Lopez the stink eye. Thinking better of things as if to channel Tina Turner, I'm like: “What's love got to do with it?” There's nothing better than love.
When I looked over the Nakatani fight the other day, it was more or less a style and lifestyle adjustment in the process of realignment. A different approximation of a lightweight Vasiliy Lomachenko being thoroughly tested by a big 135 lb Jorge Linares, then a highly motivated Jose Pedraza following shoulder surgery. You saw what Loma did to Anthony Crolla. I also saw Richard Commey against Ray Beltran and was less than enthralled. Most glaring, in my estimation, when weighing Lopez Vs Commey with Charles during our little montage off camera, was the speed difference between them — heavily tilted in Teo's favor.
Armed with data from a few scouts I trust, who were able to inform me during fight week that camp was smooth and Cynthia seemed more Adrian Balboa than say Jin Mosley, that meant Commey was getting KTFO rather quickly. Told Charles as much, who worked hard to sell a tough UD for Teo. Told our own NYF grinder Abe Gonzalez in a text on Friday. Speed kills, and boy did he deliver. In a career best performance that conjured Edwin Rosario's thudding dismissal of Livingston Bramble, Lopez landed a drone strike on the Ghanaian Commey that resonated all through Central America – and Ukraine – before a furious assault summoned the referee to halt the contest in the 2nd round for a TKO. The beaming new WBA lightweight champion was immediately greeted by a stately Loma, as an LSU jersey #9 wearing Teo was caught in a frame that will hang on my wall of “The One”. What an epic match-up that will be for boxing (and the world) in April 2020.
Xander Zayas Castro comes over and greets me with a very cordial and warm reception, flashing the same megawatt smile on display in front of a photograph taken of him in front of a portrait of a young lawyer named Bob Arum and some loudmouthed guy named Muhammad Ali. Everything tells me this kid, a precocious talent of rare ability, will become the next Puerto Rican icon. “It's a Matriarchal society, the fighters on the island have to delve deep in order to produce that fire. They don't like upsetting their Mothers,” opines Charles, who lived on the island. All I know is WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford was raised by a Midwest Mama from a different Hell's kitchen, who turned him into the grimey fork and spoon on every hood wall, in addition to the cast iron skillet that cooked everything in the hood kitchen.
Why would Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17KOs) aka “Mean Machine” be any different?
In front of 10,101 fans of holiday fervor, the 4th dimensional destroyer from Omaha, NE showcases himself as a big welterweight, and surprises by coming out tight but aggressive. After processing a machine that did indeed qualify for anger management, Bud kept stoking flames in the southpaw stance while charting to his left; a place where offense is maximized, but where his defense will be most vulnerable. The fact that Kavaliauskas, a compact fighter of powerful mid-range energy, now found himself lined up with a fighter who has deliberately positioned himself directly into the eye of his storm, means that Crawford very much wants to Kill or Be Killed.
Determined to land his vaunted straight left — without even much use for the right jab, Bud gets buzzed with alarming frequency in the 2nd round and almost goes down. But that's right around the time when shit went down. “Crawford is a mean bastard,” I'm telling Charles, somewhere around the 4th or 5th round. “He's pissed off. And it's almost like he's a “Pac-Man” flavored Bud in there tonight. This is interesting because he's absorbing the Mean Machine and draining him at the same time.”
This performance had a cold-blooded Grinch written all over it. How do? Crawford basically forced Kavaliauskas to vacant his ring property on short notice; forcing him into homelessness like a fistic landlord gone sinister, while gradually producing a hopelessness exacerbated by scathing hooks, crosses and uppercuts before bouncing his check in the 9th round.
“I was loading up a lot because the first couple clean shots I landed, I knew I hurt him. I wanted to give the crowd a knockout. When I started letting my hands go, I started landing more fatal shots.”
And Shawn Porter just cancelled his Showtime subscription. His ‘jumping the gun' description of Arum calling Crawford Vs Porter is more adjacent to ‘wanting to run'. And if that's the case so be it. In 2020, The Fat Man behind Bud's grill isn't about PBC steak marination. Vergil Ortiz was on the scene and he can come get it. By late 2020, Jose Ramirez will be more than ready to bring it. But what about around May? As in “💰” May?
You wonder, was there enough crude element to Bud's messy massacre of the Mean Machine to send Floyd Mayweather on a mouth watering odyssey to tempt fate as TBE for ultimate glory in boxing lore? A Mean MF'er wants to know.