SAN DIEGO, February 26, 2016 – Undefeated super lightweight Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, takes his skills on the road to New York City on Saturday for his first bout at Madison Square Garden against “Hammerin” Hank Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia.
It’s Crawford’s first bout outside the Midwest since his breakout victory over Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland in March 2014. The upset win helped Crawford put together a spectacular year, winning 2014 Fighter of the Year honors from the majority of boxing writers.
Crawford fills the house in Omaha full of devoted fans, none more devoted than the most famous guy in Omaha, financial genius Warren Buffett. Buffett says he wasn’t a boxing fan until Crawford came along. Now he shows up wearing Crawford fan gear and sitting in the upper deck with the hardcore fans. Buffett is a boss.
Crawford is immensely talented. He had knockout power, but he has learned to be patient, studying his opponent like a cobra, betraying no intentions until he is ready to strike and strike hard. Crawford can switch from an orthodox stance to southpaw and back again with ease, confusing and frustrating his opponents. Crawford also has the defensive skills of a young Floyd Mayweather. He works just as hard at being hard to hit as he does his offensive skills.
No one gives Lundy much of a chance against Crawford. Lundy is Philly tested and tough, but despite solid skills he never reached the top levels of the sport. Lundy can test the best though, and that’s what he will try to do against Crawford.
Lundy took on the easy-going Crawford from the moment their fight was announced. He trash talked Crawford and then turned on Crawford’s family, especially his girlfriend, the mother of his children. Most boxers consider family off limits, but Lundy hasn’t ever respected those boundaries. Crawford and Lundy genuinely dislike each other. They scuffled at their final news conference on Thursday when Crawford pushed Lundy after they traded words.
“Every punch I hit you, you’re going to feel Philadelphia. You’re going to feel my pain, my struggle,” said Lundy.
“This dude don’t know what he’s got himself into … When you get in front of me, you see a different thing. Don’t blink, because it might be a quick one,” said Crawford.
Lundy will regret giving Crawford any extra motivation. Crawford’s previous opponent Dierry Jean and his trainer insulted Crawford prior to their bout in October. Crawford took Jean apart. After the bout, he pointed to Jean’s battered face during a post-fight interview in the ring, saying “You can look to your left and see those two guys that called me out, twice.” Then looking right at Jean, Crawford asked him, “Did you get what you came for?”
See the news conference highlights here.
Watching Crawford develop the ability to tap an inner mean streak when he needs it makes him even more intimidating than he is already. Fans may feel a little disappointed in Saturday’s opponent, but Crawford finds himself in the same position as Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, and even Roman Gonzalez. No one is too eager to take a beat down until there is no other option, or until the money is good enough to make it worthwhile. The real test for Crawford Saturday isn’t in the ring; it’s whether he can fill the Theater at MSG and generate decent ratings for HBO.
While we would all love to see Crawford fight someone like Viktor Postol, or even get a shot at Manny Pacquiao if the Filipino star decides to extend his career beyond his April bout with Timothy Bradley Jr,, better to see Crawford keeping busy and not letting the lack of a true challenge prevent him from working.
On the undercard, rising Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo (19-0-0, 14 KOs) takes on William Silva (23-0-0, 14 KOs) of Brazil. Silva may be the best lightweight in Brazil, but he doesn’t even crack the top 100 in the world. His record lacks any significant opposition. Silva has gone the 12 round distance twice and he’s had a handful of bouts outside the U.S., just enough to give him the opportunity.
This is a showcase bout for Verdejo in front of his fans. It is his fifth appearance in New York. The 22-year-old appears to be the real deal with flashy, crowd-pleasing skills. The moment Miguel Cotto retires, Verdejo will become Puerto Rico’s most popular boxer on the world stage. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Crawford, Lundy, Verdejo and Silva all made weight with ease on Friday.
Crawford vs. Lundy and Verdejo vs. Silva, HBO Boxing, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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