SAN DIEGO, July 23, 2016 – Although Terence “Bud” Crawford was considered the favorite in his title fight against Viktor “Iceman” Postol Saturday night, knowledgeable boxing fans looked forward to a competitive fight with no assured outcome.
It turned out it was a trademark Terence Crawford fight from start to finish. Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs) didn’t score a knockout, but the outcome wasn’t in question as he dominated the Ukrainian, handing Postol (28-1, 12 KOs) his first knockdowns and first professional defeat.
Crawford, the consensus 2014 Fighter of the Year making a good case for himself again in 2016, is now the unified WBO and WBC champion.
Crawford immediately settled into a southpaw stance, and he fought from southpaw for most of the fight, although he circled to the right in the typical style of an orthodox boxer. He took his time to observe Postol in the first few rounds. He said after the fight he was“just checking out his body language, seeing what he like to do and don’t like to do” of Postol.
Postol fought behind his jab in the first few rounds, applying pressure with it. Crawford was content to let Postol be the busier fighter to start with. At the end of Round 2, Crawford landed a snapping left hook counterpunch to Postol’s head, a sign of things to come. Postol had a good third round, but trainer Freddie Roach warned Postol not to be lazy with his jab, or Crawford would come over with counterpunches. Roach isn’t a Hall of Fame coach for nothing, and he turned out to be prophetic. After the fight, Roach admitted, “His speed was unbelievable.”
Crawford started after Postol in earnest in the fourth round. In the first few seconds of Round 5, Crawford turned the tide in the fight for good. He hit Postol with two left hooks, rocking Postol off balance. His knee hit the canvas, and Postol found himself listening to the referee’s knockdown count for the first time in his career. Crawford repeated the sequence later in the round, and this time Postol put a glove down. Crawford hit Postol several times hard again before the end of the round. The real damage was to Postol’s confidence; it was almost visibly disappearing like seeing the air being let out of a balloon.
From this point, Crawford controlled the fight. He gave a master class in movement around the ring. Crawford piled up the points on the scorecards, tagging Postol in Round 9 and against in Round 11 as Postol came in trying to land something, anything on Crawford. Crawford’s speed neutralized anything Postol tried to do. In frustration, Postol hit Crawford with several rabbit punches. At the end of the 11th, referee Tony Weeks took a point away from Postol. The fight was effectively over.
Give Postol credit though for going for broke in Round 12, and the fans got to enjoy a few minutes of crazy action with Crawford willing and able to go toe to toe with Postol before he sobered up and wised up, spending the last minute of the fight taunting Postol, sticking out his tongue, smiling and celebrating. It was a show for the many devoted fans from his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska who made it to Las Vegas to support their hometown hero.
Two judges scored the fight 118-107, and the third 117-108, all for Crawford.
Crawford landed 114 of 338 total punches (36 percent); Postol landed 83 of 244 punches (34 percent). The real difference was in the power punching stats. Crawford landed 107 of 216 power punches (50 percent), Postol 55 of 137 (40 percent).
Crawford said after the fight, “I just stuck to what I knew, boxing. They say he got the best jab in boxing. I proved different today … It was frustrating for him. He was in for a long night.”
Postol said after the bout, “What I tried to do was make it an exciting fight. The other side didn’t want to do that.” Congratulating Crawford on his win, Postol added, “Hopefully people still believe in me.”
Crawford expressed some annoyance with those who felt he had ducked serious competition including Postol. “Everybody kept saying I was running from him, scared of him. That’s not true. We wanted the fight. It happened and I’m here now.”
So would he be interested in an offer to fight Manny Pacquiao upon his awaited return to the ring? “It’s whatever. I let my coaches handle that. Like I told y’all, I’m a fighter. Of course, anybody. I’m looking for all the biggest and best fight to get me to that next level.”
Whether Top Rank promoter Bob Arum would really feed the veteran Pacquiao up to Crawford, the better and more likely opponent is titleholder Jessie Vargas, who was ringside watching the bouts. It’s hardly likely Arum would ruin any chance of a rematch between Pacquiao and that other recently “retired” fighter Floyd Mayweather. Roach, who trains Pacquiao, said he wasn’t sure what was next for Manny.
In a gracious gesture, Crawford concluded his post-fight remarks in the ring by wishing the members of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team good luck in Rio next month.
The fight will replay on HBO Boxing next Saturday, July 30, at 10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. She is owner of the Falcon Valley Group based in San Diego, California. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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