Terrence Crawford victorious in four
Terrence Crawford expanded his record to 37-0 with 28 knockouts and 14-0 with 11 knockouts in title fights with his win over Kell Brook. This was his 4th successful defense of the title he won back in 2018 from Jeff Horn and his 8th consecutive stoppage. His domination in the ring has met little challenge and Saturday night was not much different. Brook may have had the lead after three rounds on Dave Moretti and Benoit Roussel’s scorecards but after the third round the scoring looked to be unnecessary. Crawford was slow to begin the fight, much like he was against Thomas Dulorme, but at the end of the third round it was clear who was in control. Brook was able to jab with the patient Crawford and had some early success as Crawford studied his offerings. Despite Brook’s participation at 160 and 154, it was Crawford who looked like the bigger man in there and stayed at range nullifying Brook from mounting any serious offense. In the third round Crawford began out of the southpaw stance and the fight changed shape. Out of the opposite stance he could catch Brook’s jab, sneak in a tricky right hook that had the delivery of a jab and surprise Kell with his left hand at the new angle. In fact, Crawford reversed his 1-2 by going with his rear hand left to lead and then follow with a power jab from his right hand out front. I couldn’t get my embed time stamp to work but if you skip to 9:45 as instructed in the caption the finishing sequence is not far ahead. Crawford essentially set Brook up by pawing out with his right hand to instigate a reaction from Kell before unleashing his right hook. Watch as he sticks the hand out and catches Brook just tapping back with a feeble left rather than jab at him or throwing a more powerful right hand. Crawford does this several times before sweeping a right, disguised as a jab, around the left and sends Brook crashing into the ropes.
Was the stoppage early? I feel it was, however the fight was strategically over as Brook was definitely hurt and moments away from Crawford really dropping the hammer on him. Tony Weeks intervened and the fight was over about midway through the fourth round. In the aftermath Crawford has continued to call out Manny Pacquiao, the legend and the fight that has eluded him for years. Both were with Top Rank simultaneously for years but Bob Arum never made the fight. Arum has recently said he had the fight sealed for the Middle East but it was ruined by the pandemic. Below is a Fight Hype interview where Arum discusses the difficulties in securing Crawford’s big fights. Crawford is in a rare position of insanely talented and recognized as a top fighter based on the “eye test” but is not a commercial success and does not have the resume of opposition to strengthen the claim by some that he is the best fighter in the world. I believe he has some solid wins and unifying all four titles at 140 is no small feat. He was only the second fighter to ever do that and one of just three men to accomplish the achievement. Currently Errol Spence Jr. is the fight to make at welterweight with Crawford holding the WBO title and Spence carrying the WBC and IBF. The two men are 33 and 30 respectively and are undefeated with serious accolades. For the last 12 to 24 months boxing has been buzzing about this collision of undefeated champions in their prime. Unfortunately, boxing politics has done what it has been good at for many years now and that is block big fights. Whether it is purse splits, TV networks, promoters etc. this fight has been delayed and I and others feat will happen way too late. Of course it is not as big of a match up as Mayweather and Pacquiao but that is the clearest example of a fight happening too late and the fans feeling let down by the product they actually got once the time came. I am all the more frustrated because I think from an entertainment and competitive stand point that this is a better fight than Pacquaio and Mayweather. I will state clearly that if Crawford is not in there against Pacquiao or Spence in his next fight I will no be so interested in watching.
Terrence Crawford is also nearing the end of his contract with Arum and will be a free agent in October of 2021. He can still try and get the big fights through Arum until October but if 2021 does not bring these contests I think it is about time he will leave and I think he should. Arum’s interview is a little bit all over the place but he is throwing some stones at Crawford and boasting about his position against PBC based on his deal with ESPN. He starts off blaming the pandemic and the lack of the gate for securing big fights. He then goes on to state that he has the leverage over Al Haymon based on his ESPN deal where they have such a huge audience and customer base to buy PPV’s and run ads. Finally, he covers his tracks by blaming Crawford’s inability to sell himself as the main reason for his commercial short comings and struggles to get the big fights he desires. I find it a little bit of a rambling cop out as he blames the pandemic, politics and even his own fighter when in reality he is the promoter. Maybe this is just where we are as a sport. Pay-per -view has been battled by DAZN and illegal streaming while many networks try to promise that they are killing or limiting PPV. There has not been a major PPV star since Mayweather though Canelo had his moments prior to getting off of PPV during the DAZN years. Fighters saw what top PPV draws can make and want that money and in many instances fighters are getting paid very highly but without PPV or a gate I wonder about the sustainability of the sport in its current form.
Katie Taylor and Terri Harper successfully defend titles on DAZN
Katie Taylor defended all four major titles at lightweight for the 2nd time following her total unification against Delfine Persoon in 2019. Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez was iron tough in there as she refused to give in over the course of ten punishing rounds. All three judges had it wide in favor of Taylor with one score giving Gutierrez just on round, I disagree with that one round. Taylor came out very aggressive and landed hard right hands immediately. By the third round the difference in class had shown clearly as Taylor continued to hammer away with combinations and did damage with her left hook. Miriam was rocked badly in third and at that moment I felt the fight was a moment away from being stopped. The fight fell into that sort of pattern as Taylor would batter Gutierrez with referee John Latham looking in close only for Taylor to relent. Gutierrez did hit the canvas in round 4 but the round was practically over. The hand speed and accuracy on a left hook right hand sent Miriam to the canvas quickly though I felt she was more hurt in the third.
With the victory Taylor has quite a few opportunities. The leading candidate who was discussed by Chris Mannix on DAZN jabs is Amanda Serrano. She is an elite female boxing champion who last year took Heather Hardy’s 0 and is a known female fighter in the NY market and could be a good US fight. COVID could be an obstacle especially in making a sellable fight in NYC. McCaskill is the only other female fighter to hold 4 titles and sits a top the welterweight division. This is makeable also in part because McCaskill moved up to win the title and would not be a huge and imposing welterweight for Taylor. The downside is Taylor’s victory over her in the first fight and the lack of clamor to see a rematch even if it is for a chance at history. The other obstacle is the likelihood of Braekhus getting her rematch and a chance to reclaim her titles and Taylor wanting to stay active. Of course Taylor could always pursue the winner of that rematch down the road.
Terri Harper defended her WBC 130 lb. title for the second time on the undercard at Wembley with a 9th round stoppage over Katherina Thanderz. The fight was a domination from the start before a body shot wilted Thanderz leading to a TKO. Harper kept the fight at range and boxed beautifully behind a jab and prevented Thanderz from having any real moments in the fight. It was a far cry from the war she experienced with Natasha Jonas where she came away with a disputed draw in a hard fought bout. Boxingscene reports that Eddie Hearn signed WBA champion Hyun Mi Choi and IBF champion Maiva Hamadouche in the hope of unifying titles. Hearn is definitely making moves in women’s boxing with cards like this and unifying titles. Also on the card:
Rachel Ball advances to 7-1 in winning the WBC super bantamweight title against now 9-2-2 Jorgelina Guanini in a dominant unanimous decision victory
9-0 John Docherty upset by 18-1-2 Jack Cullen at 168 lbs. Cullen got off the deck to win a grueling ten round decision
Boxing controversy strikes again: Andrew Moloney the next victim
As I have stated on this forum I try to keep my posts very positive and respectful of all of those involved but damn! I cannot embed ESPN.com’s link to the travesty that happened on the Crawford undercard in the Andrew Moloney vs Joshua Franco rematch for the WBA title at 115 lbs. but it was a top to bottom miscarriage of sporting justice. Moloney can be seen clearly landing a jab to the eye of Joshua Franco that led to the swelling that ultimately ended the fight. Referee Russell Mora ruled the stoppage was caused by a clash of heads and not the punch. Instant replay has made its way into boxing and it appeared that despite the wrongful decision in the ring, the guys at the screen would make the right call. Well after over twenty-five minutes the obvious was not done and the fight was ruled a no contest. Moloney lost his chance at revenge as this was his second crack at Franco whom he was defeated by last June. He also robbed at the glory of wearing a world championship title around his waist and have his moment in the sun.
-Raymond Muratalla and Duke Ragan scored victories and advanced their undefeated records to 11-0 (9) and 3-0 (1) on the undercard. These are two fighters I have written about in my keeping up with boxing in the Bubble at MGM Grand and are prospects I am high on.
KO Artists Headline PBC on FS1
In the co-main event Efe Apochi a Nigerian born cruiserweight fighting out of Houston reached 10-0 all by knockout with a third round KO of 11-2 Joe Jones. Apochi is trained by Ronnie Shields and is a strong fighter. He scored knockdowns in all three rounds on his way to victory. He does seem a little stiff in the ring but is definitely a calm operator and his punches travel a short distance to score and score with power. I do see a few things fundamentally that he should fix and that is his tendency to pull his right hand back when throwing the 1-2 and returning his right hand low after throwing it. Jones was mostly incapable of landing anything that took advantage of this except for one good right hand in the second round. The other are where he showed a problem was slow footwork and reaction when Jones circled. On at least one occasion Jones stepped to the side and got all the way around Apochi and could have landed a devastating blow from an angle he could not see but just did not have the ability. A better fighter would. With that said even when these angles were created Apochi did maintain a high guard and was safe even when out of position.
-On the same card both A side fighters lost with 7-0 Henry Arredondo falling to 9-0 Eros Correa at featherweight in a majority decision and 6-1 Desmond Lyons falling to 2-2-2 Diego Elizondo at lightweight