This past weekend he won the WBO super lightweight/junior welterweight title with a sixth round TKO over Thomas Dulorme 22-2 (14).
For the new title holder, Terence Crawford 26-0 (18), it's the second division in which he's captured a piece of a world title.
It was also Crawford's maiden fight in his new division after winning the WBO lightweight title and defending it twice successfully. And based on how he looked dismantling Dulorme, Crawford would have to be favored to beat any other upper-tier junior welterweight in the division.
The fight against Dulorme was good matchmaking, letting him test the waters against someone with talent and skill, but who wouldn't threaten him.
And I think it's a safe bet that neither of the two guys who fought the main event, Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov, would have a chance to beat him. The word great is tossed around too liberally today in professional sports, and boxing is no exception. I'm certainly not going to proclaim Terence Crawford as being great, no, not yet. But the makings are there and he is no doubt special and outstanding. His style and fighting aptitude reminds me of other past greats who were from an earlier era. Crawford has no weakness at all and is very dangerous. It really doesn't matter how you alter your attack against him. He mixes sound fundamentals and basics with defense, quick hands and he is much stronger physically than he looks to be.
Terence is also very loose and relaxed in the ring, and when he's been under heavy fire, I've never picked up that he was the least bit panicked or unsure of himself. And boy when he gets his opponent hurt or in trouble, he shows no mercy and doesn't waste a second closing the show.
The thing that really makes Crawford so tough to beat is his versatility. There are not many fighters who can beat other world class opponents so conclusively by fighting as the aggressor/attacker or by stepping back and letting the opponent bring the fight to them. If you bring the fight to him you'll get hit by every punch in the book, quickly and accurately. He'll jab you and then hook you to the body, and he loves to feint the right hand, then lets it go after his opponent freezes from the initial feint. And forget about drawing him to you, as we saw evidenced by the way he finished Dulorme. At the start of the sixth round Crawford held his ground and shot a few hard jabs and right hand leads to Dulorme's head as he inched him back, then exploded with a quick one-two to the chin that staggered him and he fell back to the ropes. Crawford then followed Dulorme to the ropes and touched him with a short chopping right hand followed by a short left hook that dropped him. After that Dulorme was hurt and a defenseless sitting duck open for Crawford's full arsenal of finishing punches.
Regardless of how his opponents have tried to attack Crawford, he always gets that big shot in that they never saw coming or had enough time to react to. He doesn't need any space to set up his shots and he's great at seeing where the punch can go, so basically he can get off from anywhere. Being confronted by a fighter with that type of skill set is like fighting someone with four arms and fist.Crawford has it all. He can punch and he always nails his opponent cleanly. Dulorme said after the fight that the shot that really hurt him, he didn't see coming…..and they're the ones that get you out.
It's funny that when watching Crawford box, you immediately start to think of fighters from other eras. Like the former great lightweight champ from the 1950s, Joe Brown. He also has some Ezzard Charles and Donald Curry in him too. He's a tall order for any junior welterweight in the world, and soon we may be saying that about the welterweights as well.
He's very well instructed, has a great boxers' body and his skin doesn't bust up or swell. He looks like the type of fighter who would've thrived in any era. Like so many of the old school greats from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, he is comfortable boxing or punching and he's equally effective at in-fighting. Today, most fighters only excel doing one or the other.
I've said it after his last fight and I'll say it again, Terence Crawford is experienced beyond his years. He's a natural with a brain like James Toney and Bernard Hopkins. He's not just physically gifted, his aptitude matches his body. His contemporary Adrien Broner is also a natural, but he has no boxing brain.If you're a boxing purist, Crawford is “must see” when he fights.
If there's a junior welterweight out there who can beat him, I haven't seen him fight.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
Photo credit : Rachel McCarson