This Saturday night, Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford will be looking to successfully retain his WBO welterweight championship for the third time against similarly undefeated Lithuanian challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas as part of a highly-anticipated double-header at at Manhattan’s famed venue, Madison Square-Garden.
The Omaha, Nebraska native – who, in certain quarters is regarded as the world’s best fighter courtesy of his supreme skills coupled with his impressive accomplishments – was most recently in action back in April with a routine victory, forcing Amir Khan to retire after six rounds; dropping him firstly in the opening round, and hurting him repeatedly thereafter.
Kavaliauskas, meanwhile, is a rugged, rough fighter renowned for his strength, stamina and an offensive-minded style that has seen him stop seventeen of his twenty-two opponents.
His sole career blemish, a draw, came out as a result of his encounter with Ray Robinson, who was able to frustrate him somewhat with his movement and spoiling.
Crawford, no doubt, being the champion that he is, will have identified the Lithuanian’s weaknesses and concocted a strategy with the guidance of trainer Brian McIntyre.
Therefore, expect the favourite to produce a dominant display, outmanouvring the challenger and outclassing him in the exchanges, before employing his own reserves of physical strength in addition to his combination punching to potentially force a stoppage down the stretch.
Teofimo ‘The Takeover’ Lopez will also have an opportunity to become the IBF lightweight champion in just his fifteenth fight, when he faces defending titlist Richard Commey of Ghana.
The undefeated contender has amassed a record of 14-0, most recently outpointing rangy Masayoshi Nakatani in July after stopping Finland’s Edis Tatli on April on the undercard of his friend and Top-Rank stablemate Crawford’s successful title defence against Amir Khan.
An economical, well-balanced boxer-puncher of Honduran extraction who possesses a venomous left-hook, Lopez has long been hailed as one of boxing’s most prodigious talents and has also attracted attention with his animated post-fight celebrations in addition to his persistently vocal calling-out of unified champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
Whether an eventual showdown for the undisputed championship will materialise afterwards remains to be seen, but it still rings true that Lopez absolutely cannot afford to overlook Commey, the heavy-handed champion who has his sights firmly set on derailing the hype-train surrounding Lopez.
After capturing the vacant IBF belt – on the second time of asking – with a stoppage victory over Isa Chaniev, he successfully retained his crown with another stoppage victory over seasoned veteran and former WBO lightweight champion Reymundo Beltran.
Nevertheless, expect the challenger to rise to the occasion and fulfil his promise with a punch-perfect performance, as he systematically dismantles and outclasses his Ghanaian counterpart to pull away with a wide win on the scorecards, if not a late stoppage, to hand Commey the first truly convincing loss of his career.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________