Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol each make his debut at MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Saturday, July 23. This looks to be a WBC/WBO unification fight which is always good news not to mention that both of these guys are tops in their division, something of a rarity in boxing these days when a fight between the #1 and #2 happens, so lets hope boxing can continue to fight it’s way out of the stinking abyss it had sunk into circa last year.
Crawford recently got into some kind of bad funk with a mechanic doing some work on his classic car that resulted several pending criminal charges filed against him, perhaps emblematic of the pressures of being Top Ranks newest darling. While I don’t think the incident will be a factor in the outcome of the fight, he’ll be frustrated over all the questions about it for sure. May also have dragged down his hereto steady promotional rise for glory. Then again, he may gain promotional traction as American boxing’s newest bad boy. Certainly never hurt TUE 49-0 and his little buddy, Adrien Broner.
One thing is always a certainty, a great fight absolves a fighter of any previous sins, not that Crawford had really committed any serious sins yet. The gold standard of modern 140lb fights would be the classic wildman Aaron Pryor vs gentleman Alexis Arguello, definitely in the running for greatest ever fights that featured more high end boxing skills and adjustments displayed, ebb and flow of action, and vicious slugging than any single fight I’ve ever seen, finally concluding with a brutally, conclusive, concussive ending in the 14th round that left us in awe of what we just saw.
I doubt this fight can live up to that, but both these boys came up hard, poor, and hungry, so I’m expecting a hard traditional scrap as Crawford comes in with 3 straight KOs and Postal with 2 KO of his last 3 fights. One thing for sure, Arum is the best at developing his fighters with both learning bouts and the toughest bouts possible that this represents.
The 32 year old Ukrainian born and raised Postol is in the current mold of the ubiquitous “nameless/faceless” Eastern European washing up on US shores these days attempting to make a Gennady Golovkin or Sergey Kovalev type splash. Haven’t seen any of him save his dismantling of Lucas Martin Matthysse which is about as top shelf as it gets at 140 lbs these days. Listed at 5-11 with a near 74″ reach, he will loom over Crawford like he’s never been loomed over before. He seems to be an excellent technician with an all around kind of style that poses problems for anyone, but perhaps more importantly, Freddy Roach has been further sculpting him into a modern pro style, and more worrisome for Crawford, adding more power. Needless to say, the difference in trainer credentials between Freddie Roach and Crawford’s long time trainer, Brian McIntyre, more colloquially known as BoMac, is monumental. Certainly we can’t summarily dismiss BoMac’s thus far stellar credentials that seemingly have roots based on a long standing mutual commitment to Crawford, an inherent trust between the two that may well be more important in a tough fight than technical instruction.
The stakes have grown also with this being the 28 year old Crawford’s first PPV, not that I think he’ll pull in much more than 100K numbers, but I’m hoping to be surprised on that front since this is such a good bout that boxing fans need to get behind. Both are being mentioned as front runners for the Manny Pacquiao comeback, the jackpot of boxing
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is reportedly planning a supporting exhibition match between two alltime legends, Roberto Duran and Julio Cesar Chavez, to take place on the undercard. According to Arum, the two ring legends would face off in a two-round exhibition match wearing headgear and 16-ounce gloves. Duran last fought in 2001 and Chavez back in 2005, and although the timelines of their divisions never overlapped, they seemed to have developed an intense rivalry, meaning this might well turn out to be a really short war. Both have won over 100 career fights, but Duran is significantly older at age 65 compared to 54 year old Chavez. Perhaps more important, Duran looks to have lost at least 70 lbs of late, putting him at 180 or so, meaning with some training he might get down to 170 and will still be bigger than Chavez who seems to have stayed reasonably close to his fighting weight, say around 150 or so.
Hard to know how the big main event turns out since it seems more likely than not to go to a Las Vegas decision, ie another crapshoot that riles up the ever diminishing fan base of boxing to quit the sport. We can only hope for the officiating to operate at as near at an optimal level which will still be well short of the level top fighters operate at. The public has been clamoring for some time now for more consistent, fairly officiated fights. Sadly, fairness is too often lacking since officiating amounts to a part time job. Judges are stuck tabulating an outdated, bloated points system that totals up to 119-108 or 115-113 basketball type of scores that never reflect what actually happens in the ring.
While I see the fight as basically even, Vegas reportedly gives 6-1 odds on Crawford making a Postol bet a jackpot winner as they try to guide the bets into the best results for them which probably explains the problems with officiating as mentioned above.
Crawford and Postol both need more divisional rivals to fight to become true crossover stars with the public, but anything is possible when the time is ripe, and boxing is desperately ripe for a fresh all time great trilogy type of rivalry to be birthed with ever increasing stakes to be reaped. We can still dream, can’t we?