Terence Crawford Impresses at MSG, Again: What’s Next?

The Theater at Madison Square Garden was packed last night and Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, the undefeated switch-hitter from Omaha, Nebraska, gave New York City exactly what it expected from a headliner. He stopped Hank Lundy and earned his third straight TKO victory.

Lundy was touching Crawford in the first two rounds as Crawford went through his routine feeling out process but none of the punches seemed to faze or frustrate Crawford, who switched from orthodox to unorthodox less than one minute into the fight. If you’ve seen Crawford fight enough times you know he’s a slow starter, but when Lundy got the better of Crawford in several of the exchanges in the first two rounds, it gave the impression this could be more challenging for Crawford than forecasted.

Rounds three and four were more evenly contested and Crawford began to find his groove while Lundy’s punches were landing with less frequency. Then round five rolled in.

In round five Crawford had Lundy timed perfectly and caught him with a big left hand that rocked him backwards. Before Lundy had a chance to recover Crawford jumped on him and delivered two more lefts that landed flush on Lundy’s head, sending him to the canvas. Lundy rose to his feet and attempted to fend off Crawford but shortly thereafter referee Steve Willis stepped in and saved Lundy from further punishment.

After watching Crawford’s performance against Lundy, you have to wonder if anyone at 140 can actually test him. Within the Top Rank stable there are three fighters who would present a challenge to the undefeated champ from Omaha.

Viktor Postol: The five-foot eleven Ukrainian would be a legitimate test because of his length and skill. Postol knows how to use his jab effectively and keep his opponents on the outside. Crawford, who is three inches shorter than Postol, is no stranger to taller opponents. He won a UD over five-foot eleven Breidis Prescott in 2013, the same year Lundy lost a UD to Postol. If Postol hadn’t won the vacant WBC junior welterweight title last year, #CrawfordPostol probably wouldn’t be on the table. Crawford has a much more impressive resume, plus stylistically, Postol’s low-risk methodology doesn’t lend itself to an action-packed affair.

Ruslan Provodnikov: The Siberian Rocky has a tendency to fight like a human punching bag, but with a chin that’s strong as steel and punches that raze fighters to the canvas, he has been able to overpower opponents with more skill. To say #CrawfordProvodnikov is an extremely compelling fight would be an understatement, especially if Crawford starts slow in his patterned way and gets caught early. Crawford knows how to handle pressure fighters but Provodnikov is relentless and has the innate ability to walk through punches. Putting these two in the ring together is a guaranteed Big Drama Show since Crawford doesn’t back down and Provodnikov never quits. This is a fight Bob Arum wants to make and the public needs to see.

Manny Pacquiao: If Pacquiao continues his career after a third fight with Timothy Bradley, Crawford would be the perfect opponent for Top Rank to offer their Filipino legend. Pacquiao is on his way out and Crawford is on his way up. There’s no better way to pass the torch than having #PacquiaoCrawford at the end of 2016 in a PPV event that sets the stage for a post-Mayweather era. Pacquiao’s aggressive style pairs well with Crawford’s, who comes forward, exchanges, and counters. Pacquiao is the obvious a-side in this matchup but a passing of the proverbial torch seems fitting since Pacquiao is seriously considering a career in politics after fighting professionally for over 20 years. This is a great fight for Crawford if he can get past his next opponent. Provodnikov, hopefully.