3 More Rounds

Crawford Scintillates Against Hank Lundy; Verdejo Victorious

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photos: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Terence “Bud” Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) is one of the best fighters in the world and, yet, not a major household name in the United States. That makes finding fights hard to come by. So, what’s a fighter to do? Just keep getting better and keep putting on explosive performances against those that will fight you. Mission Accomplished.

In his first major headlining fight in New York City, Crawford thrilled the crowd at the Theater at Madison Square Garden by decimating respected contender “Hammerin” Hank Lundy (26-6-1, 13 KOs) en route to a fifth round stoppage. With the win, Crawford maintains control of his WBO Super Lightweight title and moves a step forward to a major fight in the future.

Crawford – who has beaten the likes of Yuriorkis Gamboa, among others – stepped into the ring as the heavy favorite and found himself in some early trouble when Lundy managed to connect with a series of hard left hands early on in the first round. Crawford, an apparent slow starter given his history in recent fights, took the punches well and maintained his distance from Lundy, apparently trying to figure his opponent’s next move.

Crawford apparently found just that, as he never looked back following the second round in which he used his larger frame to maintain distance and pepper Lundy with hard straight jabs from both the orthodox and southpaw positions. Lundy, a hard scrapple Philadelphia product, continued to attempt to maintain pressure, but his overtures were largely silenced by the quick and tactful Crawford, who is easily one of the best technical boxers in the sport today.

In the fifth round, after building up a lead on the scorecards, Crawford struck with force when he stunned Lundy with a clean left hand which put him onto the ropes. Crawford maintained pressure and dropped the Philadelphia product with another strong left hand. Lundy was badly hurt by this exchange, but managed to make it to his feet, albeit with some trepidation. It was all Crawford needed to see to finish his opponent off with another combination and move his mark to 28-0.

It’s obvious that Terence Crawford is one of the best in the sports. Despite a dearth of suitable opponents willing to face him, Crawford’s box office appeal must be growing with impressive performances like this particular one. It will have to, if he wants bigger paydays and fights on the early horizon.

Silva-Verdejo

While the main event was centered on Terence Crawford, the vast majority of the New York crowd was there to see Puerto Rican uber-prospect Felix Verdejo (20-0, 14 KOs), who rewarded his fans with an easy unanimous decision victory over Brazil’s William Silva (23-1, 14 KOs) in lightweight action. The scorecards were 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91.

Verdejo, a 2012 Olympian, is seen by many observers and his promoter, Top Rank, as a potential international superstar and a cash cow given the boxing-crazed nature of the Puerto Rican audience. While Verdejo didn’t do anything to expand his audience in this workmanlike performance, the young prospect managed to easily dispatch his Brazilian foe with a systematic performance punctuated by plenty of straight right hands.

The co-feature bout began with a loud and vociferous crowd, which was quickly brought to a lull as Verdejo managed to control the pace with a steady stream of jabs and right hands that did not make for overwhelming action. Silva attempted to use his size to control pace and made a decent go of the fight for the first several rounds, although Verdejo was never in jeopardy. However, by the fourth and fifth rounds, Verdejo’s right hands appeared to have found their mark and Silva’s offense began wilting in the face of such aggression. Essentially by round six, the result was largely a formality as Verdejo controlled the remaining action and got in some much-needed rounds after a 2015 campaign which was hampered by injuries.

The question now is whether Verdejo can expect a notable step-up in the near-future, as Silva’s record was largely filled with stooges and jobbers not fitting of a true contender. Top Rank Promotions has stated that it has no desire to rush Verdejo’s progression, but surely the Puerto Rican prospect is capable of much more than what was presented to him tonight.

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