It was a capacity crowd at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York with more than five thousand on hand, mostly Puerto Rican New Yorkers along with some Omaha natives. The Puerto Ricans were there for uber prospect Felix Verdejo, who fought in the co-feature, while the Omaha fans were there for Crawford vs Lundy. It was a passionate atmosphere which made it feel like a bigger event than it was.
The simple fact was, Terence Crawford was the clear favourite going into this one; it was essentially a showcase match for him to dominate and look good. Hank Lundy was expected to be tough and give Crawford some rounds, but no one anticipated he could upset the champion. Turns out that was exactly what happened.
Lundy started off the fight in attack mode, looking to land power shots in the opening round. Crawford came out as a southpaw for this one, which was not a surprise given his propensity to switch stances. The champion tried to command the centre of the ring, while flicking out some non-commital jabs. Lundy did manage to close the distance a few times and land some wild shots. This was a good round for Lundy as he surprised Crawford with his aggression. But despite getting tagged, Crawford showed that steely composure he has become known for, remaining calm and unrattled. It would prove to be Lundy’s best round.
In the second, Crawford immediately established better control of distance and didn’t let Lundy get inside. Crafword wasn’t doing this by jamming his stiff jab in Lundy’s face, but rather more through his intelligent foowork. Lundy was left to lunge in with his wide punches, since he wasn’t using his jab effectively. Crawford was adept at avoiding the incoming punches and keeping Lundy at bay.
Round three was more of the same with Crawford controlling the ring and landing the sharper, straighter punches. The fourth was fought at a slower pace, as both boxers were slightly more tentative. Lundy, who has also shown an ability to switch stances, made the change to southpaw in this round but it seemed like more of a Hail Mary attempt by the challenger to alter the course of the fight than a shrewd tactical move. Whichever stance Lundy assumed made no difference; Crawford was in control.
The fifth saw the bout’s abrupt end. After stunning Lundy, Crawford smelled blood and poured it on, a hard straight left putting Lundy down for the first time. Lundy beat the count and the referee allowed him to continue and Crawford went in hard, determined to close the show. He pinned Lundy against the ropes and unloaded another succession of hard, damaging shots. Lundy was clearly out on his feet, and the referee jumped in to stop it, giving the rising star from Omaha a fifth round TKO.
This was another in what has become a lengthy list of dominant performances by Crawford. As in previous performances, Crawford calculates his opponent’s timing and movement early on, makes adjustments and then delivers a violent finish. Calm and composed, the champion kept a measured pace, waiting for the right moment to strike, and once he hurt Lundy, he closed the show. He once again demonstrated his killer instinct by quickly finishing his opponent after having hurt him.
Crawford vs Lundy showed that the man from Omaha can easily beat guys below his level. Been there, done that. It’s time we see him in with someone who can actually challenge him and make a competitive fight, someone like a Viktor Postol perhaps, the WBC champ in the same division. To that end, more passion in Crawford’s post-fight interview with Max Kellerman would have been welcome. If he expects other elite fighters to take him on, he could at least put some effort into selling the fights. Getting more vocal and calling guys out could help to get the bigger audiences and larger paydays he and his fans are looking for.
“I told everyone I got power in both hands and the boxing ability … and it’s going to take me a long way in this game,” Crawford said. “I never duck anyone and I’ll fight anybody. My manager will make the fights happen and and I will train and fight.”
Time for Top Rank to take Crawford at his word and make some big things happen.
— Jamie Rebner