True boxing fans are hailing Terence Crawford’s win over Viktor Postol Saturday night in Las Vegas. In a battle of undefeated world champions, Crawford was his typical, brilliant self. After three tense and competitive rounds, Crawford adjusted and took control of the fight. He dropped Postol twice in Round 5 and had him in trouble again and again over the duration of the fight.
The victory proved that Crawford is, without question, the best fighter in the world at 140 pounds. It also burnished his resume as a pound-for-pound star. Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward are slated to face off later this year, but, in general, it’s rare that boxing fans today get to see the two best fighters in a division do battle. Yet that is exactly the kind of challenge Crawford embraced in facing Postol.
Yet, on social media the morning after the fight, a minor but vocal faction of boxing fans were deriding the fight as “boring” and accusing Crawford of engaging in a “track meet.” I realize that different people enjoy different things in a fight, but this is a level of ignorance that cannot go unchallenged.
One is reminded of George Foreman’s famous quip that “boxing is like Jazz, because the better it is, the less people appreciate it.”
The groundwork for these complaints was laid by HBO’s un-official scorer, Harold Lederman. Lederman actually scored the fight exactly the same way I did. But his comments that he felt Crawford could simply “step in a knockout Postol whenever he wants to” were the words of a man who either never set foot in a boxing ring, or else did it so long ago that he no longer remembers how difficult it truly is.
Crawford fought a smart and strategically aggressive fight and beat the crap out of a top-notch fighter in the process. That he was unable to finish Postol is a testament to Postol. Despite getting pounded round after round, Postol’s right hand remained a dangerous weapon and Crawford remained cognizant of the fact. Crawford got a taste of that right hand in the third round. For the remainder of the fight, he made it his primary mission to move away from the right hand, while finding the openings to move in and light him up with blistering body shots or combinations upstairs.
Postol himself was unable to string together more than a single punch for the last nine rounds of the fight. For the course of the fight, he threw about fifty less punches a round than he has previously averaged. By any measure, Crawford’s work Saturday night has to be viewed as pure artistry.
Fans who complain that Crawford didn’t simply step into the pocket and trade rock-em, sock-em style are, frankly, Philistines. They should stick to Youtube videos of Felony Fights and crappy pop country music.
Leave the Jazz and boxing to those who can appreciate it.