Last weekend in Madison Square Garden, Terence Crawford turned in exactly the kind of performance fans have come to expect from him, dismantling top contender Felix Diaz and forcing him to quit in his corner after Round 10. Crawford won basically every second of every round, keeping Diaz consistently off-balance with his blistering jab and rocking him frequently with a thudding uppercut. He hammered Diaz’s body and turned the game but overmatched Dominican’s face into a swollen mess.
To truly appreciate this performance, fans need to understand exactly who Diaz is. This isn’t the case of Crawford handling a “cab driver” or “tomato can.” This is a true champion at the height of his powers, thoroughly outclassing an outstanding, world-class fighter. Diaz is an Olympic gold medalist. He had lost just once in his career, by a close, contested majority decision against Lamont Peterson, who has been one of the top super lightweights in the world over the past five years or so.
By completely destroying a fighter who battled Peterson on extremely even terms demonstrates exactly how special Crawford is.
If Crawford is going to stay at super lightweight, only one fight there makes sense for him–a showdown with Julius Indongo. Crawford is the lineal champion and holds the WBO and WBC belts, as well. Indongo sports the WBA and IBF trinkets. A fight between Indongo and Crawford could give us that rarest of unicorns, a true, undisputed champion.
But barring that, it is time for Crawford to move up. If Manny Pacquiao is still willing to face a young lion, that could end up being the biggest fight of the year.
And Crawford has also emerged as the first piece of what will be the superfights of the next generation. Errol Spence, Kell Brook and Keith Thurman are all potential fights for Crawford in the next few years. Fans should be excited by the prospect.