Saturday night at Madison Square Garden’s small theater, Terence Crawford made his New York City debut, a rite of passage for boxing stars on the rise. Once again, Crawford looked sensational, winning with ease against a normally very tough opponent. He stopped veteran contender Hank Lundy in Round 5.
Lundy came in ready to rumble. The hard-as-nails Philadelphia fighter came out swinging hard, landing some heavy, lunging punches on Crawford and winning the first round. But Crawford adjusted, like he always does, switching to southpaw midway through the first round. In the second, third and fourth rounds, he worked away on Lundy with precision. He wasn’t dominating, but he was consistently outlanding Lundy, as he took his measure.
In Round 5, Terence Crawford threw a pair of range-finding right jabs and then came straight down the middle with an overhand left that landed high on Lundy’s head. Lundy’s balance was gone, his legs buckling. Crawford drove him to the corner and dropped him again, with a second left. Lundy gamely beat the count and convinced referee Steve Willis to allow him to continue. But with Crawford landing at will, Willis was forced to wave off the action moments later, with 2:09 left in the round.
It is hard not to imagine that Crawford will someday sell out the 20 thousand seat main floor at the Garden. He’s got pay-per-view headliner written all over him.
The big question at this point, is who does he face next. It’s a shame that Manny Pacquiao chose a third bout with Timothy Bradley over a tilt with Crawford. That’s exactly the kind of fight that would have given Crawford the sort of showcase he needs to develop into the sport’s next major star. Either that, or Pacman would have demonstrated that Crawford isn’t quite where we thought he was.
Barring Pacquiao, my first choice for an opponent for Crawford would be Viktor Postol. For one thing, I’d like to see Crawford’s WBO super lightweight bout unified with Postol’s WBC version. Besides that, I think the 5’10” Ukrainian is the only 140-pounder on the planet likely to give Crawford much of a challenge.
Another intriguing opponent might be Adrien Broner. Recently both Bob Arum, Terence Crawford’s promoter, and Al Haymon, Broner’s manager, have expressed a willingness to make this fight. Broner is the most over-hyped fight of the past few years, but he does have a couple of good wins at 140 pounds, against Khabib Allakhverdiev and Emmanuel Taylor. Broner’s personality makes some fans love him and a lot of fans hate him, which is box office gold. I think Crawford would knock Broner out. But it’s a fight that would definitely get him some of the eyeballs he deserves.