This weekend in Nebraska we will see a sight that has become woefully rare in the modern boxing world: all four major sanctioning bodies will place their belts on the line in the same fight. Off the top of my head, I think the last time this happened was probably September 2004, when Bernard Hopkins knocked out Oscar De La Hoya to completely unify the middleweight division.
That this is taking place is a testament to the star-power and respect that Terence Crawford has managed to create. The WBO and WBC super lightweight champion is universally recognized as the true world champion at 140 pounds. He is also one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. And so the WBA and IBF have both opted to leave their straps around the waist of challenger Julius Indongo. No man but the winner of this fight will be able to call himself champion of the world at 140 pounds.
While Indongo’s own belts are not legitimate, he’s a worthy challenger. He knocked out previously undefeated Eduard Troyanovsky to garner the IBF trinket. He beat an experienced, world-class veteran in Ricky Burns to capture the WBA’s ersatz crown. Crawford will represent a major step up in class for Indongo. But he would represent a major step up in class for nearly anybody he might fight at this point in his career.
If Crawford wins there could be potential superfights for him at 140 pounds with Vasyl Lomachenko or Mikey Garcia. Then again, I would not be shocked to see him move up to welterweight after this bout. If a rematch were never to materialize between Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao, Horn would make a good potential debut bout for Crawford at 147 pounds.