Terence Crawford will hammer Hank Lundy
(Photos courtesy of Mikey Williams / Top Rank) By Paul Lam: ‘Hammerin’ Hank Lundy has been talking a good game during the promotion of his upcoming title fight against WBO junior welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, taking place this Saturday night 27th February at Madison Square Garden. The selection of Lundy came as a disappointment to many boxing fans who were hoping for Crawford to face a more well-known opponent.
At one point, Crawford was thought to have been in the running to face Manny Pacquiao in the latter’s final fight. The nod however went to Timothy Bradley, who has already fought Pacquiao twice and lost twice in the eyes of most of the boxing world, despite officially being 1-1 against the Filipino icon. With other big names at 140 lbs indisposed or unavailable, Lundy, ranked number 10 by the WBO, got the call.
Crawford is widely regarded as a boxing superstar in the making. He is a two-weight world champion, unbeaten in 27 fights with 19 knockouts. To date he has displayed a dazzling blend of fight-ending power, defensive skill, speed, boxing ability, ring intelligence and, above all, the ability to adapt to the circumstances facing him. We saw it in his fight against Yuriorkis Gamboa when he dropped most if not all of the early rounds, but then made the tactical decision to switch to the southpaw stance, stupefying the Cuban phenom, turning the tables on him and knocking him out in the ninth round in electrifying fashion. This might all seem like hyperbole to some, but Crawford really is that good. There’s a reason why The Ring Magazine, the ‘Bible of Boxing’, currently ranks him as the sixth best fighter, pound for pound, on the planet. Moreover, at 28 years of age and in his prime, you get the sense that the best of him is yet to come.
Not that any of this makes a bit of difference to Lundy, a trash talker par excellence. If you were to believe the hard-nosed Philly fighter, Crawford isn’t even one of the three best opponents he will have faced; he improbably claims to rate Viktor Postol, Dannie Williams and Ajose Olusegun higher. Crawford is ‘nothing special’ in his opinion. He has predicted an early knockout, boasts that he has already broken his opponent’s will and has even made disparaging comments about Crawford’s wife in the buildup to Saturday. None of which has served to endear him to the normally reserved and softly-spoken champion from Omaha, Nebraska.
On one level, it makes sense for Lundy to attempt to get under Crawford’s skin in this manner. If he can goad him into thinking with his heart instead of his head and turning the fight into an ugly brawl, it may well represent his best chance of pulling an unlikely upset victory out of the hat. The problem for Lundy is that Crawford has already demonstrated the ability and willingness to fight in the trenches if needs be and he likely bests Lundy in this area as well. Furthermore, it is hard to imagine a boxer as level-headed and intelligent as Crawford allowing his feelings to get the better of him in the ring. Before his last title defence against Dierry Jean, Crawford had taken exception to some of the things said by the Canadian during the promotion. So he used it as fuel for the fight, systematically breaking down Jean through ten rounds until the referee mercifully stepped in to bring an end to the slaughter.
I believe that we are going to see something similar transpire on Saturday night. That is no knock on Lundy as a fighter. He is far from a bum. He’s a battle-tested campaigner with decent skills and considerable experience at boxing’s world level. He owns respectable wins against the aforementioned Ajose and Williams as well as former titleholders Richar Abril and David Diaz. His five career losses have come against John Molina Jr, Ray Beltran, Viktor Postol, Thomas Dulorme and Mauricio Herrera, all standout names in the lightweight/junior welterweight divisions. He was competitive against them all and was only stopped by the heavy-handed Molina, a fight he was winning easily up to that point. The fact remains however that he lost those fights. In fact, two of those losses came in his last three fights. His sole win in that stretch came against a guy with double-digit losses. To put matters into perspective, Crawford won every single round against Beltran and thrashed Dulorme by sixth-round knockout.
If boxing was just about talk, Lundy would have been a world champion a long time ago. On Saturday night, words will be thrown out of the window as he enters the ring for his first shot at a world title. In all likelihood, it promises to be his last as well. ‘Mismatch’ is an overused term in boxing, but in this case it is one which is entirely appropriate. Lundy gives world class boxers competitive fights, Crawford dominates them. Lundy does not even make The Ring Magazine’s top ten junior welterweights. The Ring rates Crawford as one of the top ten fighters in the world. Simply put, Lundy is a good fighter, but Crawford is an exceptional one. Expect him to work out Hammerin’ Hank in the early rounds with little difficulty before setting him alight in the mid to late rounds.
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