Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo – Official weights
By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs) hit the scales right at the light welterweight limit of 140 pounds on Friday for his unification contest against unbeaten IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Julius “Blue Machine” Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) this Saturday night on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, New York.
Indongo, 34, came in at 139 lbs. and looked in top shape. The two of them then stood for stare down that looked plenty intense. Indongo looked like a big welterweight staring down at a light welterweight. Crawford is going to need to find a way to deal with Indongo’s huge size advantage on Saturday otherwise his promoter Bob Arum is going to be an unhappy camper when he sees his dreams of turning the Nebraska native into a big star go up in smoke.
I’m thinking Arum will be crying big crocodile tears if Crawford gets smashed by Indongo. We already know that Indongo did a better job beating Ricky Burns this year than Crawford did in 2014. Crawford spent most of the night clinching Burns. You didn’t see clinching from Indongo. He was smacking Burns around and making him look bad for 12 rounds.
Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank revealed to the boxing media that he has a chance to fight the winner of the November rematch between Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn. Arum is going to have Crawford, 29, fly over to Australia to see the Horn-Pacquiao 2 fight live. He wants him to be there so they can start pushing for him to fight the winner of the fight. Pacquiao recently said that he wanted to fight Horn in the Philippines, Dubai or the U.S. It looks like the 85-year-old Arum is going to have Pacquiao fighting Horn in Australia instead. That could mean Pacquiao will need a knockout if he wants to avoid another potential controversial decision loss.
Arum also mentioned the possibility of Crawford fighting IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence in pay-per-view fight if he “could get good promotion.” Crawford is in the same boat as Spence as far as still a non-star in the boxing world. You have to figure that Spence, 27, has a leg up on Crawford due to him being the IBF welterweight title holder. Crawford is fighting in a dead division with zero stars at 140. It’s an empty division. It’s good news that Crawford is fighting on free television on ESPN, but he’s fighting a virtual unknown in Julius Indongo, and that fight is not going to resonate with the casual boxing fans. Crawford should have moved up to 147 a year ago. He’s about to turn 30 and he’s wasting time collecting meaningless titles that the casual fans don’t care about. The fans care about 2 things when it comes to fighters:
1. High quality match-ups
2. Knockouts artists with exciting fighting styles
Crawford is lacking in both of those areas. He’s not fighting high quality opposition that the fans have heard of, and his fighting style is frequently less than eye-pleasing.
Light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0, 11 KOs) weighed in at 174.4 lbs. for his co-feature bout against U.S fighter Craig Baker (17-1, 13 KOs). Baker weighed 174.6 lbs. Gvozdyk will be defending his NABF light heavyweight trinket. Arum wants to get the 30-year-old Gvozdyk a title shot against one of the champions a 175. Just how long that’s going to take before Gzozdyk gets a crack at a world title is the million dollar question. Arum had better hope that the sanctioning bodies don’t require Gvozdyk to fight someone good like Artur Beterbiev or Dmitry Bivol in a title eliminator, because he probably won’t be good enough to beat either of those guys. Arum would then have to figure out what to do with Gvozdyk. He’s too big to move down to 168, and he’s not big enough to move up to cruiserweight.
Gvozdyk might wind up as dead weight of he can’t fight for a world title. Right now, I wouldn’t give Gvozdyk much if any chance of beating champions Adonis Stevenson and Andre Ward. The only good news for Gvozdyk is Stevenson is getting old at 39, and Ward probably won’t stick around the division for too much longer. If they did stay for any number of years, Gvozdyk would be stuck waiting or going after the WBA minor light heavyweight title currently held by Nathan Cleverly. Gvozyk can probably beat Cleverly. I say probably, because he looked terrible in getting dropped by Tommy Karpency in the 1st round last year on July 23. Gvozdyk won the fight by a 6th round knockout, but he was definitely badly hurt in the opening round of that fight. If a light puncher like Karpency could knock Gvozdyk down just imagine would Adonis Stevenson and Beterbiev would do to him. Like I said, Arum could have some dead weight on his hands with Gvozdyk is he gets beaten in the near future. That won’t happen on Saturday because he’s matched up against a 2nd tier fighter in Baker, but I don’t know what the future holds for Gvozdyk.
British heavyweight Dillian Whyte (20-1, 15 KOs) weighed in at a blubbery 260 lbs. for his 8-round fight against journeyman Malcolm Tann (24-5, 13 Kos). Tann was in much better shape than Whyte in coming in at 238.2 lbs. It looks like Whyte hasn’t been missing too many meals in the last 8 months since he won a controversial 12 round split decision win over Dereck Chisora on December 10. Boxing News 24 liked Chisora as the winner of that fight. The scoring for that fight was odd. Whyte was hurt 3 times by Chisora, and outworked all the way through. Whyte weighed 246 lbs. for the Chisora fight. This obviously isn’t a good sign that Whyte is fighting at a career high of 260lbs, because he’s been talking about wanting to fight WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. If Whyte can’t even stay in shape, then how does he justify himself being given a world title shot that he hasn’t earned? Whyte isn’t going to beat Wilder if he’s carrying around that kind of weight. Wilder would make quick work of him.
Recent Top Rank signee former heavyweight world title challenger Bryant Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) weighed in at 230.8 lbs. for his 8 round fight against Daniel Martz (15-4-1, 12 KOs) for their 8 round scheduled fight. Maltz weighed 255.4 lbs. What was sad was how Jennings looked in better shape than Whyte, even though he’s been out of the ring for 2 years and Whyte has been active for the last 2 years. What does that tell you about Whyte?
Jennings, 32, has not fought since losing to Luis Ortiz by a 7th round knockout in 2015. Before that, Jennings was beaten by Wladimir Klitschko by a one-sided 12 round decision in 2015.
Unbeaten featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (2-0, 1 KOs) weighed 126.2 lbs. for his 6 round fight against David Paz (4-3-1). Paz weighed in at 125.6 lbs. Stevenson, a 2016 U.S., Olympian is another fighter that Top Rank hopes to slowly build up and turn into a big star in the future. It should be interesting to see if Stevenson makes it that far or if he even decides to stay with Top Rank once he gets a few years of fights under his belt. Stevenson was handled pretty well by Cuban Robeisy Ramirez in the finals of the 2016 Olympics. Ramirez was clearly the better fighter of the two. It’s a good thing Ramirez haven’t left Cuba to turn pro, as I don’t think Stevenson would ever beat that guy.
Former WBO light welterweight champion Mike Alvarado (37-4, 25 KOs) weighed in at 148 lbs. for his fight against 40-year-old journeyman Sidney Siqueira (26-12-1, 17 KOs) for their 10 round fight. Siqueira weighed in at 145.4 lbs. Alvarado used to be a good fighter 4 years ago when he was beating guys like Brandon Rios. Alvarado did nothing between 2013 and 2015 in losing 3 fights. He’s recently won his last 3 matches against soft opposition. It’s unclear why Top Rank is keeping Alvarado around. Do they think they can have him make one last title run before he calls it a day? It’s hard to tell. He was a decent fighter when he was motivated ad training hard at 140. But he’s not looked impressive in the last 3 years. I can’t see Alvarado being able to do anything in the 147 lb. division. There’s too much talent in that weight class, and the main thing that Alvarado had going for himself, his size, doesn’t go far enough now that he’s at welterweight.
Other weights on the card:
Cesar Ruiz 175 vs. Steve Nelson 175
Baltazar Ramirez 133 vs. Kevin Ventura 132.2
Michael Reed 141 vs. Robert Frankel 139