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Terence Crawford vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas likely for the fall

Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford will reportedly be defending his WBO welterweight title next against his #1 WBO contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas this fall unless a unification fight is made for the Nebraska native against IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., according to Mike Coppinger.

The World Boxing Organization will be ordering the Crawford-Kavaliauskas unless Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum can setup a unification fight with Spence (25-0, 21 KOs). However, there’s little chance of that happening, because Spence is heading towards a fight against WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter. Those two plan on fighting each other in September with the winner facing the winner of the July 20th fight between Manny Pacquiao and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman.

Crawford likely to defend against Kavaliauskas next

“Sources tell @TheAthleticBOX Terence Crawford is likely to defend his title vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas this fall. Bob Arum conceded WBO likely to order that fight unless he could complete a deal for Spence-Crawford. With Spence fighting Shawn Porter, expect Crawford-Kavaliauskas,” said @MikeCoppinger.

This obviously isn’t the huge fight that Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) had envisioned for himself. He’s talked recently of wanting to fight Spence, Pacquiao, Thurman and Kell Brook. None of those matches appear to be heading the 31-year-old Crawford’s way, and it’s starting to look like he’s frittering away his prime. At best, Crawford has three good years left in his career before he starts fading and taking losses one after another. It’s too bad Top Rank isn’t able to match Crawford well.

Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) recently fought to a controversial 10 round draw against Ray Robinson on March 30 in Philadelphia. A lot of fans thought that Robinson, 33, was given a raw deal when it came to the scoring for the fight. Robinson appeared to do more than enough to deserve the win, but the judges saw it as an even fight. Boxing News 24 scored it for Robinson by an eight rounds to two score. It wasn’t close, and that’s the sad part about it. Kavaliauskas, 31, was the A-side and a big favorite going into the contest, so it’s not all that surprising the judges scored it the way they did.

The fight against Robinson proved that Kavaliauskas is just an average fighter with a fluff record filled with weak names, and a ranking that is inflated through the roof by the World Boxing Organization. It’s nice for Top Rank that the WBO has Kavaliauskas ranked #1, but it’s ultimately going to be a bad deal for the fans when Crawford faces him. Based on Kavaliauskas ‘s performance against Robinson, Crawford will beat him with ease.

Crawford’s weak resume makes him a poor option for Spence

If Top Rank boss Arum wants to get popular PBC fighters like Spence, Thurman, Pacquiao, Porter and Danny Garcia to fight Crawford, he’s going to need to start matching him against better opposition. The guys that Crawford has been fighting in the last few years has been disappointing to say the least. It makes you wonder why Top Rank bothered to re-ink Crawford when his contract with them expired recently. To make a star out of Crawford, Top Rank must put him in with better fighters, and that’s not happening.

In the last four years, Crawford has fought the following fighters:

  • Amir Khan
  • Jose Benavidez Jr.
  • Jeff Horn
  • Julius Indongon
  • John Molina Jr.
  • Felix Diaz
  • Viktor Postol
  • Henry Lundy
  • Dierry Jean
  • Thomas Dulorme

It was a really bad idea for Crawford’s last fight against Khan to have been put on ESPN pay-per-view last April. Khan is just playing out his string at this late stage in his career, and he’s not really putting much of an effort into winning.

Top Rank needs to urge Crawford to take some Canelo-like risks with his career by fighting guys in weight classes above the 147 pound division. Yeah, it’s understandable why Top Rank hasn’t been matching Crawford against any of the talented fighters at 140 and 147, because the different promoters and network issues make some of the fights impossible. However, there’s nothing stopping Crawford from going up to 154, 160 and 168 in search of important fights.

Crawford needs to take chances with his career in the same way Paul Williams did during his career when he couldn’t get guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr. to fight him. Williams moved up to 154 and 160 to take fights rather than stay at 147 fighting nobodies. With Crawford’s boxing skills, he’d be able to hold his own at 154 and 160. If Crawford could fight in those weight classes and do well, he could transform himself into a PPV level fighter. He wouldn’t be so dependent on fighters like Spence to bring in big money.

Crawford vs. Kell Brook would have been a good option

Former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook recently was pursuing a fight against Crawford, but nothing has come from that. It’s rumored that Top Rank didn’t have the money to put into getting Brook to take the fight. It’s the case then it’s too bad, because Brook would have been a much better option for Crawford to have fought than having him fight Khan last April. That was a real mistake on Top Rank’s part in making that fight. Brook at least would make it a drama-filled fight with Crawford. He wouldn’t quit like Khan did after getting hit low.

Crawford should vacate WBO title

The best way for Crawford to force the bigger name guys like Spence to fight him is for him to vacate the WBO title, and then work his way into the mandatory position for the IBF, WBA and WBC welterweight titles. Crawford could then force the issue when Spence is ordered to face him.


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