‘Crawford is beatable’ – Kavaliauskas wants rematch
By Kenneth Friedman: Egidijus’ Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas is gunning for a rematch against Terence Crawford after giving the WBO welterweight champion all he could handle in their fight last December on ESPN.
Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) was stopped in the 9th round by Crawford, but it was far from an easy fight for the Nebraska native.
The fight showed the 32-year-old Kavaliauskas that Crawford is beatable, and that’s why he’s hoping to get a rematch against him. He wants to improve upon his performance and take Crawford’s WBO 147lb title.
Kavaliauskas face Zewski on Saturday
In the meantime, Kavaliauskas is facing Mikael Zewski (34-1, 23 KOs) in the headliner spot this Saturday, September 12th, at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two fighters will be battling in a 12-round scheduled bout on ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Kavaliauskas can’t afford to lose to #7 WBO Zewski if he wants to keep up his pursuit of a rematch with Crawford. On paper, Zewski is a winnable fight for Kavaliauskasm as fought no one notable during his career to build up his impressive 34-1 record.
When Zewski did take a minor step up against Konstantin Ponomarev in 2015, he lost a lopsided 10 round unanimous decision.
Zewski, 31, has won his last eight fights against lower-level opposition to build himself back up, but a lot of question marks remain. He looked so bad in his battle against Ponomarev that it’s difficult to imagine him being able to even compete against the ‘Mean Machine’ on Saturday.
While their promoters slowly move some fighters in the first five or six years of their careers, you don’t see them still being matched weakly at ten years.
In Zewski’s case, he’s been a professional for ten years, and he’s still being matched against a marginal opponent. It begs the question, why has Top Rank kept Zewski around for this long without cutting their losses and moving on?
Perhaps this is what we could see happen if Kavaliauskas destroy Zewski on Saturday night. If he can’t cut it against a guy like Kavaliauskas, then there’s probably no point in Top Rank continuing with him.
Kavaliauskas wants another chance against Crawford
“If I get the chance to fight Terence Crawford, I will take it right away,” said Egidijus Kavaliauskas during Thursday’s news conference. “He’s the best fighter, and he’s the best welterweight.
“That fight gave me more confidence. He’s beatable. Everybody is beatable, and I liked the fight. I didn’t like how the fight ended. I liked how the fight started and how everything was going,” Kavaliauskas continued.
It’s not likely that Kavaliauskas will be getting a second fight against Terence (36-0, 27 KOs) anytime soon, as he’s dropped down to #13 in the World Boxing Organization’s rankings.
With that far of a drop, Kavaliauskas might need another two to three years before he’s in position to force a rematch with Crawford. By that point, Crawford may no longer hold the WBO title. He’ll have likely fought Errol Spence Jr by that point, and he may lose to him.
“In the middle of the fight, I lost focus on my game plan,” Kavaliauskas said of his fight against Crawford. “We need to fix those problems.
“How I mentioned, it was in the middle of the fight; I think in round seven when I first got dropped. At that point, I forgot about the game plan. I forgot about defense and sticking to the things that I do best.
“I just wanted to go and fight.
Mean Machine targeting top 147-pounders
I burned out a little bit. And I just wanted to go in there blasting, extend the punches and go there. I think that was the mistake. I need to stick to my game plan, move around, and do the things that I did better at the beginning of the fight.
“Just moving and countering to cause the fight. I felt in the first half of the fight, I felt great. In between rounds in my corner, I was listening to my coaches. I was all there in the fight,” Kavaliauskas said.
“I would like to fight all the champions. [Yordenis] Ugas and Pacquiao or Spence or even Thurman and Danny Garcia. I would like to fight those guys,” said Mean Machine.
The only problems with the ‘Mean Machine’ wanting to fight guys like Garcia, Thurman, Spence, Ugas, and Pacquiao are the fact that they’re with PBC, and they fight on a different network.
Those reasons might be enough for Kavaliauskas never to get a fight against any of them. His chances would increase if he were a talented fighter with a huge fan base in the United States, but that’ not the case. Kavaliauskas is a good fighter, but he’s not great, and he’s not well known.
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