Friday, February 26, 2016

Crawford-Lundy Preview

In October of last year undefeated two-division world champion Terence Crawford scored a dominant tenth round stoppage over top Jr. Welterweight contender Dierry Jean in defense of his WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship. Crawford, who has held world titles in both the Lightweight and Jr. Welterweight divisions has been a star on the rise in the sport of Boxing.

After impressive wins over the likes of Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ray Beltran, Thomas Dulorme, and his most recent victory over Dierry Jean it appeared that Crawford could well have been on a short list of potential opponents to face former multi-division world champion Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao however, opted to face Timothy Bradley in what will be their third encounter on April 9th in Las Vegas, NV.

Although Crawford will not be the fighter standing across the ring from Pacquiao on that evening, there is no doubt that his stock in the sport has steadily been on the rise and an argument can be made that if he continues to win, he could be potentially a pay-per-view draw in the future as well as a potential opponent for the winner of Pacquiao-Bradley III. While Pacquiao and Bradley focus on their upcoming battle, Crawford himself will return to the ring on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY against longtime Lightweight and Jr. Welterweight contender Hank Lundy in what will be Crawford’s second defense of the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship.

Crawford, who will enter the fight with a record of 27-0, with 19 Knockouts will likely come into this fight as a significant favorite. Lundy, a fighter who is held both the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) and North American Boxing Organization (NABO) Lightweight championships throughout his career does bring experience into this fight with a record of 26-5-1, with 13 Knockouts.

An argument can be made however, that although Lundy has been a contender in both the Lightweight and Jr. Welterweight divisions for several years, that he has failed to successfully step up when tested most notably in his fights against John Molina Jr. and Ray Beltran, two bouts where Lundy suffered a stoppage loss to Molina and a ten round majority decision loss to Beltran. Despite the impression of near journeyman status that his record might suggest, Lundy is a come forward fighter who looks to engage and has been competitive in all five of his losses. It is also important to remember that Lundy has only been stopped once in his career and it is logical to assume that he will be in there for however long this fight lasts.

Lundy, who is coming off a victory over Carlos Velazquez in October of last year where he won the WBC Continental-Americas Lightweight championship is 2-2 in his last four fights and is a fighter that looks to apply consistent pressure on his opponent and one that switches between an orthodox and southpaw stance. It will be interesting to see how Lundy will attempt to combat a fighter like Crawford who has a good mix of hand speed, punching power, and lateral movement.

For the champion Crawford, a fighter who also switches between an orthodox and southpaw stance, it will be interesting to see if he fights out of the southpaw stance as he effectively did in his last fight against Dierry Jean. Lundy is the kind of fighter who will be looking to engage Crawford from the outset and if Lundy can apply pressure on Crawford and back him up this could be a significant test for the champion. It is logical to assume that Crawford will look to catch Lundy as he comes forward and use his lateral movement to avoid the challenger’s pressure.

Although the statistics would seem to favor Crawford in this fight as he is undefeated, a rising star, and has thus far won two world championships in as many weight classes in his career, it is important to remember that Boxing is a sport of opportunities. Even though some might say that this could be the thirty-two year old Lundy’s last chance to compete at the top level of the sport in what will be his first world championship fight, he is not a fighter to overlook and has pulled off upsets in the past most notably against top Jr. Welterweight contender Olusegun Ajose in July 2013.

Lundy now finds himself in the role of spoiler once again. With a successful title defense, Terence Crawford will likely position himself for a lucrative fight later this year, possibly against the winner of the third Pacquiao-Bradley encounter. A win for Lundy however, would revitalize his career.

A scenario of an underdog looking to dethrone a heavily favored opponent is one that is hardly new in the sport of Boxing and throughout all of sports. It is a scenario however, that can produce spirited battles. Whether or not Crawford-Lundy will be such a battle remains to be seen.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Crawford vs. Lundy takes place, Saturday, February 27th at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. In the United States, the fight is being televised by HBO Sports and can be seen at 10 PM ET/PT. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the fight can be seen on BoxNation at 2 AM (Sunday, February 28th Local UK Time.) Check your listings internationally.

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