Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) put on a veritable boxing clinic on tough title challenger Raymundo Beltran (29-7-1, 17 KOs) to successfully defend his WBO Lightweight title at the CenturyLink Center in his hometown of Omaha Nebraska.
The twelve-round fight was the main event of a card presented by Top Rank promotions and HBO Boxing.
Crawford, 27, who this year defeated Ricky Burns and Yuriorkis Gamboa, made his case for Fighter of the Year as he outboxed the universally recognized second-best in his division for twelve rounds.
Crawford began the first round with a quick jab that peppered Beltran’s face as Crawford backpedaled calmly around the ring.
Then, Crawford spend the rest of the fight boxing from a southpaw stance from which he unleashed right jabs and counter left hands.
Beltran, 33, of Los Mochis, Mexico, had no answers for Crawford’s boxing ability save for the occasional right hand he’d land on Crawford.
In round seven, for example, Beltran landed a thudding shot on Crawford and attempted to seize the opportunity by coming forward, but was immediately greeted with combination counterpunches with every step forward he took.
Beltran’s corner pleaded him to keep his hands up and close the distance but Crawford’s jabs and counterpunches were too much for Beltran to overcome.
The jab was the most important factor in the fight as Crawford landed 34 percent of his jabs (150 of 436) compared with Beltran who landed 14 percent (23 of 162) according to CompuBox.
What was particularly impressive was the calmness with which Crawford jabbed and boxed his way around the ring.
Not every punch was thrown with reckless or even ferocious intent. Some jabs were meant to merely keep Beltran at bay while other combination punches reminded Beltran of Crawford’s power.
This power was made evident in the later rounds when Crawford seemed on the edge of a stoppage win.
“I felt that he was going down but I didn’t want to get careless,” Crawford said to HBO’s Max Kellerman in his post-fight interview.
Indeed, Crawford finished the fight by sticking to his early game plan and couldn’t be convinced to forget it by recklessly looking for a knockout.
Crawford won with scores of 119-109, 119-109 and 120-10. He also plans to move up to the 140-pound weight division as he went into the ring weighing 153 pounds tonight.
“I don’t call out fighters. I let my team handle that and then we’ll go from there,” said when asked about potential fights at 140.
Nevertheless, in a division that includes the likes of Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia, Ruslan Provodnikov and Mauricio Herrera, there are plenty of fights that can be made for Crawford.