Editorials

What’s Next for Terence Crawford?

Terence Crawford - Mikey Williams
Photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, Terence Crawford took on Thomas Dulorme in a scheduled 12-round bout for the vacant WBO Super Lightweight title.

After a huge 2014–which included three big wins and being named the BWAA Fighter of the Year–Crawford was making his return to the 140-pound division against the naturally bigger Dulorme, who at one time campaigned at 147 pounds.

Dulorme got off to a quick start, taking the first couple of rounds with his higher work rate. Crawford was comfortable picking his shots and letting Dulorme expend a high amount energy.

Crawford got busier and more precise with his punches as the fight wore on, while Dulorme’s activity level began to dip and he got hit more cleanly. After the fight, Crawford explained that this was all part of the plan.

“They told me when you go out there don’t give it all to him yet, just touch him. Then as you can see in the sixth round he told me to pick it up.”

In the sixth and final round, Crawford’s brilliance was on full display as he dropped the bigger Dulorme three times with hard, pin-point combinations.

So, after a masterful performance in only his second fight at 140 pounds, what’s next for the Omaha native?

Crawford is now the owner of the 140-pound WBO strap and has a plethora of enticing options in front of him. The one major obstacle–as is always the case in boxing–is the promotional and managerial battles that stop many big fights from happening in general.

While companies like Top Rank, Banner Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions will place nicely together, Al Haymon‘s fighters remain isolated in their own Premier Boxing Champions zone. That means fights against Omar Figueroa, Rances Barthelemy and Adrien Broner are seemingly off the table for the time being.

Also, a lot of the top 140-pound fighters of recent years such as Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan and even Chris Algieri seem to be on their way up to 147 pounds–or are already there.

The landscape is certainly shifting at Super Lightweight, so Crawford’s move to the division seems perfectly timed and with one dominating victory over a solid contender in Dulorme, Crawford already makes a case as the best fighter in the division.

After Crawford took care of business with Dulorme in Texas, two other top-tier 140-pounders went to work in Verona, New York as Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov went toe-to-toe in what ended up being one of the years best fights.

The slugfest lived up to all of the pre-fight expectations and showcased both men’s heart and determination. In the end, Matthysse edged out a majority decision victory over Provodnikov and now seems poised for a title shot. Stylistically speaking, Crawford would be a very tough outing for Matthysse.

Although Matthysse has dynamite in his fists, you get the feeling that Crawford’s range and athleticism put him in a class above the Argentine slugger. Matthysse did showcase good boxing skills against Provodnikov, but that’s akin to out maneuvering a rock–most people can do it. Matthysse would not be able to outbox Crawford or beat him to the punch–like he did with Provodnikov.

Aside from Matthysse, another interesting matchup Crawford could look towards would be against fellow Top Rank fighter and “regular” WBA titlist, Jessie Vargas.

Vargas was last seen in November 0f 2014, outworking Antonio DeMarco en route to a unanimous decision victory. Vargas had previously been mentioned as a possible opponent for Manny Pacquiao, and depending on the outcome of the Filipino’s fight with Floyd Mayweather, a Vargas-Pacquiao scrap at 147 could still be in the cards in the future.

Crawford vs. Vargas would be an interesting clash between two quick, undefeated fighters and certainly would be a step in the right direction for Crawford to solidify his claim as the man at 140.

The IBF–which recently stripped Lamont Peterson of their 140 title–has ordered Cesar Rene Cuenca to face Ik Yang for their belt. A fight between Crawford and either one of those fighters would be a harder sell for networks but could earn him another piece of hardware.

Depending on if Danny Garcia decides to defend his WBC title at 140–which his father and trainer Angel Garcia says he wants–we could be seeing him take on Viktor Postol.

If Garcia decides to vacate and move up to Welterweight, which seems like his preference, then Postol and Matthysse would be in line to fight for the vacant WBC strap (via Boxing News 24).

Crawford could elect to wait and see what happens with the WBC situation before deciding to take on Matthysse or even Postol. Postol impressed HBO viewers with a highlight reel KO of Selcuk Aydin in May of 2014, but most recently scored a lackluster eight round unanimous-decision victory over Jake Giuriceo on the Garcia-Peterson undercard.

Lastly, and of course depending on the Mayweather-Pacquiao outcome, Crawford could face Pacquiao in the future. A decisive victory over the Filipino star, which isn’t unfathomable, would launch Crawford into a different stratosphere, making him a household name and setting him up to be a viable pay-per-view fighter for the foreseeable future.

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