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WBO champ Crawford eager to watch every bout on card

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NEW YORK — The boxing fan is eager to watch every bout on the night’s card. Even those between fighters who will never amount to anything close to what he has accomplished.

This particular boxing fan is Terence Crawford, a two-time world champion and current WBO super lightweight titleholder. So he asks to conduct an interview within eyesight of a fight deep on the undercard of a boxing card on which he isn’t performing.

“I am a big fan of boxing, and it doesn’t matter who or where the fight is,” Crawford says. “I am not the type of fighter who only cares about championships. I come early and see the undercard as well, like any big fan of boxing.”

Crawford usually is worth the price of admission when he’s in the ring. He’s 28-0 with 20 knockouts. Crawford won the WBO lightweight belt in March 2014 over Ricky Burns, twice successfully defended it, then moved up to super lightweight and won the WBO championship. He has stopped his last two opponents in defending the crown.

Next up, though, is his biggest test: undefeated Viktor Postol of Ukraine, which is regularly churning out title contenders. Postol also is 28-0, with 12 knockouts, and owns the WBC title.

Their matchup on July 23 in Las Vegas is one of the more anticipated upcoming fights. Postol is somewhat of an unknown in the United States, but he has won his last three outings in the U.S., including knocking out Lucas Matthysse to earn his title.

“You’ve got the two best in the division, No. 1 vs. No. 2,” Crawford says. “You’ve got the WBC champion (Postol) versus the WBO champion (Crawford). What more could you ask for in a fight?”

If it is up to Crawford, there will be plenty of action in this fight. He believes his speed and versatility will be decisive against the European style employed by Postol.

“I am going to give a 100 percent performance because I know he is going to give 100 percent,” Crawford says. “That’s going to make it a good show for everyone.”

Crawford’s boxing idols are Roy Jones and Floyd Mayweather. He has copied some of their repertoires – Jones’ power and Mayweather’s canny approach – and is thrilled when someone mentions any sort of resemblance to those champions.

“Of course I learned from watching them,” he says. “They were the masters of offense and defense, and I have tried to take a little of both from them.

“You would be foolish not to.”

Crawford hopes he can be as big an attraction as Jones and Mayweather. He knows a decisive win over Postol is a must.

“A lot of people want to see me fight now,” he says. “But ask me after the next fight about (more popularity). But I think I am already getting there.”

That he has gotten so far is a minor miracle because eight years ago, Crawford was shot in the neck after winning money in a dice game. He actually drove himself to the hospital, where surgery was performed.

That episode intensified his desire to succeed in the ring.

“I know how hard you need to work to get where you want to go,” he says. “Nobody works harder than me.”

And few boxers pay attention to other fights the way Crawford does. He sat ringside when Vasyl Lomachenko, another rising Ukrainian, won the WBO junior lightweight title with a dynamic showing that ended with a vicious series of lefts and a massive right hook to knock out champion Rocky Martinez. Crawford also watched undefeated Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo score a knockout in the lightweight division.

Doing a little scouting, Terence?

“Nope,” he says with a stare, then a smile, “I just like boxing.”

Manny Pacquiao loses WBO welterweight title on points to Jeff Horn

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Manny Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight world title to Jeff Horn in a stunning, unanimous points decision in a Sunday afternoon bout billed as the Battle of Brisbane in front of more than 50,000 people.

The 11-time world champion entered the fight at Suncorp Stadium as a hot favorite but got more than he bargained for against the 29-year-old former schoolteacher.

Still, Pacquiao dominated the later rounds and the result could have gone his way.

Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach predicted the fight would be short and sweet but Horn – unbeaten in his 17 previous professional fights – applied pressure by winning some of the early rounds and Pacquiao needed treatment during the 6th and 7th rounds for a cut on the top of his head that resulted from a clash of heads.

The judges scored the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113, with Horn immediately calling out Floyd Mayweather Jr., after the fight, declaring himself “no joke.”

Roach had said earlier in the week that he’d think about advising Pacquioa to retire if he lost the fight, but that would depend on how he fought.

Pacquiao’s camp had talked about a rematch with Mayweather if he got past Horn, hoping to avenge his loss on points in the 2015 mega fight. That seems to be a distant chance now.

Pacquiao, who entered the fight with a record of 59-6-2, 38 knockouts, was defending the WBO title he won on points against Jessie Vargas last November.

Mayweather vs. McGregor odds: Sportsbooks set betting lines, props for fight

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Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stand to collect a massive payday whether their superfight is a charade or a combat sports classic, and there’s plenty of upside for bettors too.

With the bout set, Mayweather is a -600 moneyline favorite against the +400 underdog McGregor at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.  Mayweather will put a 49-0 ring record on the line in the August 26 bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, while McGregor, a UFC champion at two weights, might prove a point just by having a decent showing.

The moneyline has tightened considerably since the first rumors about the fight. Last November, Mayweather opened at -2250 and McGregor opened at +950. Evidently, many MMA fans found McGregor irresistible at that price, as it steadily dropped, falling to +450 by late April. That was also the point where the moneyline on ‘Money’ came down to -700.

The over/under on rounds is 9.5. A 10-round fight is uncharted waters for McGregor, but 13 of Mayweather’s last 14 fights have gone at least 10 rounds. Twelve have gone the full 12 rounds; the Mayweather-McGregor betting odds on whether the fight goes the distance pays +125 if it does, and -175 if it’s stopped early.

McGregor also pays +120 if he wins by decision, which is the standard outcome for his bouts against full-time boxers. McGregor’s method-of-victory props include +700 for a knockout and +3300 for victory by decision.

There is little in the way of past performance to go on here, since McGregor hasn’t boxed since he was a teenager in Ireland. Mayweather’s defensive skills should allow him to parry any early onslaught from McGregor, who is a knockout artist in the UFC octagon and rarely has fights go more than two rounds.

The round prices offer the most potential profit for Mayweather backers. One can assume that the skilled defensive fighter might dance around while McGregor goes out hard. It might be prudent to scale down expectations of a quick finish – +3300 for Mayweather winning in Round 1, +2500 for Round 2 – and look at the slightly later rounds. Rounds 4 through 6 are listed at +1600 and +1400.

While Mayweather’s round prices trace a reverse parabola, McGregor’s round prices are relatively stable. The Irishman offers +4000 for a win in Round 1, or each one from Rounds 4-7. There is a slight drop to +3300 for both Round 2 and 3.

Another way to bet on the Mayweather-McGregor fight is the 4.99 million total for pay-per-view buys. The over hitting would require beating the audience for Mayweather’s 2015 fight against Manny Pacquaio (4.6 million). McGregor also holds the UFC’s PPV record of 1.65 million, set at UFC 202 in August 2016

With boxing and MMA fans creating a larger fanbase and the event being scheduled for the dog days of late August – before the NFL and college football blot out everything else on the sports landscape – 5 million buys seems doable.