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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.”

Boxer LaMotta, immortalized in ‘Raging Bull,’ dies at 95

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MIAMI (AP) Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life was depicted in the film “Raging Bull,” has died at the age of 95.

His fiancee, Denise Baker, says LaMotta died Tuesday at a Miami-area hospital from complications of pneumonia.

The Bronx Bull, as he was known in his fighting days, compiled an 83-19-4 record with 30 knockouts.

LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times, handing Robinson his first defeat. He lost the middleweight title to him in what became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

In his previous fight, LaMotta saved the championship in movie-script fashion against Laurent Dauthuille. Trailing badly, LaMotta knocked out the challenger with 13 seconds left.

LaMotta threw a fight against Billy Fox, which he admitted in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee. He said he was promised a shot at a title.

On June 16, 1949, he became middleweight champion when Marcel Cerdan couldn’t continue after the 10th round.

The 1980 film “Raging Bull” was based on LaMotta’s memoir. Actor Robert DeNiro won an Academy Award for it.

Canelo and Golovkin fight to controversial draw

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gennady Golovkin retained his middleweight titles Saturday night, fighting to a draw with Canelo Alvarez in a brutal battle that ended with both fighters with their hands aloft in victory.

The middleweight showdown lived up to its hype as the two fighters traded huge punches and went after each other for 12 rounds. Neither fighter was down and neither appeared seriously hurt but both landed some huge punches to the head that had the crowd screaming in excitement.

Golovkin was the aggressor throughout and landed punches that had put other fighters to the canvas. But he couldn’t put Alvarez down, and the Mexican star more than stood his own in exchanges with Triple G, from Kazakhstan. The two were still brawling as the final seconds ticked down and the fight went to the scorecards.

One judge had Alvarez winning 118-110, a second had it 115-113 in Golovkin’s favor while the third had it 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 114-114.

Golovkin, who has never lost in 38 fights, retained his middleweight titles with the draw. But Alvarez showed that he could not only take Golovkin’s punches but land telling punches of his own.

A frenzied crowd of 22,358 at the T-Mobile Arena roared throughout the fight as the two middleweights put on the kind of show that boxing purists had anticipated. They brawled, used sharp jabs and counter-punched at times, with neither one willing to give the other much ground.

“Congratulations all my friends from Mexico,” Golovkin said. “I want a true fight. I want a big drama show.”

There was plenty of drama late in the fight as Alvarez seemed to rally and rocked Golovkin with uppercuts and big right hands. But just as soon as he landed he often took one back from the slugger so feared that most other fighter avoided him.

“I won seven-eight rounds easily,” Alvarez said.

It was a battle from the opening bell as Golovkin tried to walk Alvarez down but often found himself getting hit from sharp counter punches.

“Today, people give me draw. I focus on boxing,” Golovkin said. “Look my belts, I’m still champion. I’ve not lost.”

Golovkin predicted before the fight that the late rounds would resemble a street fight, and in a way they did. Both fighters were willing to trade, and both had no problems landing hard shots to the head.

Golovkin had chased Alvarez for nearly two years, trying to get the signature fight that would pay him millions and make him a pay-per-view draw on his own. Alvarez finally agreed after Golovkin looked vulnerable earlier this year against Daniel Jacobs in a decision win that stopped his knockout streak at 23 fights.