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.”