Crawford and Lopez show they deserve extra, however how quickly will they get their probability?



three:32 AM ET

Steve KimESPN

Ending apart, there is no doubt Terence Crawford was the far superior fighter on Saturday evening. Crawford earned an uncommon sixth-round TKO, as Amir Khan didn’t proceed after getting hit with an unintended low blow.

However earlier than that occurred, it was Crawford who dominated the motion. A counter proper hand and a clean-up left hook had the customarily fragile Khan on the canvas within the first spherical. Within the subsequent rounds, Crawford surgically dissected Khan, who managed to get in just a few good punches however was merely overwhelmed by the tactical brilliance of his opponent.

Terence Crawford celebrates after beating Amir Khan at Madison Sq. Backyard. Al Bello/Getty Photos

Crawford at current is essentially the most adaptable and versatile fighter within the sport. He has an uncanny means to regulate on the fly which is augmented along with his fixed change in stance. A method or one other, Omaha’s best will at first decipher his foes after which decimate them with a chilly and calculating effectivity.

He is additionally as ruthless a finisher as there’s within the sport, which is why Khan’s coach, Virgil Hunter, advised ESPN he determined to tug the plug on the battle when he did. He understood his job is to guard his fighter, and, in the end, he did his job. Hunter could not save him from shedding, however he saved him from a chronic beating.

The consensus is that Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko are the 2 finest fighters within the sport. The query at this second shouldn’t be can anybody beat them, however can they discover first rate dance companions whereas they’re nonetheless of their bodily primes? Though Lomachenko, who handily defeated Anthony Crolla final week in Los Angeles, is being set as much as probably unify the light-weight division, the long run prospects aren’t so clear for Crawford.

Terence Crawford lands a punch on Amir Khan on April 20 at MSG. Mikey Williams/Prime Rank

Now, that does not imply there is not a transparent favourite for the battle that needs to be made. The boxing world desires the Crawford showdown with IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr., who not too long ago shutout Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium. Though it appears Spence has extra choices on his aspect of the road since successful his title in opposition to Kell Brook in 2017, he has confronted the likes of Lamont Peterson, Carlos O’Campo and Garcia.

”The welterweight division in packed,” mentioned Spence on the evening of March 16. “You bought Terence Crawford, you bought Shawn Porter, you’ve got bought Keith Thurman, you’ve got bought guys like (Yordenis) Ugas, you’ve got bought Danny Garcia. So it is packed, and it is a loaded division.”

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However there’s just one battle that actually issues: Crawford-Spence. All the pieces else is simply actually a comfort prize. The followers need this battle, Crawford and Spence want it for his or her legacy, and the enterprise of boxing — and its energy brokers — wants it for its personal credibility.

“It should take everybody to cooperate,” mentioned Spence when requested the way it could possibly be consummated.

After the principle occasion on Saturday evening, Bob Arum stood within the ring and made it clear he would do every little thing in his energy to make this battle however that it is Al Haymon, who handles the profession of Spence, and that may proceed to be an obstructionist. Mainly, the 2 want to bounce, and sadly, it isn’t going to be simple.

Crawford has had a sequence of stable victories, starting from Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Viktor Postol. He’s a three-division champion and was the undisputed ruler at junior welterweight. It is actually a stable résumé, however it does lack that one signature win.

The identical could possibly be mentioned of Spence. The 2 want one another, and in the event that they do meet up, the boxing world will likely be in for a deal with.

Teofimo Lopez celebrates with a again flip after his KO victory over Edis Tatli. Ed Mulholland/ESPN Photos

Whereas Crawford is the current, it is clear that Teofimo Lopez is the long run.

Lopez defeated Edis Tatli in 4 rounds on Saturday evening, ending Tatli off with a single proper hand to the physique. It is not simply that Lopez wins, however it’s the aptitude with which he does so. As he did with the likes of William Silva, Mason Menard and Diego Magdaleno, Lopez left an impression on the viewers Saturday.

In contrast to Shakur Stevenson, one other vibrant prospect, who was taken the space whereas dominating Christopher Diaz, Lopez as soon as once more left the individuals wanting extra.

“We promised to take over the present, and as soon as once more, I took it over,” mentioned Lopez. “I did not have the most effective camp, however I did what I wanted to do and got here out victorious. I knew I used to be going to get him with a physique shot. I softened him up and completed him.”

There are rising considerations that the younger, pugilistic prodigy wants a extra skilled and steady coaching surroundings, however it’s laborious to knock the outcomes to date. Reality be advised, this was roughly a workmanlike effort from Lopez, who confirmed solely flashes of his huge offensive arsenal to start this battle in opposition to Tatli, who had by no means been stopped in his earlier 33 fights.

On this specific evening, the gifted and precocious Lopez was the principle supporting bout on the pay-per-view card. It can most probably be the final time he will likely be on any undercard. Regardless of his relative inexperience of solely 13 fights, it is clear that Lopez is a sophisticated prospect who has develop into a legit light-weight contender.

However do not inform Lopez he is a prospect anymore. As an alternative, he believes he is a soon-to-be world champion. That is undoubtedly potential, however that first championship alternative is not prone to come in opposition to Lomachenko.

There are two realities that exist within the situation that forestall a megafight in opposition to Lomachenko from taking place. First, Lomachenko (who holds the WBA and WBO titles) has made it clear that until Lopez has a belt round his waist, he actually has little interest in going through him. And second, Lopez is having growing problem making the 135-pound restrict. At 21 years of age, his physique is of course rising out of the division.

Provided that dilemma, the plans are actually up within the air for Lopez. Ideally, he’d safe just a few extra fights that may put him in place to battle for one of many light-weight titles, however to get to that time, he would want some higher competitors. There aren’t many who wish to step within the ring with him at the moment, however opponents will likely be discovered and the journey to a title will proceed.

As soon as Prime Rank is ready to pull all of that collectively, Lopez will seize the highlight as the principle occasion — a spot he’ll have earned, and a spot he’ll probably keep for a really, very very long time.

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