Before we get to the madness of Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather next Saturday, boxing fans will be quick to point out that one of the country’s best fighters is in action on August 19 in a rarity in today’s boxing climate — a true unification bout.
Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs) will take on Julius Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Crawford is the WBC, WBO and Ring Magazine super lightweight champion. He’s also the lineal division champion. Meanwhile, Indongo holds the WBA and IBF titles. The winner of this fight, which will be broadcast on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET, will hold every major title in the division. There is no other weight-class that is even close to having a unified champion.
In his last fight on May 20, Crawford stopped powerful southpaw Felix Diaz in the 10th round. In that bout, Bud was listed at -2000 against an Olympic champion.
The fact that he’s taking another fight in less than three months should tell you how smooth Crawford’s performance against Diaz, who was never stopped before in his career, was before his corner mercifully threw in the towel.
Indongo, 34, will need to be absolutely perfect to have a prayer of crashing the party in Crawford’s backyard. That’s not to say the Namibian isn’t deserving of the fight because he is probably the only true test left for Crawford at 140 pounds.
Just glancing at the tale of the tape, you wouldn’t be crazy to suggest there may be value on Indongo at +950. He’s an undefeated world champion and has two inches on Crawford in height and reach and just put in a good shift against Rick Burns Jr. But remember that those odds are suggesting that Indongo wins one out of every ten fights with Crawford. That is off the mark.
This is just the third time Indongo will be fighting outside of Namibia. It is his first fight in the USA. This is a gigantic step up in competition. Sure he is a southpaw, but so was Diaz and over his last few fights Crawford has shown the ability to sublimely switch back-and-forth between orthodox and southpaw.
So without any value on Crawford or Indongo, where should someone seeking action on the fight look?
At plus-money, the Under 9.5.
Crawford has stopped five of his last six opponents. Three of the stoppages came before the ninth round. The only fighter to go the distance with Bud since 2014 was the tricky Viktor Postol, who was coming off a huge upset against Argentine knockout artist Lucas Mathysse.
Also keep in mind that Crawford will be looking to make a statement in the ring. More than likely this is Bud’s last fight at 140 pounds before moving up to a welterweight division that boasts Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman — both of whom are, like Crawford, keen to be recognized as the best American boxer once Money Mayweather actually hangs ’em up.
In front of a raucous hometown crowd, Crawford will put on a show and close the curtains early.
[Photo credit: Steve Branscombe, USA Today]