Weeks before the fight between Terence Crawford and Egidijus Kavaliauskas took place, not many felt that it would be much of a bout. After a few rounds, the crowd in attendance at Madison Square Garden and those watching on television were watching a good scrap between two fighters. In the end, the consensus favorite was able to get the win.
After nine grueling rounds that had changes in momentum, Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) defeated Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) by stoppage to retain the WBO welterweight championship and stay unbeaten. Crawford hands the Lithuanian his first loss of his career and honors his mandatory defense of his title.
In the beginning of the fight, Crawford started in the southpaw stance against his opponent and landed a couple of jabs to set the pace. What he may not have expected was for Kavaliauskas to time his punches and counter with the right hand. In the third round, that right hand threw off Crawford’s balance and it seemed like the challenger scored a knockdown, but it was ruled a slip by referee Ricky Gonzalez. After that, Kavaliauskas continued to land with the right hand after Crawford was throwing lead right jabs on him, and it looked like the challenger was doing well against the undefeated champion.
That momentum switched over when Crawford began to walk down his opponent and mix up his punches in the fifth and sixth rounds. When he took a few of the right hands of Kavaliauskas, Crawford felt that he couldn’t be hurt so he took his time and threw combinations when the chance came up and also blocked punches that Kavaliauskas threw. In the seventh round, Crawford continued to pursue Kavaliauskas, and at the 1 minute mark of the round he switched to the orthodox stance. By doing that, he was able to stun Kavaliauskas in an exchange and then knock him down with a right hand before the end of the round.
Kavaliuskas got up from that right hand and made it to the end of the round, but the momentum was clearly in Crawford’s favor and he was not ready to give that away. He continued to break down Kavaliauskas in the eighth round, and then in the opening 30 seconds of the ninth round Crawford stunned Kavaliauskas with two left hands then followed with a right uppercut to put his opponent on the canvas once again. After getting up and receiving the eight count, Kavaliauskas went down from a right hand by Crawford which forced Gonzalez to stop the fight.
It was a tough few rounds for the native of Omaha, but he felt that he wanted to have an action-filled fight for the fans. “I thought I had to entertain ya’ll for a little bit. He’s a strong fighter, durable, and I thought I’d give the crowd something to cheer for,” Crawford stated after the fight was over.
The subject of that right hand that landed in the third round also came up, but Crawford felt that it wasn’t much of an issue. “I wasn’t hurt at all. I got up and went straight to him. I wasn’t hurt by no means. I walked through everything he threw all night.”
As the multi-division champion registered his 36th win of his professional career on Saturday night, boxing fans wanted to know what is in the near future for Crawford. There has been talk for months about him facing the top guys in the welterweight division from another promotional company, but nothing has come to fruition as of yet. However, Terence Crawford reminded the public that he is willing to challenge anyone at 147 pounds.
“I’m not ducking anyone on the PBC side or Top Rank platform. I want to fight all the top guys.”
Cover photo by Mikey Williams