It was a momentous night of boxing action at the MGM Grand Arena Saturday night in Las Vegas. The HBO PPV telecast featured two title fights; one being the main event unification super lightweight title bout between Terence "Bud" Crawford and Viktor Postol. This fight would mark who the top dog is in the division. Fans could not ask for anything more. Number 1 versus Number 2.
The fight started out as most fights do. Round 1 was a typical feel out round for both boxers with Postol throwing his jab and Crawford doing the same throughout the round. This would continue on to the second round, as both seemed hesitant to let go although Crawford seemed to be the less tentative of the two. Postol attempted to throw the jab to the body of Crawford during the round. Crawford made an adjustment and switched to a southpaw stance to strategically throw off his taller opponent. Switching between orthodox and southpaw stances is something that Crawford has become known for early in his bright career, as he is just as effective with both. . Both fighters got a little more aggressive in rounds 3 and 4 as we saw the first significant punches of the fight land. Crawford was content to stay on the outside however, letting Postol follow him around the ring. This was a very questionable strategy for Postol who entered the ring with a three-inch height and reach advantage over Crawford.
Round 5 saw a jump in the action as Crawford scored 2 knockdowns against Postol. The first coming immediately at the start of the action of the round as Crawford landed a lunging right hand to the head of Postol that sent him down to one knee. It did not seem to be a punch that hurt Postol, more of a shot that sent him off balance. The second knockdown occurred a little later in the round when Crawford landed a straight left that clearly hurt his opponent. Postol staggered backward eventually touching his glove to the canvas although he was still on his feet. Crawford looked real smooth in there and did not force much. With Postol handily down on the scorecard after being knocked down twice in round 5, he had to take more chances and Crawford was able to counter effectively in the 6th round. The difference in the fight was Terence Crawford's ring generalship with half of the fight concluded. He was able to keep Postol following him around the ring and Postol was unable cut off the ring.
The second half of the fight began with more of the same. Crawford was in cruise control picking and choosing when he wanted to unleash shots in between his movement around the ring. Round 8 saw Crawford toying with Postol as the two began to engage in staring contests in the ring while Crawford laughed at his taller Ukrainian opponent. Even when Postol was able to engage, Crawford countered him. For every 1 shot Postol would throw or land, Crawford would answer with 3 of his own. Round 9 was fairly slow until Crawford unleashed a combination that sent Postol reeling. Postol appeared to be hurt as he retreated but regained his composure this time unlike earlier in the fight when he was knocked down. Postol appeared very frustrated at the end of the round.
The championship rounds, beginning with round 10 saw Crawford timing Postol as he got his feet set to throw. Crawford was either able to get his punches off as Postol set or land over the top of Postol's jab. Postol, also known as the Iceman had a little success in round 11 as he abandoned his jab and threw lead rights instead. He found a little rhythm, but that was all negated as he had a point taken away for hitting Crawford in the back of the head during a clinch. He was given a soft warning previously and the point deduction was rather minute by that point of the fight as Crawford was clearly outclassing Postol. In round 12 Postol put the pressure on as he only had one chance of winning. It was clear he needed a knockout to win the fight. He was able to land a few flurries even though Crawford answered back. It was little too late as Crawford was able to avoid any significant blows during the round. Crawford sealed the deal staggering his opponent with a straight right hand toward the end of the round.
The judges ruled Crawford the winner in a unanimous decision, making Crawford lineal champ in the 140-pound division as he added the WBC belt to his growing list of boxing accolades. This fight was also believed to be the audition for a potential Manny Pacquiao fight in November. HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Crawford what he thought about the possibility during the post-fight interview and he responded by saying, "It's whatever. I let my coaches handle that. Like I told y'all a million times, I'm a fighter. I'll fight anybody!”
On the undercard, 2012 Olympian Oscar Valdez captured his first world title by second round knockout over Matias Rueda of Argentina. Valdez definitively etched his name as one of the top fighters in the stacked featherweight division as he captured the vacant WBO belt. The fight prior to the co-main event ended with some controversy as Jose Benavidez scored a lopsided unanimous decision victory against Francisco "Chia" Santana. Many believe Santana won the fight or at least did enough to earn a draw. But the scorecards were anything but indicative of that as two judges had very questionable scorecards. The most controversial one coming from Judge Adalaide Byrd who scored the bout a 100-90 shutout for Benavidez, which was ridiculous. In the opening bout of the telecast, rising prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk improved his record to 11-0 with a 6th round knockout victory over Tommy Karpency, capturing the NABF light heavyweight title.