Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Big Fight Preview: Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol: Can The Hunter Melt The Ice Man

By Peter Silkov

When Terence ‘The Hunter’ Crawford (28-0, 20 koes), takes on Viktor ‘The Ice Man’ Postol (28-0, 12koes) this Saturday, July 23, at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, there will be much more on the line than simply both men’s world title belts. This fight is a little bit special, as it pits two of today’s most promising young champions against each other, this Saturday.

Crawford will be putting his WBO world light-welterweight title on the line, while Postol seeks to defend his WBC world light-welterweight championship.

At a time when so many world champions are doing everything they can to avoid fighting each other, this fight comes as a breath of fresh air.

Photo: Getty Images
Out of the two men, Terence Crawford is already a star in the making. He has made steady progress over the last few years, winning the WBO world lightweight title from Ricky Burns in 2014, defending it twice, before moving up and adding the WBO world light-welterweight title to his collection in April of last year.

It is a sad fact that, in the modern era, fighters collect world titles from different weight division in a blink of an eye, and often without facing any matches of substance along the way. That said, Crawford vs. Postol is a match of substance, which should tell us quite a bit about both men.

Postol’s main problem during his professional career so far has been finding boxers willing to fight him. The Ukrainian finally achieved his ‘breakout’ fight in his last outing nine months ago, when he stopped Lucas Matthysse in 10 rounds, to win the vacant WBC world light-welterweight championship.

Now Postol has a real chance of becoming another one of boxing’s growing Eastern European stars, if he can upset ‘The Hunter’ Terence Crawford.

This has all of the hallmarks of a  well-matched fight. Both boxers are sound technicians, with good punches.  Crawford however, looks to be the one with that little bit extra. He is more flexible technically than the slightly robotic Postol, with superior speed, and it would seem, a sharper punch.  Yet in Postol, Crawford is facing an opponent who is actually bigger than him. One of the biggest questions in this fight is just how good is Viktor Postol. The beauty of this fight is that we have two world class boxers who are both undefeated, both matching each other in size, age, and both coming into their athletic primes, and the result will be that they should produce the best from each other. This is what world class boxing should be about, and we should be seeing matches like this and upcoming (we hope) Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev showdown, far more often. 

The winner of this contest will emerge with a good argument for being the true number one boxer at 140 pounds, and will be a step closer to achieving that tantalizing ’stardom’ that so many fighters are now chasing since the retirement of Floyd Mayweather. The pity for boxing is that too few of today’s ’world champions’ are chasing stardom the right way, that is, by fighting their most dangerous rivals.

This particular showdown between Crawford and Postal looks set to be a tantalizing technical war, rather than a gung-ho, all-guns blazing, shoot out.  It could very well be a battle of the jabs for much of the fight, as both men look for chins in the others armour. As the fight progresses, Crawford’s extra speed and power will give him those crucial edges that will lead to him making a breakthrough by the later rounds, by which time he should have gained control of the fight.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
This will be Crawford’s biggest challenge so far in his professional career, but it is one that he should be able to pass impressively in the end, with either a late stoppage or a clear point’s decision. Good though he is, Postol will find that Terence Crawford just has that extra something, which can make the difference between a boxer being a good fighter and a genuine champion with star potential.
In this fight, Crawford will be stepping into Mayweather’s old haunt, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, for the first time.  He will be hoping that this is the first step to him taking over from Mayweather, as boxing’s number one, pound-for-pound, superstar.

HBO Documentary "My Fight":

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