Mikey Williams | Top Rank Boxing
Terence “Bud” Crawford celebrates after knocking out Julius Indongo to become the undisputed junior welterweight champion.
Mikey Williams | Top Rank Boxing Terence “Bud” Crawford celebrates after knocking out Julius Indongo to become the undisputed junior welterweight champion.

August 22, 2017

Lincoln, Nebraska

What does it take to be heralded the best pound for pound fighter in the world?

The distinction has been hanging in the balance since the 2016 retirement of boxing’s former pound-for-pound king Flloyd Mayweather Jr. With a talented crop of fighters prospering in every weight class, boxing fans, purists and experts have been left to debate who would replace the undefeated Mayweather at the top of the mountain.

On a rainy night in Lincoln, junior welterweight Terence “Bud” Crawford forced his way into the discussion Saturday in the Pinnacle Bank Arena with a third round knockout of undefeated champion Julius Indongo off a vicious left hook to the rib cage. The blow came one minute and 38 seconds into the round. Indongo folded like a law chair after Crawford’s left glove made the connection. Referee Jack Reiss ran over to the badly injured Indongo and began a 10 count. The Namibian fighter failed to return to his feet, earning Crawford an electrifying victory.

“I knew the body was going to be open with the way throws punches and that was something that we have been working on in the gym,” Crawford said after the fight. “My coach always told me (Indongo) was going to throw wild shots and to catch him in the middle. That’s what we did.”

Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), former lightweight title holder, arrived in Lincoln wielding the WBO, WBC and Ring titles. Saturday was his sixth title defense. Indongo was defending his IBF, IBO and WBA titles - with the IBF and WBA belts being the universally recognized titles.

Saturday’s victory earned Crawford distinction as boxing’s only current undisputed champion and the first fighter to earn undisputed status since Jermain Taylor in 2005.

“I am number one pound-for-pound, that’s it,” Crawford said. “I’m blessed to be where I am right now. I’m humble to keep finding success.”

12,121 fans came to support the Omaha native. The fight card featured a number of entertaining one-sided bouts that kept the audience alive leading up to the main event. Former heavyweight title challenger Bryant Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) returned to the ring after a two and a half year layoff to delver a brutal TKO victory over Daniel Martz (15-4-1, 12 KOs).

Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (2-0, 1 KO) was able to remain unbeaten with a flawless unanimous decision victory over Argentinian slugger David Paz (4-3-1, 0 KOs). Stevenson represented the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“It felt great to fight in this atmosphere here in Lincoln,” Stevenson said after his dominant performance. “Terence’s people always show me a lot of love and I’ve had a great week here in Nebraska.”

The co-main event saw Ukrainian prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0, 11 KOs) successfully defend his regional NABO and NABF titles with a six round TKO victory over a game Texan in Craig Baker (17-1, 13 KOs).

After a brief intermission, Indongo made his way to the ring to a symphony of boos and jeers coming from the thousands in attendance. Indongo responded with a grin and a quick wave. The boos soon turned to thunderous applause and screams as Crawford appeared in an elevated seating section wearing a red Husker jersey with the number 140. He slowly walked down the stadium-style steps to “The World’s Greatest” by R. Kelly. His team held his belts above their heads as they led him through the audience.

Indongo was the taller man in the ring. He touted a 1.5 inch reach advantage. His frame was visibly larger.

The Namibian’s physical advantages did nothing to pierce Crawford’s hometown advantage. The audience chanted ‘Crawford! Crawford!’ throughout the fight. They cheered every time Crawford landed a shot.

The audiences’ presence seemed to have raddled Indongo. He threw his punches wildly through the air, missing Crawford by considerable margins. Indongo landed 18 percent of his punches, while Crawford landed a solid 34 percent, according to CompuBox.

Crawford dropped Indongo in the second round with a quick three punch combination to the Indongo’s temple.

Indongo seemed to have recovered from the knockdown, but he continued to swing and miss, leaving himself wide open for counter punches.

Crawford would capitalized on said opportunity with two counter shots to Indongo’s ribs. Crawford would leap into the air several times in celebration of his knockout of Indongo.

“I feel great,” Crawford said in a post fight interview. “I feel like I hadn’t even fought.

“When you start boxing when you’re 7 years old, that’s your dream, to become world champion. After that, you want to become something bigger than world champion. You go to the highest level possible.”

The jury is currently out on whether Crawford will immediately defend his titles or move up seven pounds in weight to take on the champions at welterweight. He recently called out unified welterwight champion Keith Thurman, a heavy hitting combatant that currently holds two belts

“I’m on my way (to 147),” Crawford said. “At the end of the day, there is only going to be one name, and that’s going to be Terence Crawford.”