Crawford beats Postol in title unification fight
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 24, 2016 12:56 PM
Terence Crawford celebrates after defeating Viktor Postol by unanimous decision in their WBC-WBO junior welterweight title unification bout in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)TIM DAHLBERG
AP Boxing Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Terence Crawford was so sure of his victory Saturday night that he spent part of the final round with his hands at his side, taunting Viktor Postol.
What he's not so sure of is that Manny Pacquiao will agree to his terms and fight him at 140 pounds in November.
"It will be at 140, definitely," Crawford said. "But I'm going on vacation now. We're not worried about Manny Pacquiao right now."
Crawford turned in a dominating performance Saturday night in a battle of unbeaten champions, knocking Postol down twice on his way to a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision to put himself in the running for a fight with Pacquiao - who has fought most recently at 147 pounds - in November.
Crawford took control of the 140-pound title unification fight with two knockdowns in the fifth round, and then shut down Postol the rest of the way. He was so far ahead in the 12th round that he put his arms down at his side at one point, taunting Postol.
Both fighters came into the bout with titles and records of 28-0. But Crawford was clearly the best technical fighter, despite giving away significant height and reach advantage to the Ukrainian.
Crawford won 118-107 on two ringside scorecards, and 117-108 on the third. The Associated Press had him winning 118-107.
"Postol is a great champion and he was undefeated for a reason," Crawford said. "We got the job done tonight."
Crawford, who has won all seven of his title fights, was impressive in spurts as he controlled the fight from the early rounds on. He dropped Postol with the first punch of the fifth round, then dropped him again later in the round after battering him across the ring with a big left hand.
The knockdowns seemed to take some energy out of Postol and Crawford spent the rest of the fight circling and not allowing Postol to get set. When Crawford did stop to punch, he landed some big shots to Postol's head.
"That's boxing," Crawford said. "That's how you box, with movement. That's what boxing is all about."
Crawford, who was cheered by a vocal contingent of fans from his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, was a 6-1 favorite heading into the fight despite both fighters holding identical records and pieces of the super lightweight title.
It turned out the oddsmakers were on target as Crawford took what was an even fight on the scorecards after four rounds and turned it into a runaway win.
"He was just too fast," said Postol's trainer, Freddie Roach. "I was surprised at how fast and good he was."
Crawford spent almost the entire fight as a southpaw, switching early from a conventional stance as he often does. He frustrated Postol, who tried to fight from the outside but seemed unwilling to trade punches.
Crawford said he wanted to fight Pacquiao, but that the fight would be at 140 pounds. Pacquiao, who has fought at 147 pounds in recent years, is tentatively set to return to the ring Nov. 5 and promoter Bob Arum said the winner of the fight would be a prime candidate as an opponent.
Postol, whose wife gave birth to twins earlier in the week, said Crawford forced him out of his rhythm and he was unable to carry out his fight plan.
"He was quicker than me. He's one of the best in the world," Postol said. "I just didn't have the answers tonight."
Two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez Jr. won a piece of the featherweight title on the undercard, stopping Argentina's Matias Rueda with a series of punches in the second round.
Valdez dominated the fight between two unbeaten boxers, landing big shots to the head in the first round and dropping Rueda with a hook to the body in the second. Rueda got up but Valdez swarmed over him, landing several more punches to put him down for a second time and end the fight at 2:18 of the second round.
Valdez leaped into the arms of his cornerman screaming in joy at becoming a champion in his 20th professional fight.
"It's a dream," he said. "Since I started boxing at 8 years old I wanted to be a world champion."
The title was vacant after Vasyl Lomachenko vacated his belt after moving up to super featherweight.
Valdez, a bronze medalist in the 2012 Olympics, improved to 20-0 with 18 knockouts, while Rueda fell to 26-1.