On paper, it was a salivating fistic menu featuring one of the sports best fighter’s pound for pound along with one of its hottest rising stars and one of its top prospects. All undefeated, in separate bouts, live on ESPN PPV under the bright lights of world’s famous Madison Square Garden in NYC. With names like Terence Crawford, Teofimo Lopez and Shakur Stevenson lighting up the big city marquee, in low suspense, showcase affairs, what could possibly go wrong, right?
Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KO’s) KO 6 Amir Khan (33-5, 20 KO’s)
Few if any expected Khan, silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics to defeat Crawford, arguably top of the food chain regardless of weight class. In fact, many figured the reigning WBO welterweight champion would dispose of Khan inside of the 12 scheduled rounds yet would struggle somewhat with the speed and fighting spirit of the Englishman, renown for going out on his shield. That wouldn’t be the case this night, however. A slow starter, it took Crawford less than a round to deposit the customarily quick starting Khan to the canvas. “King” Khan reached with a jab and “Bud” Crawford unloaded an overhand right-left hook combination. A right hand-left uppercut salvo buckled Khan just before the bell.
Crawford head hunted a bit much then switched to southpaw in the 3rd, creating new openings. He stalked Khan, flurried to his body and banged right hooks off his head. Khan swung back and missed wildly, a clear indictment of how futile his efforts were. In the 6th, an accidental low blow landed high on Khan’s right thigh, resulting in a break in the action. Problem is, Khan sold the low blow as if it connected with his groin area, which replay evidence showed was not the case. With up to five full minutes available to recover, Khan quickly advised his corner he was unable to continue, fight stopped, KO Crawford.
Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KO’s) KO 5 Edis Tatli (31-3 10 KO’s)
Brooklyn’s Lopez, himself a 2016 Honduran Olympian, has carved a path of destruction, skyrocketing him up the list of “must-see” young fighters. William Silva, Mason Menard and Diego Magdeleno were all dispatched of in chilling fashion, something Tatli also seemed to be acutely aware of. A former winner of Finland’s version of the popular “Dancing with the Stars” series, Tatli used good footwork, appreciable defensive wherewithal and a jab or three to prevent the blood thirsty Lopez from completely overwhelming him early. Nonetheless, Lopez ramped the pressure up a level in the 4th, trapped Tatli along the ropes and in corners for most of the round and unleashed hand grenades.
In the 5th, a straight right to the body convinced Tatli to stay grounded and take a 10-count KO loss. Lopez wouldn’t elaborate but said he didn’t have his best training camp in preparation for Tatli. For Tatli’s sake, that’s a blessing.
Shakur Stevenson (11-0, 6 KO’s) UD 10 Christopher Diaz (24-2, 16 KO’s)
Some asked if Stevenson, 2016 Olympic silver medalist, was biting off a bit more than he could chew with Diaz. After all, Diaz challenged for a world title at 130 and came into this contest ranked # 3 by the WBO. When all was said and done, we learned Shakur is ready for just about any of the elite at 126, save for maybe Gary Russell, Jr. and Oscar Valdez.