Why isn’t everyone talking about the fight card that falls upon us this weekend? You know the one, it involves one of the best Pound 4 Pound fighters in the world sandwiched between a contest that will see two of the Lightweight divisions premier fighters go head to head plus a revenge mission that dates back to the amateurs.
The marketing has been non-existent from Top Rank, amiss the campaigning or even much social media presence that we have witnessed from promotions, in all honesty, I can’t quite put my finger on the reasoning as to why, perhaps Uncle Bob knows something we don’t, envisaging the pull of the contest without the need of such extravaganza, what I do know is that this is a solid fight card from Madison Square Garden in New York.
Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) returns to take on the unbeaten Lithuanian Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) in a contest which will have a lot of interested parties’ peaked in the need to somehow see a weakness to exploit should the opportunity arise.
Speculation of Errol Spence Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia has continued in it’s rifeness but with promotions, Tv companies still at loggerheads it remains to be seen if a deal can be put in place, unfortunately for Crawford, most of the division’s elite are shaded under the PBC umbrella which makes negotiations slightly less savoury.
Crawford, however, is not taking his eye off the challenge that presents itself this coming weekend, saying yesterday “I am well-prepared for whatever he brings to the table, and I’m sure they know that as well. … I’m not focused on no other opponent besides the opponent that’s in front of me,”
“Anyone else is talk. It goes in one ear and out the other. He’s young, hungry and I’m not taking him lightly.”
Knowing that a win over the Pound 4 Pound star could open a lot of doors, two-time Olympian Kavaliauskas has worked tirelessly in preparation for the biggest fight of his career to date.
“Crawford was on my mind from the start of training camp in June. So every day was Crawford, Crawford, Crawford. My mindset is good,” said Kavaliauskas, a two-time Olympian for Lithuania, who fights out of Oxnard, California. “I’m happy for this fight. When this fight was made officially, I was super happy. I was smiling all day. I want to fight the best, and we’re fighting in the Mecca of Boxing.”
The triple-header will also witness two of the Lightweight division’s best go head to head with the winner in contention to face Vasyl Lomachenko, early next year. Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) will be making the second defense of his title against the red hot prospect Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs).
“It’s a blessing. It’s a breathtaking moment. It’s just something I have to visualize and just know that, 22 years old, I have a great opportunity here to do a lot,” Lopez told ESPN “I’m excited, man. What better way to finish off the year than fight in the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, for my first world title, in New York? This is a moment right here.”
In the nights opener of the telecast, Irish star Michael Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs) will hope to have better success in the paid ranks than that against Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) in the amateurs, the Russian holding two wins over the two-time Olympian.
Not that it is hard to forget but you may remember the one finger salute Conlan gave to the judges at the 2016 Olympic Games when he was controversially defeated, well that was against the man who will stand across from him on Saturday night.
“Mick Conlan gets his chance for revenge,” Arum said. “You all know the story. When most people thought he’d won his fight in the Olympics and Nikitin was given the nod, now they have a chance in professional boxing for revenge, a rematch. And that will be of interest to fans all over the world.”