Terence Crawford Stops Benavidez in the Final RoundAfter 11 rounds of dominance, Terence Crawford wanted to give his hometown Omaha fans a satisfying ending to his show. So, despite his trainers telling him to play it safe, Crawford landed an uppercut in the final round that dropped Jose Benavidez Jr., then followed up with a flurry that forced the referee to stop the fight. At the time of the stoppage, Crawford was ahead on the scorecards, 110-99, 107-102 and 108-101.
Part of what made the ending possible was that Crawford’s consistent bodywork had slowed Benavidez down significantly, which combined with his already limited movement due to the gunshot which destroyed his back knee left Benavidez a stationary target for the final rounds of the fight. To Benavidez’s credit, he was countering well early in the fight, landing counter right hands and the occasional jab when he committed to throwing them. However, Crawford landed far more punches, a fact punctuated by Benavidez’s putting his hands down and shaking his head after every Crawford flurry. While plenty of fighters shake off the occasional clean punch, Benavidez did it so often that rather than show he was not getting hurt by Crawford’s punches, it accentuated just how much he was getting hit.
After the fight, Bob Arum said that he would like to see Crawford fight Errol Spence Jr. but didn’t think other PBC fighters like Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter were “elite” and argued he’d rather see Crawford matched up with either Alexander Besputin or Egidijus Kavaliauskas; far lesser known fighters who are also promoted by Bob Arum. Although they are both undefeated, it’s hard to imagine either man giving Crawford significant problems.
In a package on Terence Crawford’s childhood ESPN ran before his fight, Crawford’s mom talked about how she would challenge the kids of Omaha to try and beat up her son for a 10-dollar reward, and how nobody ever could. Hopefully Arum is serious about making the Spence fight, otherwise Ms. Crawford’s 10 dollars could be safe for a very long time.
Shakur Stevenson Destroys Simion in OneShakur Stevenson’s night was basically perfect. Not only did he knockout his replacement opponent in one round, but then he predicted Crawford would destroy Benavidez, which showed he is as good a prognosticator as he is a fighter.
Viorel Simion had never been knocked down, never mind out, in 23 professional prizefights. Yet, all it took was one precision right hook to put him down, then another right hook for Stevenson to end the fight completely. Although Stevenson was supposed to win, this fight was supposed to be much more difficult as Simion had only lost decisions to elite British fighters Lee Selby and Scott Quigg, both of whom he fought in the UK.
After the fight, Stevenson called out Lee Selby and Josh Warrington, saying he’d gladly fight both men in England. While his team undoubtedly would rather build him up slowly before fights of that quality, after such an impressive performance on Saturday night it’s hard to justify putting him in the ring with anyone but the elite of the elite.
Zolani Tete Decisions Mikhail Aloyan to Advance in WBSS Bantamweight TournamentIn an ugly fight, South Africa’s Zolani Tete advanced to the next round of the World Boxing Super Series with a unanimous 114-111, 114-110, 114-110 decision victory over Mikhail Aloyan. Fighting in Aloyan’s home nation of Russia, Tete dropped Aloyan in the first round but couldn’t capitalize on it. That was by far the highlight of the fight, as there was so much holding during the bout that Tete was docked a point for holding in the 10th and Aloyan was docked a point for holding in the 11th.
With the win, Tete advances to face the winner of the fight between the tournament’s top seed Ryan Burnett and veteran knockout artist Nonito Donaire. Aloyan on the other hand, becomes another cautionary tale about fast-tracking a title shot after a lengthy amateur career.
Tabiti Decisions Fayfer to Advance in WBSS Cruiserweight TournamentThe poor Russian boxing fans who had to watch their hometown fighter lose a boring decision to a South African had to also watch another one of their hometown fighters lose a boring decision to an American first. Yes, in the undercard matchup of the Tete-Aloyan card, American Andrew Tabiti won a unanimous 116-110, 115-112, 114-113 decision over Russian fighter Ruslan Fayfer. Tabiti blamed the fight’s lack of entertainment value on Fayfers style, saying “the guy was really awkward. He wanted to make it dirty.” With the win, Tabiti advanced to fight the winner of the fight between Mateusz Masternak and monster puncher Yunier Dorticos.
Adames Stops Conley in Two to Move to 15-0 with 12 KnockoutsFormer Terence Crawford sparring partner Carlos Adames was supposed to look like something special against Josh Conley, and he did. Adames dropped Conley three times before the referee stopped the fight in the second round. With the win, Adames became the NABF super welterweight champion, and a fighter to watch at 154.
Scottish Trainer Billy Nelson Won’t Let Fighter Quit on the StoolIt was an interesting weekend for Scottish boxing trainer Billy Nelson. On the one hand, his fighter “Lightning” Lee Mcgregor (why does every Lee feel the need to be Lightning?) scored a 12th round knockout to win the British commonwealth title in his fifth professional fight. That was good.
He also wouldn’t let his heavyweight fighter Martin Bakole quit on the stool, despite the fighter begging for help after suffering an apparent shoulder injury. That was really bad. Bakole was stopped in the final round, and the internet exploded in anger over the actions of Nelson. The trainer’s most important job is to protect his fighter, and if your fighter wants out you should obviously stop the fight, and hopefully do it in a way that preserve your fighter’s reputation. The internet was 100-percent correct to be angry to have been upset, and the key is that they would still have been justified in being upset even if Bakole had been the one to knock out his opponent in the last round.