Terence Crawford’s long-stated goal was to unify all four belts at 140 pounds. On Saturday night, he did so, beating Julius Indongo inside of three rounds. Now, the pressure of the position is already a factor.
The IBF has ordered Crawford (32-0, 23 KO) to make a mandatory defense against Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KO), and there won’t even be a negotiation window. Lipinets’ promoter, Tom Brown, asked to forego that period and go to an immediate purse bid, and that’s the order.
So less than 48 hours after gaining the IBF belt — along with the WBA title — from Indongo, Crawford is already faced with major decisions. And with three other sanctioning bodies all having their mandatory challengers and politics to play, the chances of Crawford actually hanging on to these four belts for any length of time is perhaps pretty slim. The last time we saw someone win even three of four major belts, it was Tyson Fury in the heavyweight division in 2015, and one of his (the IBF title, actually) was gone within a fortnight.
Whether or not Crawford much cares about that is another story, though. He accomplished more than is even really reasonable in today’s environment, and maybe he knows full well that it’s more about the achievement than what inevitably comes after.
Crawford is also desired at 147 pounds by Top Rank, who reportedly would like to match him with the Horn-Pacquiao rematch winner in 2018.