Terence Crawford made a third successful defense of the WBO welterweight title that he won 18 months ago, stopping tough challenger Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas in the ninth round at Madison Square Garden, live on ESPN.
The 32-year-old Crawford (36-0, 27 KO) got hit with some solid shots early in the fight by Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KO), who probably fared better than most expected, though in the end his story was the same as Crawford’s previous six opponents: stopped short of the distance, when the Nebraskan star dropped the Lithuanian once in the seventh and then two more times in the ninth.
It was a classic display of what “Bud” arguably does best, which is close. In the seventh round, he turned up the heat a bit and switched from southpaw to orthodox, where it’s generally accepted he generates more power. He hurt Kavaliauskas in the seventh, and as soon as he did, he set about closing the show:
Crawford’s victory may not exactly be one for the ages — he was an enormous betting favorite, after all, and nobody was picking the challenger to get the upset — but it showcased again why everyone wants to see him face the rest of the top welterweights in the division.