Terence Crawford retained his WBO welterweight title and kept his undefeated record, knocking out David Avanesyan in the final minute of the sixth round tonight in Omaha, Neb.
Crawford (39-0, 30 KO) got some good looks from the game Avanesyan here, but he never seemed to be losing control of the bout or anything. Avanesyan (29-4-1, 17 KO) came to fight, which even the bout’s detractors knew he would, but once Crawford really flipped the switch in round six and started sitting down on shots, he was out of his depth — which is also what the bout’s detractors expected.
Avanesyan did have some success, but in the moments starting in about round four when Crawford would turn up the heat even a bit, his forward pressure saw him stuck in the mud and at the mercy of Crawford’s superior speed and shot selection.
The knockout was a wicked shot, a right hook that came at the end of a combination, and put Avanesyan flat out on the canvas. There was no getting up there. He did eventually come to and appeared to be OK.
“I was just warming up in the earlier rounds,” Crawford said. “I started picking up the pace, planting my feet, and I caught him with a hook. We knew what he was gonna bring to the table. We knew he was gonna go back-and-forth between orthodox and southpaw, we knew he was gonna counter and pressure me.”
Asked if Errol Spence Jr would be next, Crawford only said, “I’m a free agent. This was a one-fight deal. Hopefully these big fights come about in the near future.”
Crawford vs Avanesyan highlights
Undercard highlights and results
- Cris Cyborg UD-4 Gabby Holloway: The official, actually sanctioned boxing debut for MMA legend Cris Cyborg, who dropped Holloway (0-3, herself mainly an MMA fighter) in the third round. Didn’t get the stoppage, but she went for it, Holloway survived the final round more than anything. No big call-out or anything. Fighting at 154, Cyborg would be really limited in “payday” type opponents, but there has been mention in the past of her doing a catchweight with lightweight champ Katie Taylor. I doubt that happens, but the world is a strange place, you never know until you know.
- Arnold Khegai SD-10 Eduardo Baez: The best-matched fight on the show on paper, but wound up really bad to watch, honestly. Neither guy had much accuracy nor did they show a lot of quality. Maybe it was just a bad style matchup because they both looked physically OK and all that; sometimes styles just don’t gel, and boy did these not, as nearly 18,000 in Omaha were so quiet by the middle rounds that you could have heard a particularly raunchy fart from row six if anyone had let ‘er rip. Khegai (19-1-1, 11 KO) got two cards, 95-94 and 96-93, and Baez (21-4-2, 7 KO) won the other one, 95-94. Bad Left Hook unofficially scored the fight 96-93 for Khegai, who was docked a point in round nine after about 30 warnings from the referee, who had seen enough!
- Jeremiah Milton UD-6 Dajuan Calloway: Calloway (5-2, 5 KO) is a big fella, weighed in nearly 400 lbs for this fight — 387½, to be exact — but he’s a big fella who knows what he’s doing out there, works within a frankly very limited range of physical ability, doesn’t waste energy. (I don’t mean that in a funny way.) He makes it tough. Milton (8-0, 6 KO) got the W on scores of 58-56, 59-55, and 59-55, and he deserved the win. He also got a weird sort of lesson that he won’t ever really repeat and probably never needed to learn, but he took the fight for what it was and didn’t try to force anything dumb.
- Steven Nelson TKO-1 James Ballard: This was awful. Ballard (10-5, 3 KO) tripped trying to get into the ring before the fight, looked absolutely lost in the 2:40 this lasted, and got dropped and mercifully stopped. Nelson (18-0, 15 KO) is 34 years old, this was his first fight in over two years because of an Achilles tear, and he’s never really fought at world level. He does have skills, and if he’s going to make a push for the top level at 168/175, 2023 is the time. Good to get him back in the ring, but this was really bad, even for what it was supposed to be.