By Rich Cheney: Undefeated IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Julius Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) will be looking to snatch the titles away from WBC/WBO 140 pound champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs) in their fight next month on August 19 on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The 34-year-old Indongo will once again be the underdog, as he was when he fought against champion Eduard Troyanovsky and Ricky Burns in his last 2 fights. Indongo doesn’t care that he’s going to be walking into the 29-year-old Crawford’s hometown when he faces him next month. He plans on beating him just the same as if the fight were to take place anywhere.
”I’m under no pressure at all,” Indongo said to skysports.com. ”I’m going to Nebraska, USA, to wrestle those titles away from Crawford and it does not bother me that I’m going into his own backyard.”
This is Crawford’s biggest test of his boxing career. He’s fighting a guy with the size and the power to give him all kinds of problems. Indongo could be a nightmare for Crawford. You take away Crawford’s height and reach advantage from him, and he becomes very beatable.
The reason why Indongo has little pressure on him is because he’s expected to lose the fight. Indongo is the underdog. It helps when no one is expecting anything of you. Even if Indongo is merely competitive with Crawford, it’s still a big positive. Of course, he wants the win, but Indongo has got his work cut out for him fighting a talented guy like Crawford.
One thing that the 5’10 1/2” Indongo has going for him in this fight is his 2 1/2” height advantage over the 5’8” Crawford. He’s a lot taller than Crawford, and he knows how to use his long reach to his benefit.
Indongo is also a natural southpaw. The height, reach and southpaw stance should give Indongo a huge advantage over Crawford. In looking at Crawford working out, however, he’s training in the southpaw stance. Still, he’s not going to be as good fighting at southpaw as a natural southpaw like Indongo. It doesn’t matter how much time Crawford puts into working out as a southpaw, he’s not going to be at the same level as Indongo if he decides to stay in that stance for any length of time on August 19.
“As a team, we have a strategy and perfect game plan for Crawford, so I’m really not concerned with what my opponent has in store for me or the pressure of fighting in the States.”
Indongo has looked so good lately, it’s hard to picture him losing to Crawford. Indongo beat Ricky Burns in a more impressive manner in his last fight than Crawford did in his win over Burns in 2014. Indongo went into Burns’ hometown in Glasgow, Scotland and beat him by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 120-108, 118-110 and 116-112. It wasn’t even close. Crawford beat Burns by 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-112, 117-111 and 116-112 in 2014.
Indongo also beat previously undefeated Eduard Troyanovsky by a 1st round knockout on December 3, 2016 to win his IBF World super lightweight title. That was pretty impressive. That fight took place in Troyanovsky’s home country of Moscow, Russia. The Russian boxing fans looked shocked at how quickly Indongo knocked Troyanovsky out. Indongo nailed him with a big left hand to the head that put him down on the canvas. Troyanovsky was too badly hurt to get back to his feet.
Crawford has looked really good lately in beating Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Andrey Klimov. Boxing News Results views Crawford as the best fighter at 140 today; although that could change if Mikey Garcia moves up from the lightweight division to fight Crawford. Garcia isn’t expected to move up in weight soon though. He’s got a fight this month on July 29 against Adrien “The Problem” Broner at 140. Mikey will then be dropping back down to lightweight to try and unify all the titles in the division by beating Jorge Linares, Robert Easter Jr. and Terry Flanagan. It’s probably going to take at least 2 years for Garcia to accomplish that task. The lack of money in the lightweight division could make Garcia move up to light welterweight happen sooner rather than later. However, Terence Crawford will be soon moving up to welterweight to start campaigning as a 147 pound fighter. The last thing that Crawford wants to do before moving up to welterweight is unify all the titles at 140, and he seems to be on the verge of doing that if he can beat Indongo next month.
Crawford has looked unbeatable in his recent fights against Diaz, Molina Jr. and Postol. However, he hasn’t faced anyone with the combination of boxing skills, power, size and southpaw stance that Indongo has going for him. Crawford did beat the tall 5’11” Viktor Postol last year by a lopsided 12 round decision, but that was against a weaker more limited fighter than Indongo. Postol didn’t have the power, speed or the southpaw stance to go along with his 5’11” height. Indongo is almost as tall as Postol, but he hits a lot harder and his boxing skills are at another level. Indongo is also a southpaw, which should help him against Crawford
In Crawford’s fights against Molina and Diaz, he stayed on the outside and used his long reach advantage to nail his shorter opponents with jabs. When Diaz and Molina came forward to try and land, Crawford would back away and start moving to avoid getting hit. They didn’t have the foot speed to chase Crawford down. Crawford occasionally would mix it up with them, and look go land his power shots. Mostly though, Crawford was comfortable with throwing jabs and single pot shots in a slower imitation of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s style of fighting.
If Crawford doesn’t have the reach to control the fight on the outside against Indongo, then he’s going to need to get in there and mix it up with him. It could get messy for Crawford if he gets hit. Crawford does not look good when he’s getting hit. He seems like anybody. The shots that Diaz was hitting Crawford with was snapping his head back, as if he didn’t have the neck strength to take the punches without his head moving around like a bobble doll. If Indongo can land enough of his power shots on August 19, he could turn Crawford into a mortal man and knock him out. It would be a shock to a lot of boxing fans, but it would show that no one is unbeatable. If they get hit right, they’re going to go. Indongo has the size, power and the confidence to hand Crawford his first loss of his boxing career.