Terence Crawford proved too much for a game Egidijus Kavaliauskas as the American continued his three-weight world title reign.
Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) defended his WBO welterweight world title, knocking down Kavaliauskas three times en route to a ninth-round TKO in front of 10,101 fans at Madison Square Garden.
The win over an over-classed opponent once again raised the debate surrounding Crawford’s undefeated resume.
A 14-0 record in world title fights has largely come against questionable opposition.
That complete lack of pound for pound names to show for his tenure in the sport, barring beating below-par Brits Ricky Burns and Amir Khan, means ‘Bud’ remains out of the top five.
Despite his handlers at Top Rank fluctuating between who is the P4P #1 whenever Crawford or Lomachenko fight, the truth is the former just isn’t there yet.
The Ohama man needs at least one current and recognizable name on his C.V. This will only happen if Al Haymon at Premier Boxing Champions manages to agree a deal with Bob Arum which has so far eluded them both.
For now, Crawford will have to be content to be hovering around the top fighters until he actually shares the ring with Errol Spence, Manny Pacquiao, Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman.
Add to that the fact Crawford was put down by ‘Mean Machine’ in the third (without being scored) and the jury remains out on the former undisputed super lightweight champ at 147.
Speaking after the win, Crawford said: “I thought I had to entertain ya’ll for a little bit (by going down in the third). He’s a strong fighter, durable, and I thought I’d give the crowd something to cheer for,” Crawford said.
“I wasn’t hurt at all. You know, I got up and went straight to him. I wasn’t hurt by no means and I walked through everything he threw all night.”
On facing those much-needed names, Crawford added: “I’m not ducking anyone on the PBC side or Top Rank platform. I want to fight all the top guys.”
Mentioning the ‘knockdown’ in their PR release on the night, Top Rank had this say on the third session incident.
“Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) had some success early, even buzzing Crawford in the third with a near-knockdown. Crawford rebounded, reloaded and dominated per usual, cementing his status at the top of the welterweight and pound-for-pound heap.”
A clear angle to Crawford’s current position that many fail to agree with.
Let’s get it right, winning world titles in three divisions is no easy feat, but compared with the likes of Lomachenko, Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez, Crawford has a lot more work to do.
Errol Spence was in a similar position until facing Mikey Garcia and Porter, something which boosted his profile considerably. Placing a Fight of the Year nomination for the Porter collision into the mix also further cemented it.
Crawford just needs that one defining opponent to push him to the next level. Anyone calling him pound for pound number one until that day has simply got it wrong.
1/ Errol Spence
2/ Manny Pacquiao
3/ Terence Crawford
4/ Shawn Porter
5/ Keith Thurman
View the full divisional ratings HERE.