Who will be king?

Callum Rudge
23/07/2016 9:45am

Something of a rarity tonight when two undefeated world champions fight to not only unify the super-lightweight division (WBC & WBO), but also crown a new lineal champion at the weight.

Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol (both 28-0) meet at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas in a fight which is being screened on HBO pay-per-view in America and Boxnation in the UK. While British fans will be happy to have another top fight on B, U.S fans and press are scratching their heads at this being on PPV.

On to the fight itself, we have an interesting clash of styles where the fast, slick, switch hitter Crawford is against the tall, technically sound Postol.

Crawford is very much the star of this promotion, he’s been a world champion already at 135lbs and has been talked about as the heir to Manny Pacquiao as Top Ranks next big cash cow. His following in his native Nebraska is impressive considering the difficulty U.S fighters have in selling out arenas in recent years. It helps Crawford that he is, of course, a quality fighter. Wins over Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamoba and Dierry Jean show the level he’s at and why he’s a strong favourite with the bookmakers. Crawford is taking on a fighter in Postol who may not have the long list of quality wins like Crawford does, but arguably has the best win of the two, that being his stoppage win over Lucas Matthyse last October.

At 5ft 11ins Postol is the taller man and will be an interesting challenge for Crawford. Looking back at Crawfords career, the fight that stands out as his best preparation for this is the win over Burns in Scotland two years ago. Postol, like Burns is what Americans see as having a ‘European style’; a high guard, ramrod jab but not lightening quick and not an extremely hard hitter. I see this as a tougher challenge for Crawford, Postol will be fresher than Burns was going into that fight. He’s coming off a dominating performance against Matthyse and will be well rested going into this. I think this is easily the toughest fight of both fighter's respective careers.

Crawford’s recent fights have been shootouts, Crawford starting slow and taking some shots as he finds his range and timing (see Gamboa and most recently Lundy). I expect this fight to be similar in that Crawford will start slow, but with Postol’s height and pedigree, I expect Crawford to have some issues finding his range, and the early rounds could be tough to score as the fight takes some time to settle. Crawford will probably switch back and forth a few times as he tries to find a groove in the fight, because of that I expect the first 7/8 rounds to be nip and tuck, and to be close into the final stretch. At this point I expect Crawford to find his range and hurt Postol before settling for a decision win that will be surprisingly wide on the cards, something around 117-111.