WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford may have lost out in the Pacquiao sweepstakes but he did receive an excellent consolation prize -- his first appearance at Madison Square Garden, and in the main event to boot. His opponent, Hank Lundy, is one of boxing's hardest hard-luck stories in terms of in-ring results. He's 4-4 in his last eight and three of the four losses were a split decision, a majority nod and a butt-induced technical decision versus Mauricio Herrera (who has had his share of misfortune).
Deliberate at First, Destructive at End: In his two fights at 140 Crawford spent round one surveying his quarry as he threw just 34 against Dulorme and 38 against Jean. But while his sputtering start continued for several more rounds against Dulorme, Crawford shifted into high gear by scoring a knockdown in the waning seconds of the first, then continuing the wave in round twoby going 15 of 50 overall to Jean's 4 of 32. From there, Crawford used his jab to dissect Jean (32.6 thrown/8.6 connects per round, the latter figure nearly doubling the 4.8 junior welterweight average), his switch-hitting tactics to confuse the Canadian-based Haitian and his overall ring generalship to keep Jean under control while steadily widening his numerical advantages. Jean only reached double-digit connects once (10 in round six) and in rounds 7-10 Crawford prevailed 73-12 overall, 32-1 jabs and 41-11 power and recorded knockdowns in rounds nine and 10 to finish the job. In the end Crawford led 169-51 overall, 86-12 jabs and 83-39 power as well as (32%-15% overall, 26%-7% jabs and 40%-25% power). Crawford's last 5 opponents (Jean, Dulorme, Beltran Gamboa & Burns landed just 19% of their total punches, while Bud landed 32%, producing a +13 rating, good for a #7 spot on CompuBox's Plus/Minus list. Crawford opponents landed just 7.3 total punches per round, #4 on CompuBox Categorical Leaders list. Crawford's 7.4 landed jabs per round also ranks #4 on CompuBox Categorical Leaders list. Like Whitaker at Norfolk's Scope, Crawford at Omaha's CenturyLink is nearly unbeatable. Can he carry that into MSG?
Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me: If it weren't for bad luck, Lundy would have no luck at all because if not for a twist of fate or two he could have been 7-1 instead of 4-4 in his last eight fights. The only decisive loss was to Postol in Russia and even then he was competitive (he trailed 142-122 overall and 70-46 jabs but led 76-72 power). Lundy actually beat Herrera in his volume-punching game (70.2 to 53 per round) and he held his own in jabbing (18.6 thrown/7.8 landed/42% for Herrera, 30.8 thrown/6.0 landed/20% for Lundy) but Herrera forged narrow leads on two cards when the fight was stopped, probably because he out-landed Lundy 88-56 overall, 25-11 jabs and 63-45 power in rounds 3-5. A first-round knockdown against Dulorme was decisive in a split decision loss that saw Lundy trail just 152-151 overall and lead Dulorme 110-81 power. A late-round surge by common foe Raymundo Beltran (55-44 overall, 39-13 power in rounds 8-10) led to a majority decision loss. But when Lundy is good, he's active (70.6 in an upset 10-round nod over Angelo Santana, 71.7 vs. ex-champ David Diaz) and accurate (51% overall, 49% jabs, 54% power in a W 10 vs. Dannie Williams, 39% power vs. Diaz).
Prediction: Lundy, who has a better than average jab (5.7 landed per round in last 6 fights) is good enough to be troublesome but his vulnerable chin combined with Crawford's superior size, power and elite talent will combine for a late-round TKO.