This Saturday, HBO Boxing will be live from the city that doesn’t sleep, New York City, as Top Rank Promotions will be presenting a doubleheader of two rising stars in the sport of boxing. Omaha’s finest, Terence Crawford, steps into the ring and defends his WBO junior welterweight title on the line against Philadelphia’s own, Hank Lundy, and also in what will be the fight that gets the crowd most hyped, the face of the future of Puerto Rican boxing, Felix Verdejo, will be facing off against William Silva.
Terence Crawford (27-0 with 19 KOs) is a highly skilled boxer that is one of the new rising stars of the sport. He has dominated every one of his opponents, he has put on good live shows in his hometown of Omaha, and most importantly, he seems to want to be “The guy”. Crawford has taken a step back this year from the run he was on in 2014 when he faced, and beat, Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Raymundo Beltran, and was mentioned in everyone’s list as a fighter of the year candidate.
However, since then, He has faced 2 opponents in Thomas Dulorme and Dierry Jean that really got no buzz and has someone halted the rise he was having. Given the fact that the 140 lb division may not be as full with names as the 147 lb welterweight division, Crawford may be forced to dispense with the guys in front of him as fast as possible and move up by the start of 2017. Crawford wants to be a star, but boxing fans are tough, and it’s going to take a lot more than what he has done in the past year.
Hank Lundy (26-5-1 with 13 KOs) is a tough fighter that has faced a bunch of known names such as: Richard Abril, John Molina Jr, Raymundo Beltran, Viktor Postol, Thomas Dulorme, and Mauricio Herrera. The problem is, other than a somewhat controversial split decision win over Abril, he lost to all of those guys. Lundy is hoping that a shocking victory on TV will not only validate his talk, and not only win him a title, but also get him a bigger future paycheck for his next fight, never hurts to have a title.
Crawford should be able to outbox Lundy for most of this fight. Between the reach advantage, the power advantage, and the skill advantage, this one has the potential to be a little bit of a boring sluggish fight at times. Lundy has said he will go after Crawford and will knock him out. I don’t think he’ll be able to go that far, but I do believe he knows his only chance is to go for it. Lundy may not be the guy to solve the Crawford puzzle, but he isn’t going to quit and he will at least put up a fight. However in the end, I have Crawford winning a unanimous decision 118-110.
Although Terence Crawford and Hank Lundy are the main event, make no mistake about it, most of the people at the Theater at Madison Square Garden will be there to see the undefeated, and untested, Felix Verdejo. The rising Puerto Rican star will be entering the ring with an unblemished record of 19-0 with 14 KOs. However, there are questions to be asked of Verdejo’s resume. Thus far Verdejo has faced no one of significance, so fans are starting to wonder when he will step up his level of competition.
His opponent on Saturday, William Silva, is not going to change any of those questions. Even though he also has an unblemished record of 23-0 with 14 KOs, the Brazilian born Silva has also face no one of note. With that said, he is still probably the best opponent that Verdejo has faced and he’s the only one he’s faced with an undefeated record with more than 16 fights, so who knows. Despite the mystery of Silva, I’m still going with Verdejo by 4th round stoppage as I don’t think Top Rank, in trying to build him as big as possible wouldn’t have him lose to an unknown rather than a bigger name.
This is probably going to be a better event to be at, in person, than to just watch on TV. With a room that will likely be filled with loud cheering Puerto Rican fans, you can just imagine how crazy the fans will be during the Verdejo fight. I’m not going to lie to fans and say this is going to be a stupendous, unbelievable, can’t miss, event, but I will say this, between Terence Crawford and Felix Verdejo, these are 2 guys that could be the future stars of the sport, so I suggest catching them for the cheap price while you can, enjoy the fights.