June 28th marked the coming of age of a boxer who could very well be America’s next top notch prizefighter. Terence Crawford successfully defended his lightweight title against the undefeated and multi-division champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in what turned out to be one of 2014 most entertaining bouts. In previous fights against less experienced opponents, Crawford showed glimpses of brilliance. It would be these glimpses that would make Crawford a known name amongst Boxing’s devoted fans. Casual fans on the other hand really did not know who Terence was. This all changed on June 28th.
On the night of June 28th in front of a hometown crowd of somewhere around ten thousand people Terence Crawford put on what could be easily looked at as the best performance of his career to date against his toughest opponent. Yuriorkis Gamboa proved to be prepared and focused on taking Crawford’s title. Although Gamboa had not seen competition since June 8th 2013 he appeared to be sharp and on his game. For the 1st four rounds Gamboa used his speed and lateral movement to avoid the jab of the longer, rangy Crawford. Gamboa would get his shots off 1st beating Crawford to the punch. Effectively taking away Crawford’s reach advantage. When Crawford was able to be 1st Gamboa would effectively use his head movement to make Crawford miss. Gamboa would then counter Crawford’s offense making him pay for his lack of accuracy. The fight seemed to be slipping away from Crawford. Although he had a better round after making some adjustments Crawford was still losing the fight. After 4 rounds Gamboa was ahead on all 3 judges score cards.
It was the 5th round where Crawford seemingly turned everything around. Deciding to forgo fighting in a conventional stance Crawford switched to Southpaw and seemed to have increased his ability to land his jab. Crawford also had success landing punches to Gamboa's body in particular, the left hook. Landing a 2 punch combination that initiated with a right hook Crawford, was able to send Gamboa to the canvas. This knockdown would be the 1st of four knock downs and ultimately the single event that would turn the fight around for Terence Crawford. Although Gamboa would make it to his feet beating the 10 count, Gamboa’s approach to the fight would not be the same. Gone were the tactics that allowed him to win 4 straight rounds. The Lateral movement was gone. The head movement was gone. The accurate pot shots that Gamboa used to often pick Crawford apart were no where to be found. What was left in his offense was tactics that would show not to be effective against a talent like Crawford. Sloppy, looping hooks and lazy jabs were all that was left in Gamboa’s arsenal. He left all of his boxing ability on the canvas when he arose from the 1st knock down. Gamboa’s approach from that point on was that of a less polished brawler who wanted get back every time a clean shot landed on him. Patience would have truly been a virtue for Gamboa and Crawford seemingly took that away from him.
From round 5 through 2:53 of the 9th round Crawford showed he was the more poised and more confident fighter who trusted in his game plan and his boxing abilities to lead him to victory. Through the adversity of dropping the 1st 4 rounds to a very experienced, very tough, and very well prepared Yuriorkis Gamboa, Crawford proved he had much more than what could be seen on surface of a fighter. Crawford proved he has the mental toughness, the discipline, the right mindset and the heart of a champion; in other words he has the “goods”.
It is quite clear that in his Native Omaha Nebraska Terence Crawford is a star. Drawing 10,000 plus fans to a night of Boxing as the headliner is a major feat in itself. Raising his profile would be the next goal of this championship caliber fighter. Becoming a nationwide attraction, putting butts in seats no matter where the fight takes place is a goal that many fighters have not been able to accomplish. Terence Crawford has shown us he has the goods. Only time will tell if he can turn those goods into Star power.