By: Sean Crose
Terence “Bud” Crawford is a serious force to be reckoned with. The 31-0 junior welterweight titlist can fight orthodox or southpaw, can hit like a mace, and can seemingly adapt to any situation. Those sleeping on Crawford’s opponent this weekend, however, might want to pay attention. For although Julius Indongo is little known here in North America, he too holds a junior welterweight strap (the fight with Crawford will be for divisional supremacy). Indongo can also put people to sleep – quickly. Sure enough, the straight punching 22-0 Nambian has taken out half of his opponents – some in highlight reel fashion.
Why is this important? Because Indongo isn’t simply some hard hitter looking for a puncher’s chance. He’s a man who can box. Just ask Ricky Burns, who Indongo defeated in his home country of Scotland. Look at it this way – fighters like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Viktor Postol had a good few rounds apiece against Crawford. Yet if the enigmatic Nebraskan decides to take his usual tact this Saturday night of warming up as time goes on, it may well be too little, too late. Indongo is too skilled and powerful not to make the most of every available opportunity, just like he isn’t afraid to go into enemy territory to get what’s his.
That’s right, this weekend’s fight is in Crawford’s native Nebraska, just like the Burns fight was in Burn’s Scottish homeland and Indongo’s fight before that was in Russia – against a Russian, the undefeated Eduard Troyanovsky. Indongo won that one by first round knockout, by the way. While it’s true Nambia isn’t known as being a boxing hotbed, it says something that a man like Indongo is so willing to travel. For here’s a fighter with enough confidence to actually go for it. Really go for it. In the age of Mayweather-McGregor, that’s pretty impressive.
Still, this is Crawford we’re talking about here, a man who has beaten everyone in his path impressively. And, make no mistake about it, Crawford’s had some solid competition. Gamboa was a serious adversary when the two men met a few years back. So was Viktor Postol, a man who some assumed had been well avoided by Danny Garcia and who had mopped the figurative floor with Lucas Matthysse. Oh, and Ray Beltran was anything but a soft touch. So yes, the man called Bud is so good, it’s worth wondering aloud if he’s an elite level talent. That’s something Indongo might want to think about in the lead up to this weekend’s ESPN broadcast bout.
Not that he hasn’t thought about it already. Good fighters tend to know what they’re getting themselves into.