By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the legendary Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, New York will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest card to be televised live on ESPN.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO Welterweight Championship against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be a IBF Lightweight Championship match between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez Jr.
The undercard is also stacked with talent. Michael Conlan will face Vladimir Nikitin in a featherweight bout that will be a rematch of their 2016 Olympic bout. Other fighters to keep an eye on include Josue Vargas, Julian Rodriguez, Mickey Bey, and George Kambosos Jr.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
<strong> Richard Commey (29-2) vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. (14-0); IBF Lightweight Title </strong>
Teofimo Lopez is one of Top Rank Promotions’ young guns with an incredibly high ceiling. He’s only twenty two years old and has under fifteen fights as a profressional, but he’s already fighting for a world title.
Lopez is ten years younger than Commey and will be giving up about two and half inches in reach. Lopez has been the more active fighter of the two, as he fought three times in 2019 and four times in 2018. Commey only fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017.
Lopez does appear to have a large edge in amateur experience. He competed in the 2016 Olympics for Honduras and was a US National Golden Gloves Gold Medalist. Commey has no major international accomplishments as an amateur.
Commey has two losses on his record, but they were both by close split decision to Denish Shafikov and Robert Easter Jr. He has defeated the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Isa Chaniev, Alejandro Luna, and Hedi Elimani.
Lopez has yet to taste defeat as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Masayoshi Nakatani, Edis Tatli, Diego Magdaleno, Mason Menard, William Silva, and Vitor Jones.
It will be interesting to see how Lopez handles the reach advantage of tested and rugged veteran. Commey is experienced and will be able to take advantage of any mistakes that Lopez may make. But Lopez is the good fighter with a strong punch.
This writer sees Lopez dominating in the middle to late rounds to win a decision victory.
<strong> Terence Crawford (35-0) vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1); WBO Welterweight Title </strong>
Terence Crawford is one of the world’s best fighters, but he struggles to land big meaningful fights in a talent rich welterweight division.
Crawford is thirty two years old and the clock to get a big name fight in his athletic prime is starting to tick. His opponent isn’t much younger as Kavaliauskas is thirty one years old. Kavaliauskas will have abount a once inch height advantage but Crawford will have a three inch reach advantage.
Both boxers had extensive amateur backgrounds. Crawford was a former PAL Champ and a US National Champ as an amateur. Kavaliauskas represented Lithuania in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Kavaliauskas has been slightly more active than Crawford. He fought once in 2019, but fought three times in 2018 and in 2017. Crawford fought once in 2019, and twice in 2018 and in 2017.
Crawford has never tasted defeat as a professional and has won rather convincingly in every bout he’s been involved in. He has defeated the likes of Amir Khan, Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.
Kavaliauskas lone blemish on his professional record was a majority draw with Ray Robinson in Philadelphia. He has defeated the likes of Roberto Arriaza, Juan Carlos Abreu, David Avanesyan, Mahonri Montes, and Prenice Brewer.
Crawford has been angling for a big name fight for what seems like a majority of his career. He deserves it, but beating Kavaliauskas is expected of him and likely won’t add much hype for his chance at a big name fight.