By: Hans Themistode
One time is usually all it takes for the opponents of Terence Crawford to realize that he’s as good as everyone says he is.
The undefeated three division world champion has never found himself in a close matchup throughout his career. But with a spotless record inside of the ring and near flawless performances each and every time out, the Nebraska native has shown a small chink in his armor.
In what was thought to be nothing more than a walk in the park against the unheralded Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Crawford had a surprisingly difficult time with the former Olympian. Not only was the current WBO belt holder out boxed early on, but it appeared that he was rocked and dropped in the third round. Regardless of his early success, Kavaliauskas was ultimately dropped on three separate occasions before getting stopped in the ninth round.
Things may have gone awry, but if he was given a second chance at Crawford, he would do it in a heartbeat.
“If I get the opportunity to fight Crawford, I would do it all over again. I want to face him again,” said Kavaliauskas during a recent virtual press conference. “I know he is beatable. Everyone is. I liked how the fight started, but not how it ended. I lost focus in the middle of the fight.”
The defeat for Kavaliauskas may have given him the first loss of his pro career, but the experience of not only fighting a pound for pound fighter, but giving him a run for his money, did wonders for his self belief.
“At the end of the day, that fight gave me more confidence. I was definitely in the fight. It made me a better fighter. I corrected the mistakes I did make, and now I’m coming stronger.”
With Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) seemingly tied up with former champion Kell Brook, a rematch is far from likely to ever take place. Still, even if the Lithuanian born contender isn’t afforded a rematch, then he’ll simply work his way from the ground up to force one of the welterweight champions to face him.
“I want to face the best opponents at welterweight. My goal is to become mandatory and fight for another world title. I would like to fight the top names at 147.”
The road to securing a second shot at a world title for Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) begins this Saturday night when he takes on Mikael Zewski. A win over his man on the night won’t place him in championship contention, but Kavaliauskas does believe that the fans will get their money’s worth.
“Zewski is also a pressure fighter like me. I think we have similar styles, and I really believe we will make a very entertaining fight on Saturday. I know the fireworks will begin in the very first round. This will be an action fight!”