By: William Holmes
The legendary theater at Madison Square Garden was the host site for tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing and featured two of boxing’s most prized and young superstars.
The opening bout of the night was between former Puerto Rican Olympian Felix Verdejo (19-0) and the undefeated Braziian boxer Willian Silva (23-0).
Despite being the first televised , most of the seats at the Theater were filled by the time Verdejo entered the ring. In fact, the venue was sold out and had a crowd of 5,092.
Both boxers came out in an orthodox stances and Verdejo was the slightly shorter boxer, but he had the longer reach. Verdejo showed good head movement early on while Silva was a little short with his punches. The opening round was more of a feel out round, but it was clear that Verdejo had the quicker hand pseed of the two.
Silva opened up the second round with a sneaky left hook but Verdejo answered with a sharp combination. Verdejo spent most of the second round looking for a counter left hook and was able to move Silva even when he landed shots against his high guard.
Verdejo circled to Silva’s left for a majority of the third round and was bouncing in and out of Silva’s range and was able to avoid getting punched. Verdejo’s check left hook was landing in the third and his straight right hand was starting to land.
Verdejo was simply the first man to throw and land in the middle rounds and had doubled the number of punches landed by the fifth round. By the sixth round Verdejo looked like the more confident fighter inside the ring and was ahead by a wide margain, though Silva’s corner wrongly felt they were ahead.
Silva was able to offer up l ittle offense for the remainder of the fight and seemed content in throwing only one punch at a time. Before the start of the ninth round Silva’s father and head trainer could be heard telling his son they were ahead on the cards, but to outside and objective observers he was getting swept on the cards.
Silva needed a knockout in the final two rounds to pull off the victory, and that knockout never came.
The final scores were 100-90, 100-90, and 99-91 for Felix Verdejo.
The main event of the night was between Terence Crawford (27-0) and Hank Lundy (26-5-1) for the WBO Junior Welterweight Title.
Crawford, despite being from Omaha, Nebraska, had more fans in attendance than Hank Lundy who’s from nearby Philadelphia.
Both boxers were fighting out of an orthodox stance and Crawford had the height advantage. Crawford switched to a southpaw stance in the opening minute of the first round, but Lundy caught Crawford by surprise with a clean left hook and followed that up with a two punch combination. Crawford was able to land his sharp jab, but Lundy landed more power shots in the opening round.
Crawford opened up the second round in a southpaw stance and was able to easily avoid the wild punches of Lundy. Crawford kept his jab in the face of Lundy in the second and was the sharper boxer.
Crawford continued to pick his shots in the third round and was landing his combinations at a safe distance. He starting to take over the fight with his superior boxing skills and was landing clean shots to the body and head of Lundy.
Lundy tried to slow down Crawford by switching to a southpaw stance in the fourth round, but it did little to deter Crawford. Crawford’s right jab was shaper than ever and he opened up a cut near the right eye of Lundy. Lundy was able to connect with a decent left hook in this round, but Crawford was able to take that punch well.
Both boxers came out in a southpaw stance in the fifth round, but Crawford was able to follow up two jabs with a hard left cross that badly wobbled Lundy. Lundy’s back went against the ropes and Crawford jumped on him with combinations before another left cross sent Lundy to the floor. Lundy was able to get back to his feet but was still badly hurt, and Crawford immediately jumped on him and forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Terence Crawford won by TKO at 2:09 of the fifth round.