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Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Crawford vs. Indongo, Gvozdyk vs. Baker


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Top Rank Promotions will continue their relationship with ESPN by broadcasting a junior welterweight unification bout between one of their top stars, Terence Crawford, taking on fellow junior welterweight title holder Julius Indongo. This bout will take place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Another bout to be televised will be in the light heavyweight division and will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Craig Baker. The undercard will feature many familiar names, including Mike Alvarado, Bryant Jennings, Dillian Whyte, Shakur Stevenson, and Nicholas Walters. Don’t be surprised if some of these names make their way to the main broadcast.

The following is a preview of both televised bouts.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0) vs. Craig Baker (17-1); Light Heavyweights

Oleksandr Gvozdyk is another Ukranian prospect with a high ceiling and a deep amateur background, though he doesn’t have the amateur accolades of fellow Ukranian Vasyl Lomachenko.

Gvozdyk won the bronze medal for the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He also competed in the World Series of Boxing before turning pro and was undefeated there. He’s thirty years old and three years younger than his opponent, Craig baker. Gvozdyk also stands at 6’2” and has a long reach of 76”.

Baker competed in the 2008 US National Amateur Championships and the 2008 National Golden Gloves but did not place. His amateur background pales in comparison to Gvozdyk.

Gvozdyk turned pro in 2014 and already has an impressive list of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi, Tommy Karpency, Isaac Chilemba, and Yunieski Gonzalez. He’s currently riding a seven fight stoppage streak.

Baker’s only notable victory was against Umberto Savigne. The one time he took a step up in competition he got knocked out by Edwin Rodriguez. Fourteen of his seventeen wins have come against opponents with records of .500 or worse.

Gvozdyk has the edge in speed, defense, amateur background, and even power. Baker has thirteen knockouts in comparison to Gvozdyk’s eleven stoppages, but Baker’s stoppage victories have come against subpar competition.

It’s doubtful this fight will be competitive. Gvozdyk should won handedly.

Terence Crawford (31-0) vs. Julius Indongo (22-0); WBO/WBC/IBF and WBA Junior Welterweight Titles

It’s rare to see all four major world titles up for grabs in one unification bout, but this anomaly will occur on Saturday night and should be applauded.

Both boxers are undefeated but Crawford is the heavy favorite.

Crawford will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one and a half inches in reach. However, Crawford is five years younger than Indongo and appears to be the quicker boxer with the harder punch.

Crawford has twenty two stoppages on his resume and five of his past six fights resulted in a stoppage victory. Indongo only has eleven stoppage wins, but three of his past four fights resulted in a KO/TKO.

Crawford has been fairly busy recently. He fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016. Indongo has matched his activity and also fought three times in 2016 and once in 2017.

Crawford’s list of defeated opponents shows he is deserving of his pound for pound ranking. He has defeated the likes of Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.

Indongo fought mainly in Africa early on in his career and has not faced the level of opposition that Crawford has faced. He has recently defeated the likes of Ricky Burns and Eduard Troyanovsky, but has not defeated any notable opponents before those wins.

The one edge that Indongo might arguably have is amateur experience. He competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Crawford failed to make the Olympic team of the United States. However, Crawford is a former National PAL Champion.

Indongo’s height and reach may give Crawford some issues early on. He was able to surprise many when he defeated Eduard Troyanovsky and he had little problems defeating Ricky Burns. However, Terence Crawford is an elite level boxer and he has enough experience to solve the height and reach of Indongo.

Crawford should win by a comfortable decision.

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HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina


HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night HBO and Top Rank Promotions will team up to televise three bouts from two different locations.

Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC Junior Welterweight titles in the main event of the evening against John Molina live from Omaha, Nebraska. Additionally, lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran will compete against rising prospect Mason Menard as the co-main event of the Nebraska card.
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It was also recently announced that Top Rank will promote Joseph Parker in the United States; and HBO has decided to show the WBO Heavyweight Title Bout between Parker and Ruiz on a same day tape delay from Auckland, New Zealand.

The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.

Joseph Parker (21-0) vs. Andy Ruiz (29-0); WBO Heavyweight Title

Joseph Parker will be fighting in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand and will be the favorite coming into this bout.

He has already fought four times in 2016, and four of his past five fights have been by TKO/KO. He is twenty four years old and is three years younger than his opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage on Ruiz. Ruiz has also been fairly active and has fought three times in 2016.

Joseph Parker has the heavier hands of the two boxers. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents, and four of his past five fights have ended by TKO/KO. Ruiz has stopped nineteen of his opponents, but only two of his past five opponents failed to go the distance.

They both have had moderate success as an amateur. Ruiz was a Mexican National Amateur Champion and Parker medaled in several international competitions as an amateur.

Parker has a slight edge in quality of opposition. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Carlos Takam, and Bowie Tupou. Ruiz has defeated the likes of an aged Ray Austin and Siarhei Liakhovich.

Ruiz is a good enough of a boxer to last all twelve rounds, but it will be extremely difficult for him to pull out a victory in Parker’s home country of New Zealand.

Raymundo Beltran (31-7-1) vs. Mason Menard (32-1); Lightweights

The opening bout of the night in Omaha, Nebraska will be between Ray Beltran and Mason Menard in the lightweight division.

Beltran is a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao and is a rugged, tough, durable opponent. He’s much better than his record suggests and is known for having excellent stamina.

However, Beltran is thirty five years old and will be seven years older than his opponent, Mason Menard. Beltran will have about a two inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.

Menard does have a slight edge in power. He has twenty four knockouts on his record while Beltran only has nineteen.

Menard became well known with some upset victories on national television, including wins over Bahodir Mamadjonov and Eudy Bernardo. But prior to those wins he faced mainly non-descript opponents and most of his bouts were in his home state of Louisiana.

Beltran has defeated the likes of Ivan Najera, Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, and Henry Lundy. He also has several losses, but most of them have come against good opposition. He has lost to the likes of Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., and Sharif Bogere.

Neither boxer was very active in the past two years. They both fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. Neither boxer experienced a great deal of success on the international stage as an amateur.

Menard has surprised many with his two latest victories, but Beltran is a big step up in competition for him and isn’t past his prime yet. This should be a fight that Beltran wins through a hard fought decision.

Terence Crawford (29-0) vs. John Molina (29-6); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Titles

Terence Crawford is one of Top Rank Promotions’ biggest stars and has been a rumored opponent for Manny Pacquiao in the future.

Crawford regularly fights in Omaha and will have a nearly sold out venue cheering him on.

He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. He’s four years younger than Molina, but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height as well as an inch in reach.

Crawford has been fairly active for a champion and fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015. Molina has only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.

Crawford has twenty stoppage victories and three of his past five fights did not go the distance. Molina has twenty three stoppage wins, but has gone 3-3 in his past six fights.

Molina is always a dangerous fighter, and this was evident in his last upset victory over the hard hitting Provodnikov. He has also defeated the likes of Mickey Bey, Dannie Williams, and Henry Lundy. However, Molina also has an impressive list of opponents that he has lost to. These fighters include Antonio DeMarco, Andrey Klimov, Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto, and Adrien Broner.

Crawford has never been defeated and has been slowly increasing the level of competition that he faces in the ring. He has defeated the likes of Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymondo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andre Klimov.

Crawford was also very successful as an amateur on the national level, and has even won a Police Athletic League Boxing Championship.

This is a fight that very few expect Crawford to lose. He’s a more technically skilled boxer than the last man that Molina beat and should be able to stop Molina.

Molina has been known for upsetting the apple cart from time to time, but Saturday is unlikely.

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