The end was swift, sudden and violent.
The Feel-good-Cinderella story of The Blue Machine Julius Indongo has come to an end and it was Terrence Bud Crawford’s precise counterpunching that smashed Indongo’s glass slipper.
Andre Ward considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer on the planet provided analysis for the ESPN commentary team. He observed early on in round one that Indongo seemed stiff, anxious and tight. Perhaps it was the gravity of the occasion. Perhaps it was staring across the ring at a rehydrated Terrence Crawford. Either way, Indongo seemed out of his depth from the opening bell as Andre Ward keenly observed.
In a way, it was Bud Crawford who should have felt any pressure. Fighting the biggest fight of his career.
Writing himself into history should he win, become the first unified undisputed lightweight champion to hold all four belts.
Fighting once again before a sold-out crowd at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in his home state of Nebraska.
A fight he was expected to win.
Yet, in contrast to the apprehensive Indongo, Bud strolled to the ring forgoing the typical champions walk, instead his path began in the upper deck of the arena.
He ambled down the steps communing with the adoring fans. Enjoying it with them, because he is them.
As he dipped his head between the ropes to enter the squared circle he just stopped…stared out into the crowd…bobbed his head knowingly and pounded his left chest with his boxing glove fully in the moment, completely absorbed.
Bud knew exactly what was about to happen and instead of nerves - he drew strength.
Perhaps that’s why Indongo seemed so ill at ease. He was not just fighting Bud Crawford but over 12,000 of his closest friends.
This is the End
Gone were Indongo’s dialled in laser like punches that dispatched Eduard Troyanovsky in Russia last December in just 40 seconds.
Gone also was the boxing acumen Indongo displayed against Ricky Burns four months ago in Scotland that surprised everyone who saw the fight – none more than the veteran Burns himself.
Indongo was made to look like a novice like so many others before him.
Like myself, most did not give Indongo much chance against Bud Crawford, however what Indongo had going for him was that he was a largely unknown quantity and all anyone really had to go on was his last two performances. Despite being a veteran of 20 fights already Indongo seemed to come out of nowhere!
From the outset Bud shown great foot work, this was the key to his early success. In round one He manoeuvred Indongo into positions where he forced the Namibian to surrender his height and reach advantage. Bud was making Indongo lounge and miss. Bud was closing the gap, finding the range to punish Indongo for his mistakes.
Bud clearly controlled the distance in the opening round.
In round two Bud was already mounting a more forceful attack, he must have sensed Indongo was on borrowed time. Indongo continued to throw looping punches which Bud easily evaded or in many cases slipped inside, caught on his glove and countered. One such cuffing hook caught Indongo behind the ear sending him down for a short count in this second frame.
Bud finished the job early in the third as he rolled another looping hook from Indongo and came back countering with a two-punch combination the second being a left hook to the liver that dropped Indongo to the canvas leaving him writhing in pain – nothing hurts like a liver shot – nothing.
That lifts Bud’s record now to 32-0. 23 KOs. Three straight stoppages and six of his last 8 fights going back to fall of 2014.
Terrence Bud Crawford is simply the best at 140 pounds.
I was chatting with a well-schooled boxing fan via Twitter recently and he called Bud Crawford ‘the all-terrain fighter.’
I told him I was stealing that line and stealing it I am! How apt! Crawford can box as he shown against decorated amateurs like Viktor Postol. He demolished Felix Diaz an Olympian, he’s won brawls, he can counterpunch and pressure fight – Crawford is as complete as it gets.
Post-fight, Crawford was of course asked what’s next? To which he responded that he was going to relax with his family and do some fishing.
However, it was no secret coming out of the Crawford camp that he struggled to make the weight and now that he’s made history and left an indelible mark on the division forever moving up to welterweight is logical for the Nebraskan who turns 30 next month.
I think we could see Crawford move up to 147 before the end of next year and would not be surprised if he parachutes right onto the 10th floor against the winner of Jeff Horn – Manny Pacquiao II.
Why not? Bob Arum and Top Rank Inc. have gone all in on their deal with cable company ESPN to broadcast the fights. All fighters potentially involved call Top Rank home. Crawford is without a doubt one of the true elites in boxing. A win puts Crawford in the mix with fellow pound for pound contenders Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr all waiting at welterweight to give Crawford a warm welcome.
For Julius Indongo it’s hard to say where he goes from here. He captured lightening in a bottle and in less than a year it’s all over.
But that’s boxing.
Indongo rose from deprivation in a third world nation, survived war, became an Olympian as the sole representative of Namibia and captured two world titles and was one half of a historic bout. However, boxing can be a brutal business. If Indongo chooses to fight on he’s created many fans with his inspiring story.