Terence Crawford was a 16-1 favorite to defeat Egidijus Kavaliauskas but it wasn’t so one-sided once the opening bell rang.
Crawford received a tougher than expected battle from Kavaliauskas, the mandatory challenger to “Bud’s” WBO world welterweight title. In the end, he was able to overcome, winning via ninth-round TKO.
Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) struggled early on to find the range on Kavaliauskas and appeared to get clipped with a right hook on the temple where he was seemingly being held up by his opponent before his knee touched the canvas in the third round. However, the referee ruled it a slip as opposed to a knockdown for “Mean Machine”.
“He caught me with a good shot, but as you can see, I got up and stepped to him,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t hurt at all.”
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Crawford, angered by the shot, came out firing on all cylinders, piecing together numerous combinations to wound his opponent, though Kavaliauskas did well to roll with the heavy blows.
It wasn’t until the seventh round where Crawford really applied his pressure on Mean Machine that the Lithuanian finally touched the ground, getting dropped by a three-piece combination to the equilibrium.
“The round before that, my coaches kept telling me stop loading up. I was loading up a lot because the first couple clean shots I landed, I knew I hurt him. I wanted to give the crowd a knockout. When I started letting my hands go, I started landing more fatal shots.”
It wasn’t too much longer before Crawford finally ended the fight for good with a knockdown early in the ninth round, and a second after that, the referee finally called a stop to the fight.
“I’ll fight anybody. I’ve been saying that for I don’t know how long,” Crawford said. “I’m not ducking anyone on the PBC side or Top Rank platform.”