Crawford vs. Lundy - The Gate, The Gatekeeper and The 'Key'
By Allan Cerf, Dog House Boxing (Feb 26, 2016)
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The dictionary says that 'gate' comes from Middle English 'gat' and means "defending an opening." Remember that.
Terence Crawford, whose fights we've covered before is a powerful and awkward punching machine and no mistake - awkward is a good thing in this case. His herky-jerky style provides leverage for 'Hunter's better than average, powerful blows, while at the same time, making him hard to time. Crawford is a boxing diplomat: personable, friendly and appreciative of his fans at one moment in press conferences; angry, determined and as he says, "more street" than Philadelphia tough guy Lundy, the next. Not a miniature version of Deontay Wilder, Crawford sports an acceptably high percentage (70%) of KO's. Apparently - I haven't asked them - the top guns at the weight class, names like Postol , Herrera, Matthysse and Provodnikov alike, WOULD have fought Crawford, but to a man, said they hadn't enough time to prepare. So intimates Dan Rafael of ESPN, who one must assume, is well-informed, as well as Bob Arum - who one can politely ignore as he obviously makes statements in support of his fighters. I find it impossible to believe that Herrera, an outstanding, often-screwed fighter who desperately seeks big fights, would have claimed insufficient time to prepare and also doubt the same for uber-tough Provodnikov. Matthysse, may have opted out because he's at the end of his career (I feel) and Postol - well, I didn't get a chance to ask the Ukrainian. Crawford's star is of course, rising fast with fans, networks and promoters alike. Great things are expected of him, some of which he has already delivered on.
Crawford's braintrust say their man wants to fight up to 4 times this year which is great news... especially after a disappointing 2015 in which he managed just 2 fights against uninspired opposition. Sounds like another of boxing's Master Plans - plans which enrich Promoters and to a lesser degree, their fighters, while letting down we fans. Let's just see if Crawford does really does fight 3-4 times in 2016. Busy fighters are better fighters and busy fighters=happy boxing fans.
During Hank Lundy's fight against John Molina, Teddy Atlas was correct in stating on-air that 'Hammerin' is the wrong nickname for a guy with a 40% KO percentage. In fact, it was Lundy who was parted from his senses by Molina. So who is Hank Lundy and what is his MO? Lundy is another very late-comer to the sport (age 18) with a fairly successful amateur career - so credit for that. He has good, if pedestrian, side-to-side movement, decent speed and not a lot of power. I noticed something in his training video: Though working his ass off to prepare, he still had some "butcher fat," mid-stomach, which Crawford might well target. Lundy was born, raised and resides in Philadelphia, PA. home of patented, tough- as-nails fighters and fearsome gym wars. Like so many Philly fighters, nothing seems to rattle him - remember it took Ali calling Smokin' Joe 'ignorant,' before Frazier finally lost it and attacked his tormentor on camera. Crawford casting doubt on his his street cred at press conferences certainly didn't shake him: Lundy just, "back at ya, Terrence," in turn doubting Crawford's claim to the streets.
Lundy received a partial scholarship to play college ball, but instead sent his sister because his aunt couldn't afford to send both. That apparently left boxing. Given Lundy's modest accomplishments and ring-craft, it's fair to say boxing was a pure business decision and a good one, rather than any kind of passion. Well, it's called prize fighting, isn't it? At thirty-two, while not referred to as such, Lundy is definitely a Gatekeeper which the dictionary says means "a person in charge of a gate.” Gatekeeper became a word around 1565, so Lundy isn't the first.
Average of all letter grades: B
Average of all letter grades: B-
Nothing I have seen of Lundy whom I respect, is exceptional. He is schooled, but not greatly skilled. He is tough and maybe, a natural athlete, but he is chunky and is in boxing, middle aged. He has faced somewhat modest opposition.
Whille Crawford is indeed exciting and rising, a glance at his record shows that many of his stoppages came at ballrooms and county fairgrounds. In other words, the Nebraskan has been fed his fair share of what used to be called, Club Fighters. Boxers, sadly, aren't allowed a lot of career input, so I can't blame Crawford for his pretty dismal 2015 schedule. I will downgrade him significantly if he doesn't fight at least 3 times this year and categorically state it wasn't because opponents were terrified of him that led to such a mediocre 2015.
So- a very good fight in the offing. That is, I consider the 1980's 49ers wiping out the opposition as exciting as a close contest which this bout should not be. We have a Gate and a Gatekeeper in Lundy and in Crawford, a man who without question should have the keys. In fact, HBO's website doesn't provide a biography of Lundy (that I found) which speaks volumes. Out of fairness to Hank, I have therefore bagged the 'Personal' section of my column.
Fight and Prediction:
This is a Step Up fight and Crawford must do just that. Sometimes, outstanding fighters face people it's simply impossible to look good against, for example - Calzaghe vs. Sakio Bika - there are many more. Lundy, however, is simply far below a Bika across the board and while not unskilled or without a lot of heart, has been stopped inside the limit. The only other acceptable outcome would be complete domination/UD by Crawford. Barring, injury or illness, Crawford must dominate to justify the hype and propel his career. My guess is that Crawford definitely has the right key for this particular Gate. I see him stopping Lundy any time after 7.
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