Tue | Nov 21, 2017

Crawford first undisputed champ in twelve years

Published:Monday | August 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Terence Crawford stands over Julius Indongo after a punch brought him down in the second round of a junior welterweight world title unification bout in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday. Crawford won by knockout during the third round.

LINCOLN, Nebraska (AP): Terence Crawford took all the drama out of his fight against Julius Indongo, and he did it fast.

Now Crawford is the only undisputed world champion in professional boxing.

Energised by his huge home-state following 45 minutes from his Omaha base, Crawford stopped Julius Indongo in the third round Saturday night to claim all four major belts at 140lbs.

The fight was the first four-belt unification bout since 2004, when Bernard Hopkins stopped Oscar De La Hoya to claim all the belts in the 160-pound division. Crawford came in with the WBC and WBO belts; Indongo, from Namibia, was the WBA and IBF champion.

"It means everything," Crawford said. "When you start boxing when you're seven years old, that's your dream, to become world champion and after that, you want to become something bigger than world champion. You just don't stop there. You go to the highest level possible."

Crawford's work at 140lbs probably is finished. A move to 147 looks imminent. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said the plan is for Crawford to go with him to Australia for the expected November rematch between Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao. Arum wants Crawford to fight the winner.

"I'm all for it," Crawford said.

The 29-year-old Crawford was as dominant as ever against Indongo, a 34-year-old from Namibia who was fighting in the United States for the first time after making a rapid ascent to champion.

Though Crawford was a heavy favourite, Indongo had height and reach advantages that caused his camp some concern.

But Crawford sent Indongo to the canvas with a right to the body in the last minute of the second round and just missed with a massive left hook before the bell. At that point he was in firm control.

Midway through the third round, Crawford caught Indongo with a left hook to the body that put him down, writhing in pain.

"We knew the body was going to be open, being that he swings so wild," Crawford said. "We felt we could catch him in the middle of his punches. That's what we worked on in the gym."

Crawford (32-0, 23 knockouts) was in his home state for the fifth time in nine fights but for the first time in Lincoln, 45 minutes from his Omaha base.

Indongo (22-1, 11 knockouts) made his rise in his weight division in less than a year after winning bouts in Russia and Scotland.

Jamaica's Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters was also set to fight on Saturday night's undercard against Mexican Arturo Santos Reyes. However, Walters' first bout since November 26 had to be cancelled because he became ill.