This may cause some discomfort, so let’s get it over with: Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo is for all four major sanctioning body belts at 140 pounds. There. It’s done.
Only a handful of fighters have managed to pick up all four major belts since the WBO came to be included among the WBA, WBC and IBF. Bernard Hopkins first turned the trick in 2004 when he defeated Oscar de la Hoya, who held the WBO belt. Jermain Taylor then briefly held all four when he defeated Hopkins, but fell victim to usual alphabet soup nonsense.
Apart from those two, Cecilia Braekhus, a Colombian fighting out of Norway, has been the undisputed welterweight champion of women’s boxing since 2014 to disappointingly little fanfare.
The draw toward Crawford-Indongo, however, aside from its ESPN platform making the fight accessible, is that Crawford is undoubtedly one of the best fighters in the world. At only 29, “Bud” sports a record of 31-0 with 22 knockouts and thus far his the biggest complaint about him is a lack of personality.
Crawford already rose toward the top of a relatively weak lightweight division, but he has since climbed the mountain in a tougher division. The only remaining path to winning the heart of the boxing public is up, through a welterweight division studded with bigger names and bigger fighters.
The man who stands in Crawford’s way, Julius Indongo, also dons an unbeaten record at 22-0 with 11 knockouts. But whereas Crawford is unbeaten despite being tested on several occasions, Indongo’s record is thin on quality and the lanky Namibian is pushing 35.
Indongo’s dominant win over Ricky Burns in April suggested he knows how to use his range to coast, but he also showed sneaky power in a “KO of the Year” contender last December over Eduard Troyanovsky. What exactly he brings to this matchup isn’t clear, and that in itself presents a sort of danger for Crawford.
This week on Knuckles and Gloves Boxing Radio, author and filmmaker Brin-Jonathan Butler joins site founder boxing historian Patrick Connor in previewing Crawford-Indongo. There’s also a strange matter concerning Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi that needs to be hashed out, or ridiculed.