Terence Crawford wins ESPN’s 2017 fighter of the year honors


Резултат со слика за Terence Crawford wins ESPN's 2017 fighter of the year honors

 

A few weeks ago in New York, following the weigh-in for the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux junior lightweight world title fight, Terence Crawford engaged two boxing writers in a debate about who should be the fighter of the year.

It seemed clear that Crawford and Lomachenko, should Lomachenko prevail the following night, were the two obvious frontrunners. But Crawford didn’t want to hear it.

“I won the [fourth] belt, [so] it shouldn’t even be up for debate,” Crawford said. “You tell me right now why I shouldn’t [be fighter of the year]? Three fights [for Lomachenko], but who did he fight that amounts to [being fighter of the year]?”

One reporter pushed back, telling Crawford that while he had a good chance to win, it was by no means a done deal. Crawford, in a dead serious tone and with a steely look in his eyes, shot back, “Not a good chance. I feel like I’ve won it.”

Well, guess what? Crawford did. He is the 2017 ESPN.com fighter of the year.

It is the second nod for Crawford, who also won it in 2014, when most major outlets, as well as the Boxing Writers Association of America, honored him for going on the road to Scotland to win a lightweight world title from Ricky Burns in dominant fashion before making two strong defenses against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Raymundo Beltran. Crawford eventually moved up to junior welterweight and unified two belts in 2016 before his big 2017.

Резултат со слика за Terence Crawford wins ESPN's 2017 fighter of the year honors

Fighters of the Year

2017-Terence Crawford
2016-Carl Frampton
2015-Canelo Alvarez
2014-Terence Crawford
2013-Floyd Mayweather
2012-Nonito Donaire
2011-Andre Ward
2010-Sergio Martinez
2009-Manny Pacquiao
2008-Manny Pacquiao
2007-Floyd Mayweather
2006-Manny Pacquiao
2005-Ricky Hatton
2004-Glen Johnson
2003-James Toney
2002-Vernon Forrest
2001-Bernard Hopkins
2000-Felix Trinidad

It is the second nod for Crawford, who also won it in 2014, when most major outlets, as well as the Boxing Writers Association of America, honored him for going on the road to Scotland to win a lightweight world title from Ricky Burns in dominant fashion before making two strong defenses against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Raymundo Beltran. Crawford eventually moved up to junior welterweight and unified two belts in 2016 before his big 2017.

On May 20, at Madison Square Garden in New York, Crawford defended his belts against highly regarded contender Felix Diaz, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist from the Dominican Republic whose only prior loss was a controversial decision at welterweight to former world titleholder Lamont Peterson.

Diaz campaigned hard to get the fight, and Crawford obliged. It was a one-sided demolition. Crawford landed all kinds of heavy shots with both hands and made Diaz, a very good fighter, look helpless. By the end of the 10th round, Diaz had taken a beating, and his trainer, Joel Diaz, threw in the towel.

Sitting ringside that night was Julius Indongo, a 2008 Olympian from Namibia who held the other two major belts in the 140-pound division. Crawford promoter Top Rank and Indongo’s representatives were looking to match them next, and that is what happened.

 

Резултат со слика за Terence Crawford wins ESPN's 2017 fighter of the year honors

 

Indongo traveled to Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, just outside of Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, for an ultra-rare four-belt title unification fight on Aug. 19.

The 30-year-old Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) sliced through then-undefeated Indongo with ease. He dropped him in the second round and knocked him out with a brutal body shot for an electrifying finish in the third round to become the undisputed world champion.

Crawford made history by becoming only the third fighter of the four-belt era to hold all four major sanctioning body belts at the same time, joining former middleweight champions Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor. He also proved that his crystal ball worked well when he told those two reporters last month that he would surely have fighter of the year honors coming his way.

“It’s already won. I won it already. Why wouldn’t I have,” he said.

He was right.

 

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SOurce: www.espn.com

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