Terence Crawford and Felix Verdejo triumph in separate battles at Madison Square Garden

February 28, 2016

New York -- Hank Lundy’s prior losses against Raymundo Beltran and Thomas Dulorme -- both of whom suffered losses of their own to undefeated Terence Crawford -- hinted that another defeat was in the cards for Lundy when he faced Crawford Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.  So it was of little surprise then when Crawford (28-0, 20 KO's) finished off Lundy (26-6-1, 13 KO's) with a flurry of punches to end the fight via a 5th round knockout and retain his WBO Super Lightweight belt.

From Jersey Joe Walcott to Hank Lundy, the worthy contender from Philadelphia is an archetype in boxing. In the build up to the fight, Lundy noted, "Crawford is going to feel my pain, my struggle and all of Philadelphia. I'm going to crack his head like the Liberty Bell."

For good measure Lundy also added,  "Tell Crawford to bring some suspenders to The Garden on Saturday because when I take that belt off of him he's going to need them to hold up his pants."

Lundy landed the big words, but it was Crawford who landed the heavy punches. Both in the ring and prior to the bout this past week when he landed a big push at the pre-fight press conference.

With Lundy hailing from nearby Philadelphia, and with a few hundred Crawford fans making the trip from Omaha, it was inevitable that some altercations would arise among the crowd, often to the point of distracting from the action in the ring.  It also set the tone for the action between Lundy and Crawford.

In the opening rounds, Lundy was able to move, slip, and then land some clubbing hooks. Lundy used feints to his advantage in the second round as well, as his awkward style and good head movement were clearly frustrating the normally confident Crawford.

In Round Three, Crawford re-established himself in the fight and began to break Lundy down. Crawford managed to keep Lundy at a range where he could do damage, and in the fifth round, an overhand right from Crawford made Lundy slip back into the corner, eventually leading to his TKO win.

Most fans were not there for Crawford, but for Felix Verdejo (20-0, 14 KO's) of Puerto Rico. Led into the ring by a man on stilts, Verdejo seemed quite calm. Sizing up the then-undefeated Willian Silva (23-1), this reporter pegged him to last the distance based on his 6'1" frame and Verdejo's occasionally sloppy habits.

Verdejo would in fact prevail by unanimous decision, as Silva won no more than a round or two.  Despite the one-sided nature of the fight, Verdejo failed to live up to the Felix “Tito” Trinidad comparisons that so many seem to be making these days. Even some of the Verdejo fans were booing their man’s inability to close the show in the 7th round.

Do not be surprised if the similarly-sized Verdejo and Crawford end up in a main event fight against each other in a few years.

Undercard Fights

Emmanuel Taylor (19-4) earned a knockout win in the final second of the sixth round over Nicaragua’s Wilfredo Acuna. After the first round, Taylor was in the driver’s seat of this fight. Baltimore’s Taylor is lightweight who has dropped fights to Adrien Broner and Chris Algieri.

During the undercard bouts, half of those in the arena were there to see Sean Monaghan (27-0). Indeed, a strong Irish contingent waving the Irish flag started cheering for “Seanie” from the moment he landed a jab to the mid-section of his flabby Finnish opponent, Janne Forsman (21-4).

Monaghan wobbled the Finnish fighter in Round Three, and Forsman was down again in the fourth. If you have seen a Monaghan fight, he runs out of gas in the later rounds, which is why the referee’s stoppage at 1:34 in Round Five seemed bizarre.

The move prompted one Monaghan fan to scream, “How much were you paid referee?”

It seemed like Janne Forsman was just trying to taken Monaghan into deep water, but we will never know.

In another matchup, Christian Diaz (15-0) scored a relatively effortless knockout of the Dominican Republic’s Angel Luna (11-1). The Puerto Rican fans enjoyed chanting "Pitufo" repeatedly at Diaz, who uses the word as his ring moniker. Pitufo won by fourth round KO.

In a Super Lightweight fight between Jean Carlos Torres of Puerto Rico and Miguel Gloria of New Mexico, Torres impressed with his speed and won via third round KO.

King Daluz, a Spanish fighter who has fought almost exclusively in the Canary Islands, faced Julian Rodriguez, who remained undefeated (11-0) with a win over the Spaniard. It was hard to tell if Daluz was tough or if Rodriguez was merely slow.  Daluz certainly could box a bit, but he was a long way from home. The fact that Rodriguez struggled at times with a boxer of Daluz's ability suggests that his future career prospects will not likely include a unified world title.

By Joseph Hammond
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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