SportNews – Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford-Julius Indongo title bout’s impact is both global and for Nebraska
When the talking was done, the two champions moved to the front of the stage with their hardware.
Terence “Bud” Crawford, with the multi-colored Ring magazine belt around his waist, stood on one side with the dark red WBO belt slung over his right shoulder and the green WBC one dangling from his left.
Julius Indongo, with the red IBF and black WBA straps hanging from his shoulders, stood on the other.
The champions then posed for a historic photo. It was the first time the junior welterweight title belts from boxing’s four major sanctioning bodies — and the Ring belt — have all been in the same place.
The winner of Saturday’s bout in Lincoln claims them all, becoming boxing’s only undisputed champ.
Crawford and Indongo meet in their sport’s first title fight between unified champions within the same division when they clash at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the main event of a card to be televised on ESPN.
They stood side by side for the first time Thursday at a press conference at the Sheraton Omaha Hotel.
“This is what we’re in the sport for — to fight the best fights in the division and fight the best fighters and collect all of these belts,” said Crawford, considered the world’s top 140-pound fighter. “It’s history.”
The unbeaten two-division champ from Omaha (31-0, 22 knockouts) had studied his division’s history, referencing the last undisputed champion in his weight class — Kostya Tszyu — at Thursday’s event. The Russian-born, Australia-based Tszyu unified the WBC, WBA and IBF titles in 2001 — before the WBO was recognized as an equal to the three older major sanctioning bodies. He was the first undisputed champion in the 140-pound division since 1967 and only the fifth in the history of the weight class.
Crawford aims to become the sixth overall, but the first in boxing’s four-belt era.
“I want to be labeled as the man who won all four of them in my state of Nebraska,” he said. “And it means a lot to me being that a lot of people don’t believe good talent comes from Omaha, Nebraska. And I’ve been proving them wrong ever since I came on the scene of boxing, from amateurs to pro.
“And to win all of these titles, in one night, is going to mean everything.”
Indongo, of course, has the same opportunity as Crawford. And he doesn’t mind being the underdog.
“I’d been an amateur for many years, and I’ve fought everywhere in the world,” he said. “The amateur level had been taking me everywhere. I don’t see the difference of being out of mind or being not seen. All I have is the focus and to concentrate on our game plan and see what will be the result of the fight.”
The undefeated Namibian (22-0, 11 KOs) won back-to-back title fights on the road — knocking out IBF champ Eduard Troyanovsky in Russia before dominating WBA titlist Ricky Burns in Scotland — to get here.
Indongo has said all week that he had no problem with coming to the U.S. for this bout.
“I don’t think I have an issue with the fans or the population because it is already something I am aware of,” he said. “All I have is to train and just be focused on Crawford and my game plan and do good on my preparation.”
Promoter Todd duBoef of Top Rank called Saturday’s bout a superfight, explaining that this is a unique circumstance that the four major title belts ended up in the hands of two fighters in a truly global sport.
“The globalization of it makes it really hard,” he said. “These guys are heroes to their country. They’re heroes to their fan base. And, therefore, there’s big business for them. And it’s very hard to get people to understand that. And it’s just not like putting the best and the best. That makes it very difficult.
“Because of the size of the sport and its globalization, the titles are held on to and cherished.”
Crawford has been a world champion since early 2014, when he beat Burns for the WBO lightweight title. He’s fought in Nebraska four times since — twice as a lightweight and twice as a junior welterweight.
All of those bouts were in Omaha. This will be his first event in Lincoln, a place he’s wanted to fight.
“If you watch Nebraska football play, and you see how our state turns out each and every home game, you would see how big it is,” he said. “That’s what I want for me and my fights. I want it to be as big as that.”
source : http://www.omaha.com/sports/terence-bud-crawford-julius-indongo-title-bout-s-impact-is/article_9bf03307-a3d5-5560-9d53-2cea5fbe5456.html