Crawford v Indongo: Countdown to super-lightweight unification clash begins
Last Updated: 18/08/17 9:22pm
Terence Crawford faces Julius Indongo, with all the super-lightweight world titles at stake in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.
The American has agreed to defend his WBC and WBO belts against Indongo, who puts his WBA and IBF titles on the line in a rare unification clash involving all four governing bodies this weekend in Nebraska.
The two-weight world champ is one of the most skilful operators in the sport, racking up 31 straight victories to earn a spot in the top 10 pound-for-pound list of many experts.
Crawford is not prone to brash pre-fight boasts, unlike many of his compatriots, but there was a quiet confidence about 'Bud' when he arrived in Scotland to challenge Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title in 2014.
Twelve rounds later, Crawford was crowned as the new WBO champion after a masterful points win, and would enhance his reputation with a clinical stoppage of the highly-rated Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa in his first title defence.
Crawford would soon move up in weight, demolishing Thomas Dulorme to claim the vacant WBO super-lightweight title, and then added the WBC title with a comprehensive points win over Viktor Postol.
Little was known about the Namibian when he challenged IBF champion Eduard Troyanovsky in December 2016, but Indongo burst onto the world scene with a stunning first round knockout win over the Russian in Moscow.
Indongo has shown that he is not simply a dangerous puncher as he added the WBO belt with a wide points victory over Burns on a trip to Glasgow in April.
The long-limbed southpaw has honed his own unique style and Burns could not get to grips with his awkward opponent.
Indongo must travel to hostile territory once more as he faces Crawford in his own American heartland, but will be hoping to silence the home fans again with one of the most famous victories by an African fighter.
On the line...
The four major world titles have been contested on only three occasions in recent years, with Bernard Hopkins collecting all the belts after a ninth round knockout victory over Oscar de la Hoya in 2004.
Hopkins successfully defended all four titles with a unanimous decision points victory over Howard Eastman, but was dethroned by a split decision defeat against Jermain Taylor in 2005.
Either Crawford or Indongo can write their name in boxing history as they attempt to establish themselves as the one ruling champion in the super-lightweight division.
Fight fans will get another chance to compare the ring skills of Crawford against the other elite performers in the sport.
With Floyd Mayweather likely to make just a fleeting return to boxing, then Crawford can stake his own claim as one of the pound-for-pound best.
Andre Ward is widely considered No 1 in the absence of Mayweather, but Crawford can close the gap if he dominates the division and then steps up another weight class.
There should be a fascinating clash of styles as the slick Crawford comes up against the rangy, heavy-handed Indongo.
Two unbeaten records are on the line and we should receive a true indication about the quality of Indongo, who is facing another sizeable step-up in class.
Victory for Indongo would be an eyebrow raising result, with Crawford hyped as one of America's finest.
Who else is on the card?
Former British heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte will make his US debut when he ends an eight-month absence from the ring by taking on Malcolm Tann.
Whyte wants to secure a shot at WBC champion Deontay Wilder and needs to produce an impressive performance in the States.
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Exciting young featherweight Shakur Stevenson, former world champion Nicholas Walters, unbeaten light-heavyweight Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings are also part of a packed undercard.
Where is it?
The Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln will be making it's boxing debut by staging Crawford-Indongo.
The stadium is part of a $344 redevelopment in the state capital, with a capacity of around 15,000 able to watch local hero Crawford in action.
College basketball team, the Huskers, are the usual residents but they will not be the warm-up act for Crawford-Indongo.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar is live at the arena on Friday night and sports fans will have to wait another 24 hours to see if Crawford can 'humble' Indongo.
Watch the world title unification as Terence Crawford takes on Julius Indongo for all four world titles, with Dillian Whyte on the undercard, from 2am this Sunday on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena.