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Garden Brawl: Crawford Knocks Out Mean Machine

PhilBoxing.com




- Teofimo Lopez blows out Richard Commey to capture lightweight world title
- Michael Conlan earns grudge match win over Vladimir Nikitin

NEW YORK CITY (Dec. 14, 2019) — Egidijus "Mean Machine" Kavaliauskas was game, but pound-for-pound king Terence "Bud" Crawford was too much.

Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) defended his WBO welterweight world title, knocking down Kavaliauskas three times en route to a ninth-round TKO in front of 10,101 fans at Madison Square Garden.

“I thought I had to entertain ya’ll for a little bit. He’s a strong fighter, durable, and I thought I’d give the crowd something to cheer for," Crawford said. “I wasn’t hurt at all. I got up and went straight to him. I wasn’t hurt by no means. I walked through everything he threw all night.

“I’m not ducking anyone on the PBC side or Top Rank platform. I want to fight all the top guys.”



Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) had some success early, even buzzing Crawford in the third round with a near-knockdown. Crawford rebounded, reloaded and dominated per usual, cementing his status at the top of the welterweight and pound-for-pound heap.

Teofimo Lopez Blows Out Richard Commey

A superstar was born.

Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) blitzed Richard Commey (29-3, 26 KOs) in two rounds to win the IBF lightweight world title. Lopez knocked Commey down with a right hand in the second round and followed up with a savage combination that forced referee David Fields to stop the fight.

Lopez made history in becoming the first boxer of Honduran descent to win a world title. He is now on track to challenge unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in a fight that would crown an undisputed champion in 2020.



“I’m at a loss for words right now. This is a dream come true," Lopez said. "{Commey} is a bad man. His shot could’ve done the same to me if he hit me with that shot.

“You all know who I want to fight next. 2020 is going to be a big year. ‘The Takeover’ has arrived, and you haven’t seen anything yet.”

Said Lomachenko: “We want to ‘unificate’ all four titles. Now he’s a world champion and now he’s in position to fight me.”

Conlan Wins Grudge Match

Revenge came for Michael “Mick” Conlan, but it was wasn’t easy. The pride of Belfast, Conlan earned a 10-round unanimous decision over Vladimir Nikitin to retain his WBO Intercontinental featherweight belt by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Conlan controlled the bout, but Nikitin had his moments and found a home for his overhand right.




Nikitin (3-1, 0 KOs) was the beneficiary of a controversial decision over Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a decision that sparked an international firestorm and set up this highly anticipated grudge match.

“It was a lot of pressure going into that fight, but it’s nice to get it done. I just needed to get that one back," Conlan said. “I needed to right this wrong. Full credit to Nikitin, who fought his heart out. There’s no bad blood. There never was. Now, we can put this chapter of my career behind me.”

— This wasn't unlucky number 13. Super middleweight sensation Edgar "The Chosen One" Berlanga (13-0, 13 KOs) scored the 13th consecutive first-round knockout to begin his career, icing the normally durable Cesar Nunez (16-2-1, 8 KOs) in only 2:45. Berlanga notched a pair of knockdowns before the referee halted the bout.

Berlanga said he came into the fight determined to keep his first-round knockout streak going in honor of his late cousin, Anthony Santana, who was murdered during training camp.

"It feels amazing to be able to represent {Puerto Rico} on such a big and important stage as Madison Square Garden," Berlanga said. "My cousin was killed while I was preparing for this fight and that's why I wanted to dedicate this fight to him. I wanted to keep my first-round knockout streak going for him. I did it. I promise that for the next one I will go more rounds and I will be able to show all my skills. I'm not just a puncher."

— Josue "The Prodigy" Vargas (16-1, 9 KOs), the Bronx product, put on a show in front of the home fans and bested former sparring partner Noel Murphy (14-2-1, 2 KOs) via unanimous decision (98-92 3X) to win the vacant IBF North American junior welterweight title.

“What a blessing to fight in front of my home fans and put on a show for them and everyone watching on ESPN+," Vargas said. "The belt means the world to me. I know this isn’t a world title, but I am on my way. To be 21 years old and fight at The Garden is truly special.”

— Super lightweight prospect Julian "Hammer Hands" Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) cruised to an eight-round unanimous decision (80-71 2x and 79-72) over the game Manuel Mendez (16-7-3, 11 KOs), who was knocked down in the opening round.

— Undefeated lightweight contender George "Ferocious" Kambosos Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs) took home the most significant win of his career, edging former world champion Mickey Bey (23-3-1, 11 KOs) via split decision.




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