This was one of those instances where the better fighter made mistakes but was just too good to lose. He won’t make these same mistakes against a top welterweight
Was Jack Mosley in the corner for Kavaliauskas?
Michael Conlan gets his revenge over Vladimir Nikitin as Teofimo Lopez stuns Richard Commey to take IBF title
Michael Conlan got revenge over Vladimir Nikitin after an unanimous points victory over the Russian in New York.
Bad blood has festered between Conlan and Nikitin since their hugely controversial meeting at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Conlan was denied a medal after the fight was scored in the Russian’s favour with the Irish fighter slamming officials before retiring from amateur boxing on the spot.
Now two years into his professional career, featherweight Conlan extended his record to 13-0 win a disciplined performance against his old rival at Madison Square Garden.
The judges' scorecards read 98-92, 99-91 and 100-90 in Conlan's favour.
"I have no ill-feeling to Vladimir. It wasn't personal. But I needed to get one back,” Conlan said.
"That fight could have been very emotional for me after everything that happened. I had to remain calm. We worked on it in training and it worked tonight."
Elsewhere on the card, Teofimo Lopez was crowned the new IBF lightweight champion at just 22, stopping Richard Commey in the second round. Lopez floored the Ghanaian with a devastating right that the now former champion never recovered from. Brooklyn-born Lopez waded in for the finish to become a world champion in just his 15th pro fight.
Terence Crawford meanwhile retained his WBO welterweight title with an impressive ninth round knockout win over Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.
Crawford stops Kavaliauskas to defend welterweight title
erence Crawford's latest opponent had not only never been knocked down, but Crawford couldn't recall seeing him even hurt.
Then again, he'd never been in a ring with a fighter like Crawford before.
Crawford dropped Egidijus Kavaliauskas three times before stopping him in the ninth round Saturday night to remain unbeaten and defend his welterweight title at Madison Square Garden.
''I wanted to give the crowd a knockout,'' Crawford said. ''When I started letting my hands go, I started landing more fatal shots.''
Crawford knocked down the challenger once in the seventh round and twice more in the ninth before referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped it at 44 seconds of the round.
Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) absorbed perhaps more shots than usual but seemed to enjoy getting to show he has power, too, letting out a big smile as Kavaliauskas returned to his corner looking frustrated after one round late in the fight.
''I thought I had to entertain you all for a little bit,'' Crawford said. ''He's a strong fighter, durable, and I thought I'd give the crowd something to cheer for.''
Kavaliauskas (21-1-1), a Lithuanian who was the mandatory challenger for Crawford's WBO belt, had some good moments in the first few rounds before Crawford took control midway through the fight and then poured it on late.
Crawford fought cautiously at the outset and Kavaliauskas showed why there was reason to when he landed a big right early in the third round and then a couple more punches inside as Crawford tried to hold on. Crawford ended up going to a knee but Kavaliauskas wasn't credited with a knockdown, the referee apparently determining Crawford had been pushed down.
Crawford said afterward he wasn't hurt by that shot and it wasn't long before he was the one doing more damage.
Kavaliauskas kept throwing big punches that drove Crawford backward when they landed, but Crawford used his speed advantage to slip out of the way of many of them while landing his own combinations.
Crawford took a hard shot early in the seventh but then began answering and finally caught Kavaliauskas with a looping right near the ear that sent him to the canvas.
Crawford finished it two rounds later, first using a three-punch combination to set up a right uppercut that sent Kavaliauskas to the canvas. He got up but Crawford then threw a right hook that returned the two-time Olympian to the canvas and the fight was immediately waved off.
The 32-year-old Crawford bristled this week when asked if getting in tougher fights would earn him extra appreciation, saying all that mattered was winning. But this fight certainly appeared harder than the skilled Nebraska native's first three after moving up to welterweight, all stoppages, after he won all four major belts at 140.
He's still searching for better opposition in the deep 147-pound division and promoter Bob Arum indicated Crawford may look next to veteran Shawn Porter, who is coming off a competitive loss to Errol Spence Jr. in a unification bout in September.
A Crawford-Spence bout would likely be the most attractive possible, but Spence was injured in a car accident and it's unknown when he can fight again. That could leave Porter as the next choice.
''Porter is the next best guy,'' Arum said. ''He proved himself with Spence.''
Crawford said he's ready for whichever fighter is next.
''I'll fight anybody. I've been saying that for I don't know how long,'' Crawford said.
Earlier, Teofimo Lopez won a lightweight belt with a second-round stoppage of Richard Commey, and Michael Conlan beat Olympic rival Vladimir Nikitin.
Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) was spectacular in his first title fight, wobbling Commey with a left hand early in the second round and then flooring him with a hard right hand. He finished the fight with a barrage of punches in the corner and perhaps next moves on to a 135-pound unification bout with two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) had lost to Nikitin twice as an amateur, including in the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals. He blasted the international boxing federation for being corrupt after the decision was announced and extended his middle finger to the judges at ringside.
He had also lost a close fight to Nikitin in 2013 but the judges saw this one as no contest, giving Conlan a lopsided decision by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92.
Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.
crawford is brutal when he has a guy hurt. crawford took a lot of punches. kaval was better than i thought
Apply shame. Apply fame. The crook and the flail.
Good fight. Some pretty big holes in patches there others could exploit to make Crawford pay.
"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job. Now behave yourself..."
Was it a case of Crawford underestimating Kavaliauskas? Maybe not as motivated as he would be against Spence or Porter.
They live, We sleep
It was a case of everyone (most) underrating Kavaliauskas. Boxing fans/pundits/media are the most arrogant in the world, continually overlooking guys they don't know anything about. There was enough substance in his career to expect a solid challenger.
Without doubt Crawford would have been sharper against a marquee name though.
3-Time SADDO PREDICTION COMP CHAMPION.
I have to go back to this. Crawford does have a mean, evil streak in him that comes out whenever he feels embarrassed by the other guy. Whether Kava was underrated or not (and it seems like he was), the boxing world fully expected total domination by Bud from start to finish. When that wasn't happening, and Bud was getting tagged, he probably said WTF is this..... and put himself into that other gear you mentioned, @palmerq .
He went righty and I thought he was even more lethal as a righty than in his natural, southpaw stance. Many fighters toy with the opposite stance during fights. But Crawford does righty better than many would expect. Once he went into "seek and destroy" mode, Kava had little chance. Had he not tagged Crawford so much and so effectively early on, Bud may have been content with outboxing him throughout the 12 rounds. So in retrospect I'm glad Kava pissed him off.
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