This Saturday on ESPN – from the boxing mecca that is Madison Square Garden in New York City. Terence Crawford, one of pound for pound best fighters in boxing today, puts his WBO Welterweight Championship on the line against mandatory challenger, the ‘Mean Machine’ Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Egidijus ‘The Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas vs Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford
Madison Square Garden, New York. NY
Saturday, December 14, 2019 – 11:00 PM EST at ESPN
The Fight: Lead Up
On November 16th, 2018, the two-time Lithuanian Olympian Egidijus Kavaliauskas took on Roberto Arriaza and knocked him out in the third round. After the fight, ‘Top Rank Boxing’ CEO Bob Arum hinted at Kavaliauskas being a likely challenger for the WBO welterweight title at some point in early 2019.
After a scheduled fight with a 37-year-old veteran, Luis Collazo for March 23rd fell through, Crawford’s first scheduled fight of 2019 was pushed back until April.
On January 15th 2019, it was announced that Terence Crawford would fight Amir Khan on April 20th. The fight took place at Madison Square Garden, Crawford knocked down Khan just two minutes into the first round with a hard right hand, left hook. Khan made some adjustments in the next two rounds, however, Crawford outboxed Khan with his sharper and faster hand speed.
When Crawford switch to southpaw in the fourth round, it increased pressure on Khan. Just 40 seconds into the sixth round, Crawford hit Khan with an accidental low blow – despite being given time to recover, Khan was unable to continue the fight and Crawford was awarded the victory via Technical Knockout. Before the fight was stopped, Crawford led on the scorecards 50-44, 49-45 and 49-45.
As per the Compubox stats, Crawford landed 88 of 211 punches (42%) while Khan landed just 44 of 182 (24%) punches thrown. Many in the media and even Crawford himself accused Amir Khan of quitting, due to the way the fight was going at the time of the low blow. Khan denied the allegations by Crawford and claimed he was simply injured and unable to continue. Just a few weeks after the Khan fight.
Crawford’s camp and promotion at Top Rank announced that the Lithuanian Olympian Egidijus Kavaliauskas would be next in line for a shot at Crawford’s WBO welterweight gold. The fight was reported to be scheduled for sometime before the end of 2019.
Who is Egidijus Kavaliauskas ??
‘The Mean Machine’ Egidijus Kavaliauskas is a relatively unknown fighter, with an impressive professional record coming into this fight. The 31-year-old held the NABF welterweight title at a regional level from 2017 to 2019.
He also became the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight champion in 2018. Kavaliauskas represented Lithuania at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and in 2011 he won a bronze medal at the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships.
As of the August 2019 ‘The Ring’ magazine rankings; Kavaliauskas is considered the eighth-best active welterweight in the world, and is ranked tenth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Terence Crawford: Pedigree
For those readers who are unfamiliar with Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford: He is a 32-year-old professional boxer who has held multiple world titles in three different weight classes. Those of which include the WBO welterweight title which he was held since 2018.
Previously he held the WBO and lineal lightweight titles from 2014 to 2015, and the unified WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO, and lineal light welterweight titles from 2015 to 2017.
Crawford had a short stint of being the undisputed light welterweight champion, prior to moving up to welterweight. Crawford is the most recent undisputed titleholder at light welterweight since 2004.
Crawford is the first male boxer to hold all four major world titles in boxing at the same time since 2005 and is only one of seven boxing in history to do so, male or female.
As of the August 2019 rankings released by ‘The Ring’ magazine, Crawford is considered the fourth-best pound for pound boxer in the world, and the best active welterweight currently in boxing.
Crawford was named fighter of the year in both 2014 and 2017 by ESPN. As far as style goes, he is best known for his incredibly fast hand speed, his punching power, and counter-attack abilities. Along with his defensive skills, Crawford is also known for his ability to comfortably switch hit from orthodox stance to southpaw.
Tale of the tape:
Nickname: The Mean Machine
Height: 5ft 9in (175 cm)
Reach: 71in (180 cm)
Born: Kaunas, Lithuania
Wins by Stoppage: 17
Height: 5ft 8in (173 cm)
Reach: 74in (188 cm)
Born: Omaha, Nebraska (USA)
Wins by Stoppage: 26
Of the 21 pro fights Kavaliauskas has been in, this will be his first that is scheduled for 12 rounds of boxing. In those 21 previous pro fights, Kavaliauskas’ has an average fight length of 4.3 rounds. The most finishes of those 21 fights coming in the second round with five.
Kavaliauskas has a ‘True KO Rate’ of 33% (7/12) and a TKO rate of 47% (10/21), for a combined stoppage percentage of 80% (17/21). Only four of Kavaliauskas’ twenty-one fights have gone the distance.
Although Kavaliauskas has fought in 21 pro fights, only 6 of them have had professional odds posted, in those 6 fights – Kavaliauskas has had an average betting line of -1250.
In 35 professional fights, Terence Crawford has an average fight length of 5.5 rounds. His average fight length in fights which have been scheduled for 12 rounds is 8.7 rounds. Out of Crawford’s thirteen 12 round fights, the most finishes have come via decision with 3.
Crawford has a ‘True KO Rate’ of 22% (8/35), and a TKO rate of 51% (18/35), for a combined stoppage rate of 74% (26/35). Only 25% of Crawford’s 35 pro fights have gone to decision (9/35).
Out of the 35 professional fights Crawford has had, 13 of them had professional odds posted. In those 13 fights, Crawford has had an average line of -833. Crawford has a MoneyLine betting record of 13-0, +1.65u, and the UNDER has hit in 53% of those fights going 7-6 for +2.19units.
The Path to Victory
As previously mentioned, Terence Crawford is not only the undefeated WBO welterweight champion, but he is also rated as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
Crawford comes into this fight as the largest betting favorite on the card. With an opening line of -800, Crawford’s odds have quickly soared up to the -1600 area. It is a surprise that Crawford only sits around -1600, as this is one of the best boxers in the sport today vs a mandatory challenger who has never fought a professional 12 round fight in his career.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas comes into this one as a sizable underdog, but Crawford is not overlooking his opponent in this one. In the lead up to the fight, Crawford has recognized that Kavaliauskas is a dangerous fighter with little to lose and a whole world to gain by knocking him off the plateau in the welterweight division.
Kavaliauskas has only had one fight in 2019 vs Ray Robinson in March. That fight ended in a majority draw after 10 rounds of boxing. It was not a fight that the casual boxing fan would say Kavaliauskas dominated, however – the WBO liked what they saw from the ‘Mean Machine’ and shortly after deemed him the mandatory challenger for Crawford title.
Kavaliauskas was an esteemed amateur boxer who represented his country two Olympic games before turning pro in 2013. Since then, Kavaliauskas has gone undefeated and has won multiple lower-tier titles like the NABF welterweight championship.
Prior to the draw vs Robinson in March, ‘the Mean Machine’ had won five of his last six fights by stoppage. Kavaliauskas has not been involved in a fight of this magnitude at any point in his career, but he has surely been groomed for this opportunity and has the capability to go toe to toe with Crawford, who is one of the best in business today.
As for Crawford, he is eyeing a legacy that will be pieced together by the challenges he faces during his championship reign. For him, taking down the undefeated Lithuanian Olympian is another notch on his resume, as one of the best fighters of this era.
However, to do that – he will have to defeat Kavaliauskas and then take on the likes of Errol Spence Jr, and other notable fighters, to get the respect and purse pay-out he believes he deserves.
Kavaliauskas has never been knocked out as a professional fighter and Crawford looks to be the first fighter to do so to him. Crawford hopes to add Kavaliauskas’ name to the list of the countless other fighters’ undefeated records he has blemished. From Benavidez Jr. to Horn, Indongo to Postol, Gamboa, and Klimov. In those six fights alone, Crawford knocked out four of them.
Crawford’s opponent is no scrub and I would be rather surprised if he is able to stop him in just a few rounds. However, the fact remains, Kavaliauskas is not even close to the level of fighter that Terence Crawford is, which is why I see this fight being put to bed sooner rather than later.
For more than five years, Terence Crawford has been putting opponents away one after the other. It doesn’t matter if they are up and coming prospect fighters or former champions, Crawford has done away with them – mostly with ease.
Since 2014, only 3 of Crawford’s 13 opponents have been able to withstand the full scheduled fight and take it to the distance. The odds are highly unlikely that Kavaliauskas will be able to add his name to that list.
Between these two fighters and their 51 combined fights, only 9 of them have gone to the scorecards. With that being said, I think it is highly unlikely that there is any path for Kavaliauskas to win this fight, even if it goes all 12 rounds.
Crawford will look to define his legacy further with a definitive win over Kavaliauskas here. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is able to stop the ‘Mean Machine’ after just a few rounds.
The path beyond the big Lithuanian has a possible date with the 41-year-old Manny Pacquiao or a super fight with IBF and WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
Whoever it may be, the path travels through a stoppage against Egidijus Kavaliauskas that I am confident will occur.
Give me Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford inside the distance vs ‘the Mean Machine’ on Saturday.
AlMac’s Best Bets (via Bet365)
2.75% – Fight Will Not Go The Distance (-275)
1.25% – Under 8.5 Rounds (+100)
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 5: +1000
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 6: +900
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 7: +800
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 8: +800
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 9: +800
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 10: +900
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 11: +1000
0.5% – Fight Ends in Round 12: +1200
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