Convicted Artist Magazine

Aug 11th
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boxing-adjustmentsProfessional championship boxing returned to Omaha, Nebraska for the first time in 42 years.  The last time, a guy from Council Bluffs fought in Omaha.  This time, the Omaha fighter was offered Council Bluffs.  We have Indian gaming to thank for this shift.  Terence Crawford, however, did not want to make his family cross the river, and he knew how well his tickets would sell.  10-12,000 people showed up in Omaha to watch their favorite boxing son make his first title defense, and he did not disappoint.
Top Rank usually punishes fighters for wanting hometown defenses.  Bob Arum does this by making it the toughest assignment of a fighters career.  Just ask Mike Alvarado if he'd rather have taken that Provodnikov fight in Las Vegas after all.  Crawford was not punished in result, even if he was in opponent.  "Bud" was victorious against Yuriorkis Gamboa, for one reason and one reason alone.  It was the same reason Matt Korobov was victorious in his bout on the undercard.  They both knew how to adjust.
Gamboa had faster hands, and superior combinations.  This is something Crawford has not encountered much in his professional career, and certainly not in his two biggest prior wins: Burns and Prescott.  However, he went southpaw, with an effortlessness that had commentators reminiscing about Marvin Hagler's similar ability.  Then, after losing a round even worse, he began to time Gamboa, and catch him on the way in.  Crawford used this new style, and a well timed southpaw jab, to take over the fight.
Once his superior chin was made evident, he also began daring Gamboa to trade.  Then, when he had the Cuban down and hurt, he showed patience and intelligence by landing crippling body shots.  Such incredible maturity has not been seen in a young fighter in many years, but he was not done there.  After getting caught by Gamboa in round 9, he adjusted yet again.  He did this by tying up, moving, and gradually getting Gamboa to overcommit, and get caught again.  This time, Crawford stayed on him, and finished him off.
Korobov was ahead earlier, but still had to adjust to using his right hand, when the left was nullified, and using different angles.  He also was at a rare height disadvantage, and took a few rounds to figure that out.  Once the timing was there, however, it was his fight.  This is a skill that even some great fighters did not possess: George Foreman, Felix Trinidad... these men were brilliant in one dimension, but if you figured them out, that was it... they could not do anything else.  It is always a good sign, when we see a young fighter, who can win in many ways.  Andre Ward will have contemporaries after all.

Chris Strait

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