Crawford to face Dulorme for WBO 140-pound belt
Undefeated former WBO lightweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford will move five pounds north for his 2015 debut, clocking in for work in the junior welterweight division where he will tangle with Thomas Dulorme, the No. 2-world-rated contender, for the vacant WBO world junior welterweight title. Crawford will rumble with Dulorme this Saturday, April 18, at College Park Center, located on the campus of the University of Texas Arlington in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Crawford, 25-0 (17), one of boxing’s hottest fighters in 2014, is looking to make 2015 another “career year.” “Bud” is looking to grab the vacant WBO 140-pound title in his first bout of the year and hopes the new title will be his ticket into even bigger fights over the next 12 months.
Crawford had a great year in 2014. First, he traveled to Scotland in March and bested champion Ricky Burns over 12 rounds to secure the WBO lightweight title. He then defended the title by stopping Yuriorkis Gamboa in June in nine rounds. Then he closed out the year by dusting off rugged Ray Beltran over 12 frames in November.
Both defences were held in Terence’s backyard at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha where the ESPN.com and Boxing Writers Association of America “Fighter of the Year” has become the hottest sports franchise in Nebraska. However, Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme, 22-1 (14), is a fighter intent on handing Crawford his first loss.
In boxing, winning the title is one thing; keeping it is another. Every fighter is looking to deliver the fight of his life when he gets a shot at the champion. Even though the two will battle for a vacant title, Crawford is viewed as the favourite. As a result, Dulorme is playing the role of challenger and will be bringing everything he’s got looking to upset the unbeaten Omaha star and make a name for himself among the elite fighters at 140 pounds.
Dulorme comes into the bout red-hot and on a roll, having defeated a couple of tough contenders in his last two outings. Dulorme won a 10-round decision against then-undefeated Karim Mayfield in March of 2014 and then beat “Hammerin” Henry Lundy in December.
Both fighters met the press and seemed confident of victory, ready to show the boxing world who is about to take over the 140-pound division.
“I’m here to prove to the world that I am the best fighter in the junior welterweight division,” said Dulorme. “Crawford has an undefeated record but he’s never won a fight at 140 pounds. I’m envisioning a hard-fought victory, one that I will bring back home to my people of Puerto Rico,” he said.
While Crawford may be the favorite going in, Dulorme feels his naturally bigger size and perhaps underrated boxing ability, will be an advantage that will play out in the bout. “I have seen Terence Crawford fight and have studied him very well and I know his weaknesses and his strengths. He is a good boxer but I am more than capable of winning this fight,” Dulorme said. “I am very motivated for the opportunity of winning a world title and I will not let my fans down and will take this belt back to Puerto Rico. I am happy that this fight is in Texas because I will have the support of all the Latino fans that live here in this area. I am looking forward to a great fight and to becoming a world champion. I will be the bigger, stronger fighter in the ring. I will be comfortable inside the ring and not only use my power but fight with intelligence against Crawford.”
But Crawford, who is enjoying, if not outright relishing, training for the higher weight, welcomes the challenge a few pounds north. “I will be stronger and more powerful at 140. I always aim to be the best fighter in any division I’m in,” Crawford said. “I am ready to do bigger and better things at 140. I’ve been at 140 before with Breidis Prescott and it didn’t affect me at all. In fact, I feel it will make my performance better come fight night. This fight is going to be fun. I can already tell. For one, [Dulorme] thinks he is going to be the bigger, stronger guy in the ring, which I don’t believe. He’s not. Come fight time, I will show everybody. I will be in control. It’s going to be a great fight and I look forward to getting my hand raised at the end.”
Crawford is looking to add his second world title belt to his trophy cabinet and then head home to 10,000 or so of his closest friends at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha for a title defence later in the year. “Come prepared because I am going to be ready. The fans should expect a spectacular victory. This is my second world title at a different weight and I am really going to be up for it. I will be prepared. I am always ready and prepared for any fight,” said Crawford.
* Roman “Rocky” Martinez won the WBO junior lightweight championship for the third time with a 12-round, unanimous decision over champion Orlando “Siri” Salido on Saturday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Scores were 114-111, 115-110, 116-109.
* The newly-founded Texas Boxing Hall of Fame announced that long-time, Dallas boxing man Dickie Cole will be the first to be enshrined into the hall. Cole has dedicated 66 years of his life to the sport, starting as a boxer in the late-1940s. Cole also served as both a referee and judge at the amateur and professional levels and eventually served as president of the North American Boxing Federation and ratings chairman for the World Boxing Council. Dickie wrapped up his career in boxing as head of Combative Sports for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which governs boxing in the State of Texas.
* From the bizarre news out of Germany files – Authorities in Cologne are reportedly investigating former world middleweight champion Felix Sturm and his manager Roland Bebak for allegedly trying to hire a hitman to kill Sturm’s former promoter Ahmet Oner. Sturm, training for a WBA super middleweight title fight next month, denied the charge. “This story is contrived to hurt me,” Sturm told the Cologne Express. “Roland and I are being blackmailed. Nothing else. Everyone knows the criminal record of Mr. Oner. The story is ridiculous!” Stay Tuned!
* WBO middleweight champion “Irish” Andy Lee and undefeated Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin battled to a 12-round stalemate on Saturday night in Brooklyn, NY. Quillin dropped Lee in rounds one and three, while Lee floored Quillin in the seventh. Scores were 113-112 Lee, 113-112 Quillin and 113-113. The fight was about as close as it can get on the scorecards. If judge Glenn Feldman scored round three 10-8 (for a questionable knockdown) like the other two judges, Quillin would have won a split decision. If Andy Lee had won round 12, he would have won a unanimous decision. Don’t be surprised to see these two in the ring for a second go-round.
* Also in Brooklyn on Saturday night, in the non-title main event, WBC/WBA junior lightweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia edged IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson via majority decision. Scores were 114-114 and 115-113 twice. Peterson’s IBF title is now vacant.
* Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao tix are a tough snag! Word out of Vegas this week was that Roger Mayweather was at the Top Rank Promotions offices inquiring about how he could get tickets. Wow – tickets are a hot commodity as one would assume Roger’s nephew being in the main event might have the juice to hook him up with some ducats?
* WBC light flyweight champion Pedro Guevara KO’ed previously unbeaten Richard Claveras in round one with a body shot on Saturday night in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
* This week’s column is dedicated to a true fighter – undisputed champion and Mount St. Joseph’s NCAA basketball star Lauren Hill, 19, who lost her battle with brain cancer this week. Rest in peace, Lauren.