UCNLive’s Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol prediction panel
Compiled by Michael Baca II
Tonight on HBO Pay-Per-View (9:00 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), WBO junior welterweight titlist Terence Crawford and WBC counterpart Viktor Postol will unify their titles and whomever emerges as the winner will be labeled as the consensus champion at 140 pounds. Just like last month, when IBF welterweight titlist Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter laid it on the line, Crawford-Postol is the best fighting the best and, for that, the Undisputed Champion Network has organized another prediction article for an intriguing match-up about to unravel.
Michael Montero (UCNLive, Montero on Boxing)
Both men will be facing the best opponent of their professional careers Saturday night in Las Vegas. Postol does several things very well; Crawford does many things very well. That will be the difference. I expect Postol to establish his jab early and tie up any time Crawford gets close. Referee Tony Weeks will let them fight and it will be up to “Bud” to get some work done on the inside and chop down the tree as the rounds progress. Crawford will switch to the southpaw stance to nullify Postol’s right hand and use feints to penetrate his opponent’s longer jab. The fight will be even after eight rounds, then the pride of Omaha begins to take over. This will be a technical, if not dull, fight halfway through, then things will open up a bit for a dynamic finish. Crawford wins by competitive but decisive unanimous decision and calls out Manny Pacquiao during the post-fight interview.
Rian Scalia (UCNLive)
I expect Crawford to lose a few early rounds while he takes a look at Postol and tries to figure out the range and how to overcome the height disparity. Being the versatile fighter he is, Crawford will make adjustments and give Postol a bunch of different looks, nicking the middle rounds with cleaner work. Down the stretch, he’ll start to pull away, roughing Postol up and hurting him in the process. The Ukrainian makes it to the final bell but, when all is said and done, Crawford does enough to win at least seven rounds clearly. Crawford by unanimous decision.
“The Professor,” Mad Marty Mulcahey (UCNLive/THE RING magazine)
A hard fight to call. For instance, we know Terence Crawford can fight back after being hurt while Viktor Postol never needed to against a bomber like Lucas Matthysse. Which is more revealing in the end analysis? I am going for the upset in this one; with very little separating the duo, in terms of skills and mentality, I like the bigger Postol (three inches in height and reach) to outfox Crawford by actually not hurting him and edging rounds on accuracy. Also, Postol fights to his strengths and Crawford has been known to be lured out of his game and into firefights. Now, if Postol will actually be rewarded by Vegas judges is the chance I take in making that prediction.
“The President,” Andrew Kennedy (UCNLive/aoboxing.com)
Both Crawford and Postol are “top operators,” which should make for a high-level chess match. Postol’s height and length usually give him an advantage against most opponents. However, I believe Crawford will not allow himself to be stuck at a range where Postol can maximize his jab. Crawford will succeed where Lucas Matthysse failed – his skill should enable him to get close to Postol and land accurate and effective blows. It may take three or four rounds but I believe Crawford will eventually figure Postol out and build momentum as the fight enters the later rounds. I look for Crawford to get a late stoppage in a fight that has a few more exciting moments than people originally thought.
Steve Kim (UCNLive, BoxingScene.com)
After his customary slow start, where Postol establishes his jab and uses his reach/length effectively, Crawford, as he usually does, makes adjustments and shifts gears in the second half of the fight and uses his movement and ability to change speeds to win a 12-round decision. I believe this fight will be mostly tactical.
Albert Baker (instantboxing.com)
After rattling off wins over B and C-level opponents and an undersized A-level Yuriorkis Gamboa, Terence Crawford has shown the boxing world what the diehard boxing fans and pundits already knew: He was special. Viktor Postol walked away from a dejected and destroyed Lucas Matthysse with the WBC title after opening the world’s eyes to what he and Freddie Roach already knew: That he was damn good at following the game plan. After losing the first few rounds, Crawford gets into second gear in the middle of the fight and wins the bulk of the bout, only to see Viktor Postol not waver and use his size and Roach’s guidance to win the championship rounds. Prediction: Crawford is special but Postol’s style is what beats special fighters – Postol by split decision
Michael Baca II (UCNLive/RingTV.com)
It’s not too often when the consensus Nos. 1 and 2 ranked in a division actually square up to answer the most important question of “Who is the best?” Even though one must pay extra to be a part of finding out that answer, there is no guarantee that the styles of Crawford and Postol will mesh into a spectacular fight. However, the importance of the bout actually happening already meets the expectations of the hardcore fan.
You may not find a more cut-and-dry fighter like Postol. It’s a wonder that the lengthy Ukrainian can even fit into 140 pounds and he uses that size to his advantage behind a stiff jab. On the other hand, Crawford is a question mark, not in terms of how much talent he has but a mystery as to what he’ll actually do. “Bud” is a chess player and, with an arsenal that can come righty or lefty, Postol hasn’t got a clue what’s in store for him.
I think Crawford checkmates the checker player and we may even see him melt the “Iceman” late, which will beg the question of if this was even No. 1 vs No. 2. Nonetheless, the question will be answered and I believe Crawford comes away with a signature win, not only because I think he’s flat-out better but especially because it will be in front of a limited audience. That’s just the shitty luck boxing has created for itself. Prediction: Crawford TKO 11 Postol
Carlos Acevedo (UCNLive/The CruelestSport.com)
For the first time, since outpointing Ricky Burns in Scotland over two years ago, Terence Crawford faces a legitimate test when he squares off against Viktor Postol on a risky pay-per-view broadcast from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the few pick-‘em matchups to materialize in a forgettable 2016, Crawford-Postol may leave Top Rank Promotions in the red for the second time in just a few months but its merits as a significant prizefight are irrefutable.
Because of his unexpected, one-punch short-circuiting of Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse last year, Postol has a solid claim to being a top-tier junior welterweight. Even so, his record has been built largely over a collection of clubfighters and journeymen, with Selcuk Aydin and Hank Lundy being the only exceptions. Like many contemporary pros, Postol has a reputation that hinges on a single “W” that stands out on his ledger like a neon sign in a cemetery.
Cautious and calculating, Postol is a stand-up boxer who works behind a busy jab and counters judiciously when he sees an opening. At his best at long range, Postol will look to drop straight rights over the top from time to time and wait for opportunities to catch Crawford coming in.
Despite shortfalls in height and reach, the talented Crawford has the speed, reflexes and movement to nullify Postol from a distance. More important, perhaps, is his ability to improvise in the ring. While Postol can be somewhat mechanical, the switch-hitting Crawford can be dynamic when he hits his stride during the mid-rounds. This is an edge that Postol will try to neutralize by mauling in close. But trying to shut Crawford down with clinches and elbows will keep Postol, never the busiest fighter to begin with, from getting his own offense in gear.
Even now, after 28 fights, years of the pound-for-pound treatment and a pair of Alphabet Group titles, we are no closer to knowing how Crawford will perform against world-class opposition. Tonight will not catapult him into stardom – not enough witnesses will be on hand, live or via satellite, for that to happen – but it will solidify a reputation that has, so far, exceeded his accomplishments.
Look for Crawford to outwork and outmaneuver Postol en route to a unanimous decision.
John Lepak (UCNLive)
Despite picking up a couple solid victories and overcoming some adversity to date, Postol has never faced anyone like Crawford under the bright lights! Crawford is the complete package, in my book. He is relaxed, precise and consistent. Providing there is no undisclosed injury or anything disrupting him mentally, I look for Crawford to turn up the heat on the Ukrainian “Iceman” early, break him down and put him away inside the distance.
Bill Tibbs (UCNLive)
I like this fight for obvious reasons: Two undefeated fighters risking their belts. I think Freddie Roach will have a great game plan for Postol who, style-wise, isn’t an easy guy. But Terence Crawford is a very good fighter who seems to be able to adjust to any style and make changes as the fight unfolds. I think his counter-punching will play a big part. Right now I’m seeing Crawford in a decision win. I think Postol will be competitive and his stock won’t drop in the division. I’m looking forward to a good fight.
Coyote Duran (UCNLive/RingTV.com/CoyoteDuran.com)
I’ve been excited about this fight for quite awhile, simply because we have a bout pitting the best at junior welterweight against one another. And yeah, I’m gonna shill up some shit right here by saying the winner will also be rewarded THE RING magazine belt (and I DO dig that belt) along with the WBC and WBO belts that are up for grabs. Viktor Postol is the naturally bigger guy who considerably stepped up his game when beating the man he faced for the then-vacant WBC title – a cat on whom I had been high for years – Lucas Matthysse. But the manner in which “Iceman” had done so was so pronounced due to the combination of hunger and following his coach Freddie Roach’s game plan. Also, one has to factor in the unshakable intangibles for Terence Crawford i.e. a recent scrape with the law, losing his luggage (which contained his training gear) a few days ago. Those things might be relatively minor in the larger span but they can still stick around like gum on the sole of a fine cowboy boot. Hell, even Freddie Roach posted a $1,000 bet with a kickback on nine large, should his charge score a stoppage win. Hey, if you can’t bet on your guy, who can you bet on, right? I’m going with Roach on this one, albeit a victory for Postol via split decision. Then again, I could be wrong. I also thought singer Gary Cherone was gonna be a lifer when he joined Van Halen in 1996. I still say “Van Halen III” kicked mucho ass.
Please watch our “10 Count” episode on Crawford-Postol: