By Keith Idec
Julius Indongo’s height advantage over Terence Crawford was quite noticeable Friday afternoon.
Namibia’s Indongo stands 5-feet-10½, which makes him tall for the 140-pound division. The undefeated southpaw is 2½ inches taller than Crawford, who’s still heavily favored to win their rare full championship unification fight Saturday night in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Indongo, 34, and Crawford, 29, both made weight Friday afternoon for their scheduled 12-round fight.
Crawford weighed in at 139 pounds. Indongo got on the Nebraska State Athletic Commission’s scale at 140 pounds.
Once they got off the scale, Crawford and Indongo engaged in an unusually long staredown on the stage and had to be separated after their foreheads touched for several seconds.
ESPN will televise the bout between Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs), of nearby Omaha, and Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs) as the main event of a tripleheader from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The winner will become boxing’s first fully unified champion in any division since Jermain Taylor held the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles after beating Bernard Hopkins in July 2005.
Crawford owns the WBC and WBO 140-pound titles. Indongo holds the IBF and WBA championships, thanks to back-to-back victories over Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky (26-1, 23 KOs) – a one-punch, 40-second knockout December 3 in Moscow – and Scotland’s Ricky Burns (41-6-1, 14 KOs), a 12-round, unanimous-decision win April 15 in Glasgow.
Light heavyweights Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Craig Baker, who’ll square off in the co-featured fight Saturday night, also made weight Friday.
Gvozdyk (13-0, 11 KOs), a former Ukrainian Olympian who resides in Oxnard, California, weighed 174.4 pounds, just under the light heavyweight limit of 175. Baker (17-1, 13 KOs), of Baytown, Texas, weighed 174.6 pounds.
Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (2-0, 1 KO) also made weight Friday for his third professional fight, which ESPN also will televise.
The 20-year-old Newark, New Jersey, native weighed in at 126.2 pounds for his six-round featherweight fight against David Michael Paz. Argentina’s Paz (4-3-1) officially weighed 125.6 pounds.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.