By David P. Greisman
ORLANDO, Fla. — The boos that came in throughout so much of Terence Crawford’s win over Andrey Klimov weren’t just because Crawford was the first fighter of the night not to be from Florida or of Puerto Rican heritage, and they weren’t just because Crawford was boxing instead of brawling.
Rather, it was that Klimov refused to exchange, and Crawford refused to turn up his volume despite his opponent’s passivity. Instead, Crawford stuck to his game plan, boxing well, pressing the action but never working to get Klimov out of the ring.
The first nine rounds of the bout stuck to this theme. The 10th round finally picked up the pace, with Klimov coming forward and both men exchanging. The only consolation was that this fight was the fact that it wasn’t scheduled for 12. Crawford left with a shutout unanimous decision, winning 100-90 on all three judges’ scorecards.
“I went into the ring to get the job done,” Crawford said afterward. “I out-boxed him. I thought I was hurting him all the time. I was never in trouble. Sometimes I overthrew some shots.”
Crawford landed 192 of 604 shots, a 32 percent connect rate, going 88 of 365 with his jabs (24 percent) and 104 of 239 with his power punches (44 percent). Klimov’s activity was paltry, his accuracy poor. He was 57 of 290 in total (20 percent), including 29 of 159 jabs (18 percent) and 28 of 131 with power shots (21 percent).
You cannot win by landing fewer than six punches per round. And so he didn’t.
Klimov, who was coming off a June majority decision win over John Molina, suffered his first pro defeat. The 31-year-old from Klimovsk, Russia, is now 16-1 (8 KOs).
Crawford, 26, of Omaha, Neb., improves to 22-0 (16 KOs). This was his third straight fight on HBO, but far from his most memorable night on the network.
In March, Crawford had stepped in to face Breidis Prescott as a late replacement for the injured Khabib Allakhverdiev. Crawford excelled and impressed, taking a clear unanimous decision on the undercard to HBO’s broadcast of the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado rematch. Crawford was back on HBO in June, scoring a sixth-round stoppage of Alejandro Sanabria.
He’ll need a much more entertaining performance in his next time out. And perhaps he’ll have an opponent who will bring that performance out of him.