Cody Crowley expects to return to the ring sometime in November.
The Canadian southpaw’s opponent hasn’t been chosen, but Crowley considers Eimantas Stanionis a realistic target. The 147-pound contender immediately identified the unbeaten WBA world welterweight champion as his preferred opponent during a recent appearance on “The PBC Podcast.”
“I would love to fight Stanionis,” Crowley told co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal. “That’s a fight that is basically tailor-made for me, you know, to go out there and showcase. This guy comes forward. He’s punching, he’s got power and I think it is just gonna be exciting fireworks. And I’m gonna go in there and show to the world who Cody Crowley is.”
Beating Stanionis also would give Crowley leverage in his pursuit of legitimate welterweight titles. The 29-year-old Crowley is ranked sixth by the WBO, eighth by the WBC and 10th by the IBF, but owning the WBA’s secondary 147-pound crown would better position Crowley for a fight with whoever wins the probable showdown between IBF/WBA/WBC champ Errol Spence Jr. and WBO champ Terence Crawford or to fight for a vacant championship if the Crawford-Spence winner were to relinquish his titles to move up to the 154-pound division.
“That will give me a mandatory, I hope so, a mandatory spot next up,” Crowley said in reference to facing Stanionis. “He does have a WBA, I believe it’s a interim title. I’m not too sure. But that’s who I want right now because playing these rankings games just doesn’t seem to work. So, I get that fight, I get a title and I lock myself into a position where now I’m mandatory to get the fights that Cody Crowley deserves to get.”
Crowley isn’t ranked among the WBA’s top 15 welterweight contenders. Like Stanionis, though, he is affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
If he gets a shot at Stanionis’ title, Crowley realizes that the hard-hitting Lithuanian will be dangerous, particularly early in their fight.
“He can punch,” Crowley said. “He’s strong. I give him all the credit in the world, but I believe I’m just on a totally different level. You seen what happens after round four, five – he starts getting slower. I start getting faster. I start getting stronger. He can punch. I can take a punch. I don’t see anything there that I can’t handle. And he looks like a great opponent for me to go out there and showcase my skills [against] and put on a great show for the boxing world.”
Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs, 1 NC), a 2016 Olympian, out-worked Russia’s Radzhab Butaev (14-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC) and won his WBA belt by split decision April 16 in Arlington, Texas. The 27-year-old Stanionis beat Butaev by wide distances on two scorecards (117-110, 116-111, 113-114) on the Spence-Yordenis Ugas undercard at AT&T Stadium.
Later that night, Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs) dropped Josesito Lopez (38-9, 21 KOs, 1 NC) in the seventh round and easily out-pointed the hard-hitting veteran unanimously in their 10-rounder. In his previous appearance, Crowley got off the canvas from a second-round knockdown and out-boxed then-unbeaten Uzbekistan native Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (18-1, 10 KOs) on his way to a 10-round, unanimous decision win last December 11 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.