y Jake Donovan
Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford are universally regarded as the best two super lightweights on the planet, though their exact order is open to debate.
At least until July 23.
A deal is in place for the pair of unbeaten 140-pound titlists to collide in a title unification bout on that date in Las Vegas, with the winner to gain recognition as the World (lineal) super lightweight champion.
Top Rank officials confirmed the news to BoxingScene.com on Monday evening. USA Today’s Mike Coppinger was first to report the updated status of a bout that has been discussed for months and hotly pursued for the past several weeks.
Minor details remain before final contracts are signed. Once pen hits paper, the bout will headline a summertime show to air live on HBO Pay-Per-View.
As for the main event, it’s a bout that couldn’t come soon enough for both contestants.
Crawford (28-0, 20KOs) and his team have always been less concerned about landing a specific opponent, with the fighting pride of Omaha, Neb. squarely fixated on establishing a level of in-ring dominance to separate himself from the rest of the field.
To a certain extent, Postol (28-0, 12KOs) carries himself in a similar manner, although by admission this is a fight that has been on the Ukrainian’s mind for quite some time.
“Viktor wanted this fight even before he wound up facing Lucas Matthysse,” Vadim Kornilov, Postol’s manager told BoxingScene.com. “He thinks this is a very good fight for him.”
Postol emerged as a leading contender in 2014, only to have to play the waiting game while then-World super lightweight champion Danny Garcia was steered in a different direction. The unbeaten boxer from Philadelphia was a unified titlist at the time of his career-best victory, coming up aces in his World championship winning effort over Matthysse in their Sept. ’13 clash in Las Vegas.
The feat was a high point, but followed up by an uneven performance versus Mauricio Herrera in March ’14, followed by non-title wins in catchweight bouts versus Rod Salka, Lamont Peterson and Paul Malignaggi before permanently moving up to welterweight, becoming a two-division champ with a vacant title win over Robert Guerrero earlier this year.
His move up the scales created a vacancy at super lightweight, leaving Postol and Matthysse to vie for the title Garcia left behind. Postol upset the odds in thoroughly outboxing the Argentine slugger before breaking him down and stopping him in 10 rounds last October.
The “Iceman” has since been put on ice, failing to secure an interim bout before landing the assignment versus Crawford, who has since emerged as a rising star in the sport.
The unbeaten switch-hitter rose to prominence in 2014, capturing a lightweight title with a road win over Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland. From there came the opening to his star potential, putting his hometown on the boxing map. His June ’14 war with Yuriorkis Gamboa marked the first time ever that HBO brought its cameras to Omaha for a boxing telecast, with Crawford prevailing via 9th round stoppage in front of a sold-out CenturyLink Center.
He followed suit with a second-consecutive box office blockbuster, packing the house for a 12-round win over Raymundo Beltran in Nov. ’14, establishing lightweight championship lineage in capping a Fighter of the Year-award winning campaign.
The bout was his last at the weight, moving up in weight where he has since been a knockout every time out. Crawford is 3-0 (3KOs) in title fights at 140-pounds, beginning with a 6th round stoppage of Thomas Dulorme last April, followed by a 10-round drubbing of Dierry Jean in his homecoming last October.
Crawford’s latest knockout came in February, stopping Hank Lundy in five rounds in his New York City debut. Depending on whom you ask, there may or may not have existed the potential for a Crawford-Postol clash to take place on that particular date.
Regardless, what happened in the past is left there as boxing fans can look forward to a future clash between the sport’s best two super lightweights.
“We’re still finalizing some details, but Viktor is really looking forward to meeting Terence Crawford in the ring,” noted Kornilov. “It’s just some smaller details but as far as we’re concerned, we’ve agreed to this fight.”
A press conference to formally announce the event has been scheduled for May 10 in the greater Los Angeles area. By then, event handlers expect all lingering details to be buttoned up and with elements of the undercard also revealed.
Among the potential supporting cast candidates are recently crowned super middleweight titlist Gilberto Ramirez and unbeaten featherweight contender Oscar Valdez, both of whom came up big on the April 9 PPV show topped by Manny Pacquiao’s 12-round win over Timothy Bradley Jr. in their welterweight rubber match.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow him on his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2