By Keith Idec
Terence Crawford won the 2018 “Fighter of the Year” award at the ESPYs on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
The unbeaten WBO welterweight champion won the award over WBO lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko and UFC fighters Rose Namajunas and Georges St-Pierre. Crawford received his award at ESPN’s 26th annual awards show, which was televised live by ABC from the Microsoft Theater.
Top Rank, Crawford’s promoter, announced the three-division champion won the award through its Twitter account Wednesday night. Top Rank and ESPN are partners in a deal through which Bob Arum’s company provides content exclusively for television’s biggest sports cable network.
Since the previous ESPYs were awarded last July, the 30-year-old Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) produced a pair of dominant victories.
The Omaha, Nebraska, native demolished Namibia’s Julius Indongo in their 140-pound title unification fight August 19 in nearby Lincoln. Crawford floored the previously unbeaten Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) twice on his way to a third-round knockout at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Crawford’s win made him boxing’s undisputed 140-pound champion and the sport’s first fully unified champion in any division since Jermain Taylor owned the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles after defeating Bernard Hopkins by split decision in July 2005. He gave up his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles following his victory over Indongo to move up to the welterweight division.
Crawford made an dominant debut at 147 pounds as well. He easily handled Australia’s Jeff Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) on his way to winning by ninth-round technical knockout June 9 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Arum has said Crawford will return October 13 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha. Phoenix’s Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs) and Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas (20-0, 16 KOs) are two of Crawford’s options for his first welterweight title defense.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.