By Jake Donovan
A disturbingly acceptable trend in boxing is the ritual fighters go through in the days preceding the final weigh-in before a big fight. With the ability to weigh in 30 hours before the actual fight itself, the only time a fighter actually makes weight are the few seconds spent on the official scale.
There reached a point when it looked like Terence Crawford was in danger of having to abandon his lightweight title even before his eventual win over Raymundo Beltran last November. The unbeaten boxer from Omaha, Neb. struggled mightily to shed additional weight from his already lean and muscular frame, with the eerie sequence well-documented in his HBO-televised “2 Days” special.
“I don’t know what it was, but my weight wasn’t coming down like it normally do,” admits Crawford (25-0, 17KOs), who knew that - win or lose - he was done at lightweight and that it was on to the junior welterweight division. The reigning Fighter of the Year is set for his return to the 140 lb. division, as he faces Top 10 contender Thomas Dulorme this weekend in Arlington, Texas.
The HBO-televised bout will be contended for a vacant 140 lb. title, though Crawford ironically feels like he could have defended his lightweight title one more time given the training camp he’s enjoyed.
“It would have been easier to make weight for this fight than it was for the Beltran fight,” claims Crawford, whose last fight at 140 lbs. was HBO debut, outpointing Breidis Prescott more than two years ago.
Five straight wins at lightweight have followed, although the struggles to make weight for both Beltran and Gamboa were a clear indication that a move up the scales was in his best interest. Perhaps the pressure of not having to make the lower weight for this fight allowed his body to properly adjust, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for an intention to return to lightweight anytime soon.
“I could in a sense, but I don’t think it would’ve been the best move,” Crawford says of the possibility of having defended his lightweight crown one last time. “I felt like that was the right time to move up. I struggled hard to make weight for that fight (versus Beltran).”
The clash in Texas is being packaged by HBO via split-site feed with another fight in the 140 lb. division. On the same telecast, Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov will throw down in Verona, New York. Both bouts will come just one week after World 140 lb. champion Danny Garcia squeaked past Lamont Peterson in their over-the-limit catchweight fight in Brooklyn.
Residing seven pounds north is the most lucrative division in the sport, with the welterweight division headlined by Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, the two biggest stars in the sport. There are plenty of other attractive offers, including the likes of Tim Bradley, Keith Thurman, Kell Brook and Juan Manuel Marquez (at least until he retires) among several others.
There will be plenty to ponder in the future, with a win on Saturday. For now, Crawford merely wants to fully invest in what he can do at his current weight class.
“Right now my main focus is on 140. I haven’t even thought about moving up to 147,” claims Crawford. “I just moved up. My focus is on being the best fighter in the 140 lb. division.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox