Born on September 28, 1987 in North Omaha, Nebraska, Terence Crawford has been successful as both an amateur and a professional boxer. Some of his most impressive moments as an amateur were his gold medal victories at the 2006 National PAL Championships, the 2006 Blue & Gold National Championships and the 2007 U.S. Pan American Games Box-Offs, all of which were at 132 pounds.
At 20 years of age, Crawford had his first professional fight on March 14, 2008 against Brian Cummings, who was 2-0 at the time. It didn’t take him long to make his mark, as he starched his opponent with a brutal first-round KO. His next bout resulted in another first-round stoppage, this time against Filiberto Nieto. He proceeded to pick up four-round unanimous decision wins over Damon Antoine and Aaron Anderson, and then closed out his 2008 with a second-round TKO over Michael Williams.
After fighting five times in 2008, he would remain just as active in 2009, having another five fights. He started off his year with a unanimous decision victory over Travis Hartman. From there on out, it was all stoppages for the rest of the year. He knocked out Lucas Rodas in one round on March 21, 2009, just two weeks after his unanimous decision over Hartman. He then took a few weeks off before stopping Miguel Delgado by way of third-round TKO on May 2, 2009. On October 31, 2009 he scored a first-round TKO over Steve Marquez, and on December 19, 2009 he beat down Corey Sommerville in two rounds for a TKO.
Terence Crawford certainly wasn’t fighting the highest quality opponents. Like most fights, early in his career the bulk of his matches were against subpar competition, consisting mostly of journeyman fighters with poor records. However, he was doing his job by defeating them in dominant fashion, and his abilities were apparent to everyone watching. He had sharp technical skills, both offensively and defensively, so he was capable of hitting without being hit. He had considerable punching power for a fighter in a lighter weight class, and he was able to switch from orthodox to southpaw at any time. And unlike most fighters who switch hit, he actually did it effectively.
He started facing better competition around 2011, including Anthony Mora, a 15-6 fighter who was the first of Crawford’s opponents to have a winning record since back in his debut against Cummings. It didn’t matter, as he took out Mora in just one round for the KO. His next fight, against Derrick Campos didn’t take him much longer, as he notched a round-two TKO. While he was now facing fighters with winning records, he was having no trouble dispatching them either, and most of his wins were still be stoppage.
After running his record up to an impressive 20-0, he got his first title shot for the WBO-NABO lightweight belt, with the fight taking place on June 15, 2013 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. His opponent was the experienced and skilled Alejandra Sanabria, but that experience and skill proved not to matter. He put Sanabria down in the sixth round to earn a TKO victory. His opponent, who had been 34-1-1, stopped fighting after the loss.
His next opponent was the undefeated Andrey Klimov on October 5, 2013. He ensured that Klimov didn’t stay undefeated, cruising to a 12-round unanimous decision victory. He then went over to Glasgow, Scotland to take on the British fighter Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title. He proved to be too much for the tough-as-nails Burns, landing hard shots on him throughout the fight to earn another 12-round unanimous decision.
He went back to the United States for his next fight, a title defense against Yuriorkis Gamboa, who he knocked out in the ninth round. On November 29, 2014 he fought against Raymundo Beltran and won a unanimous decision to add The Ring and lineal lightweight titles to his collection. Satisfied with his achievements, he decided to make the jump up to light welterweight.
He got a title shot in his first fight in his new division, taking on Thomas Dulorme on April 18, 2015 for the WBO light welterweight belt. Controlling the fight from the very beginning, he ended up taking over completely in the sixth round, scoring three knockdowns to eventually persuade the referee to stop the fight.
Terence Crawford defended that belt against 29-1 Dierry Jean, and he put on a spectacular show, getting better as the fight went on. Over the last three rounds of the fight, he landed 59 punches to only nine for his opponent, who he eventually stopped by TKO in the 10th round. This earned him a chance to perform in front of a huge crowd at the Theater of Madison Square Garden, when he fought Hank Lundy there on February 27, 2016. It was another electrifying performance, and he ended up taking it by a fifth-round TKO.
While that performance was highly impressive, it set up an even bigger opportunity for him – a title unifier against Viktor Postol at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 23, 2016. It was both fighters’ first time at that arena, and the match had the WBO, WBC, The Ring and lineal light welterweight titles on the line. Crawford stepped up his performance against his worthy opponent, knocking down Postol twice in round five. From there, he cruised to a dominant unanimous decision after 12 rounds, with the scorecards reading 118-107, 118-107 and 117-108.
He finished 2016 with a bang by defending all his light welterweight titles on December 10, 2016 against John Molina Jr. Starting off the fight by sticking and moving against an opponent who clearly wasn’t in his best shape, he then turned it up in the eighth round, throwing a barrage of brutal punches. He put an exclamation point on his final combination of the night by throwing three right hands in a row, at which point the referee had seen enough and jumped in to save Molina Jr, resulting in a TKO.