WBO super lightweight champion Terence "Bud" Crawford (29-0) proved he deserves to be considered one of boxing's best fighters Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Crawford put on a dominant performance, defeating WBC champion Viktor Postol (28-1) via unanimous decision to unify the 140-pound titles.
HBO Boxing shared the official scorecards:
.@budcrawford402 defeats @IcemanPostol 118-107, 118-107, 117-108 by unanimous decision. #CrawfordPostol2016-7-24 04:02:37
This was a fight fan's matchup between two undefeated champions in their primes. Neither man has a household name, but those in the know can vouch for their skills.
Postol got off to a strong start, but Crawford seized control in the fifth round, knocking down Postol twice in the frame with stinging left hands. Prior to the knockdowns, the 32-year-old had bounce in his step, and his posturing was that of a man who believed he could win.
Once he was dropped, he looked out of sorts.
As Postol's confidence plummeted, Crawford's surged. He taunted and baited his opponent. When Postol committed, Crawford landed hard shots while entertaining the crowd.
At one point, it looked as though Crawford would secure a signature performance. Instead, Postol maintained enough offense to keep Crawford honest.
Undisputed Champion Network's Steve Kim felt Crawford was smart not to press the action:
Back to Steve Kim @steveucnlive
That was one of those nights for Crawford where you just win tonight, look good in the next one.... #boxing #CrawfordPostol2016-7-24 04:01:21
To Postol's credit, he heeded trainer Freddie Roach's advice and attempted to turn up the heat in the championship rounds. He couldn't secure the knockout he needed, but his late effort prevented Crawford from stopping him.
Still, Crawford could have big things on the horizon.
During the post-fight interview, HBO Boxing's Max Kellerman asked him whether he could be Manny Pacquiao's next opponent.
The 28-year-old stayed true to his laid-back personality and said that decision is up to his managers, per the HBO pay-per-view broadcast.
However, a date with the Filipino legend would not only deliver Crawford a chance to fight an icon in the sport, but it would also bring a huge payday.
Perhaps Crawford already knows what's next, and he just wasn't at liberty to share his immediate plans. In any case, there's no doubting his excellence in the ring.
Even if Pacquiao isn't next on his agenda, Crawford has earned the boxing community's attention.