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Boxing preview: Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol

This Saturday night, Terence Crawford takes on Viktor Postol in one of this year's best boxing matches. Preview the action here.

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Saturday night, HBO presents a terrific boxing main event as Terence Crawford (28-0; 20 KO) takes on Viktor Postol (28-0; 12 KO). The fight is a 12 round Light Welterweight (140 lb.) fight. Ring Magazine has this as a battle between the division's #1 (Postol) and #2 (Crawford); they also list Crawford at #6 on their pound for pound list. HBO Boxing Crawford vs. Postol airs this Saturday, July 23 on PPV with a fight time of 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.

Boxing's glut of world titles can be very confusing to the average viewer, and so a "world title fight" or even a unification fight can often be meaningless. That is not so here. This is a true unification fight - a clash for Crawford's WBO title and Postol's WBC belt. It's also for the currently vacant Ring Magazine title - a belt the magazine created to truly capture who is the top dog in any given weight class. When that title is vacant, the way to win it is for the division's #1 and #2 to face off, and that's exactly what's happening here. Much of the pre-show talk has been about the decision to air this on PPV, but don't let that detract from this important fact - this is a great fight.

How do these two stack up?

Crawford: 28 years old | 5'8" | 70" reach | orthodox stance (switches)
Postol: 32 years old | 5'11" | 74" reach | orthodox stance

What have these two done recently?

Crawford: W - Hank Lundy (KO) | W - Dierry Jean (KO) | W - Thomas Dulorme (KO)
Postol: W - Lucas Matthysse (KO) | W - Jack Giuriceo (UD) |  W - Selcuk Aydin (KO)

How did these two get here?

Terence Crawford is one of boxing's hottest rising stars right now. He had a breakout year in 2014, highlighted by his Fight of the Year win over Yuriorkis Gamboa, and earning himself Fighter of the Year accolades on many lists. He was the undisputed #1 at Lightweight, and now in his 4th fight at 140 pounds looks to become the king of his second division. Crawford is a top 10 pound for pound fighter, who combines technical skill with a desire to get in there and get rough. He's become a bit of a KO monster as of late, with only one recent opponent making it to the end (the super tough Ray Beltran). That has made for some very exciting fights, but there's a bit of a question if it has also made Crawford a less defensively sound fighter - one too willing to exchange shots instead of apply his craft.

Viktor Postol was not a significant name fighter until last year. The Ukranian had some good scalps on his record, including Hank Lundy, but had fought almost exclusively in the Ukraine and had failed to make a notable mark in the minds of American fans. But last fall, he scored the win of his career, stopping the popular Lucas Matthysse in the 10th round in a great performance. That fight earned him the WBC title. Despite the KO of Matthysse (which was an accumulation KO, not a one punch stoppage), Postol is not as KO-oriented as Crawford, as his record shows. He is a smart fighter, which is aided by his work with Freddie Roach, and he can use his height and reach well to neutralize opponents.

What can fans expect?

This is something rare in boxing - a super close, very hard to predict fight. Both Crawford and Postol have shown indications of greatness, but neither man has really hit that very highest level yet. This could be the fight where one shows it - either one. I expect a tactical battle from both men, with Postol trying to use his reach and gameplan his way to victory. Crawford will not be able to open up as much as he likes, at least for awhile, but eventually, his power advantage should start hurting Postol enough to give him the edge down the stretch. Expect a close one here - and that's always reason for concern when boxing judges are concerned. Prediction: Crawford Dec

Why should you care?

The two undeniable best in the division battling. Yes it's on PPV, and yes, I can see why you might skip it because of that. But boxing throws a lot of garbage on PPV (Mayweather vs. Berto? Pacquiao vs. Algieri?) and this is not garbage - this is two terrific fighters, competing to see who is the man. I'm in.

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