WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) failed to get a “big” fight against other top 147 lbs boxers in 2019, so he’s going to end the year with a defense against mandatory challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs), who goes by the great nickname of “Mean Machine.” The Lithuanian hits hard but he’s shown unpolished skills and is coming off an ugly draw with Ray Robinson (no relation to “Sugar” Ray Robinson).
On paper, this fight is a mismatch, and the odds reflect as such. The odds from Pro Boxing Odds have Crawford at just above 16-to-1 to get the victory.
What is a much better fight at Madison Square Garden is the co-main event between IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) against rising star Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs). It’s a difficult fight to pick, and the odds are understandably closer, with Lopez favored at -222.
Commey has vicious knockout power that Lopez hasn’t really dealt with before, but Lopez at his best looks like a future star. He has power, athleticism, and quickness that should make this a very compelling matchup, with the winner expected to face Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2020.
Lastly, Michael Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs) was controversially eliminated from the 2016 Olympics by Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs). Those two will rematch in the professional ranks, and frankly Conlan should be able to take care of business this time around. The Irishman is the hefty fav.
Crawford vs. Mean Machine airs live on ESPN at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on Saturday, December 14th.