DALLAS — Terence “Bud” Crawford impressed again. And he now has a title to show for his efforts.
The unbeaten Omahan recorded a sensational one-punch knockout of Alejandro Sanabria Saturday to claim the vacant North American Boxing Organization lightweight championship.
After controlling the first five rounds of the fight, Crawford caught Sanabria with a quick left hook in the opening moments of the sixth. Sanabria fell forward, landed on the top of his head and somersaulted to his back. It was the first punch Crawford threw in the round.
Sanabria got to his feet at the count of eight, but began to stumble backwards. Referee Laurence Cole stopped the bout, giving Crawford a technical knockout 17 seconds into the round.
“I’m always willing to make a statement, and I feel like I did that today,” Crawford told HBO after improving to 21-0 with 16 KOs while displaying a different skill-set than in his last victory.
Three months ago, the Omahan counterpunched with slick movement from a southpaw stance to beat proven junior welterweight contender Breidis Prescott in Las Vegas. Crawford was the aggressor Saturday at the American Airlines Center while fighting almost exclusively right-handed.
He pressed the action, which allowed Sanabria to land a pair of clean left hooks early in the second round. But Crawford took the punches and kept coming at the Mexican, breaking down Sanabria (34-2-1) with solid body work and crisp combination punching. In the third round, he landed a pair of lead right hands and followed with two left hooks to the top of his opponent’s head.
The unbeaten Crawford connected on almost 50 percent of his power shots (60 of 121) in the fight.
“I had to take what was given. I’d seen that he didn’t want to initiate, come to me, so I had to come to him,” he said. “I feel like I can get aggressive. I feel like I can box. I feel like I can do anything in the ring.”
Crawford is currently rated No. 5 by the World Boxing Organization and No. 4 by the International Boxing Federation. The NABO is a regional body of the WBO. Winning its belt puts Crawford a step closer to a world title shot against one of the four recognized champs in the lightweight division.