Terence Crawford moved up in class for challenges such as Saturday night.
He proved more than up to it.
Crawford captured the vacant WBO junior welterweight title with a spectacular six-round technical knockout of Thomas Dulorme at College Park Center on the campus of UT Arlington.
The end came quickly in the sixth, as a quick combination to Dulorme’s head dropped the Puerto Rican to the canvas seconds later.
Crawford (26-0, 18 KOs) proceeded to pound Dulorme in the corner leading to another knockdown and a standing eight count. It was academic from there, as a game Dulorme tried to continue only to be floored again shortly before the bout was called.
“I worked so hard in training camp,” Crawford said. “I was ready for anything he gave me tonight. It was just a matter of time. I feel so strong at this weight. I’ll fight anybody.”
Crawford relinquished his lightweight world title with an eye on bigger challenges and paydays.
Dulorme, the No. 2-ranked WBO contender who was riding a six-match winning streak, was step one. Crawford’s trainer said the Omaha, Neb., native followed the game plan to a tee.
“He did exactly what we wanted him to do,” Brian McIntyre said. “He did what we did in camp. We knew [Dulorme] was going to gas out. He came with everything he had.”
The fighters tested the waters cautiously in the first two rounds, with neither landing any punch of significance. Dulorme was the aggressor, as Crawford took a measured approach.
The action picked up from there. Dulorme briefly stunned Crawford in the middle of the ring in the third. That only seemed to wake up the 2014 Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter of the Year.
Crawford began to find his rhythm in fourth, smiling and taunting his foe late in the round. The end would come at the 1:51 mark of the sixth.
Crawford is off to New York to accept his Fighter of the Year award before attending the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2.
Halili’s streak ends
Weatherford welterweight Skender Halili (8-1) returned after a two-year layoff and lost for the first time in nine pro bouts, dropping a unanimous decision to San Antonio’s Benjamin Whitaker in eight rounds.
“I was hurting him with everything I landed, but I was sloppy,” Halili said. “I don’t want to use the layoff as an excuse. I was leaning in and I felt like I never felt before. That was my worst performance in five years.”
It also served as a wakeup call.
“From now on I’m going to give it my all,” he said. “I was too comfortable. That guy should have been out of there in the third or fourth. Mentally and my timing was off. I was trying to get him in one punch. It was me.”
Arlington fighter loses
Arlington’s Martinez Porter (3-4-4) fell by unanimous decision in a super middleweight fight to Anthony Barnes.