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Underdog Hank Lundy talking tough for bout against champ Terence Crawford

WBO 140-pound champion Terence Crawford and challenger Hank Lundy talk tough at the final news conference before Saturday's fight at MSG, live on HBO at 10 p.m. ET. Feb. 27.

“Hammerin’ ” Hank Lundy admits he’s a “B side” fighter, but he’s been on his “A game” when it comes to hyping his long- shot challenge to WBO super lightweight champion Terence Crawford in an HBO show Saturday night in the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) was a finalist in the sweepstakes to be the opponent for Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring in April, but he lost out to Timothy Bradley, who will be fighting Pacquiao for the third time. That left Crawford in search of an opponent, and after a series of turndowns from WBC champion Viktor Postol and former champions Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov, he settled on the journeyman Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs).

On paper, it’s not a matchup that stirs the imagination since Lundy has lost four of his past eight bouts, including losses to Thomas Dulorme and Raymundo Beltran, who were beaten handily by Crawford. But Lundy was awarded four rounds by every judge in a losing decision against Postol three years ago in Ukraine, and he brings a lot of heart to the task.

Lundy said Postol is better than Crawford, and he threw in Dannie Williams and Richard Abril, two guys he beat, for good measure. Assessing Crawford, Lundy said, “I’ve been watching him ever since he came on the scene at 135, and nothing impressed me. Now, he’s going to have a guy in front of him that can do all the things he can do. It’s going to be a big mistake on his part.

“I answer the call and put on a good show and put my heart on the line. I went to [Ukraine] to fight Mr. Postol. On Saturday night, there is going to be something special going on in that ring at the Garden.”

Comparing Crawford to Postol, Lundy added, “I really think Viktor is the better technician, to tell you the truth. Crawford gets hit from both sides. He gets hit a lot.”

Asked to explain all the losses he’s absorbed in the past few years, Lundy maintained that he was “robbed” on a couple of occasions, including the Dulorme bout. “What I say about me being a B-side fighter, you are not going to get the decision that you should get.”

As a result, Lundy vows to “push the envelope” in terms of being aggressive against Crawford, and he vowed the champion from Omaha, Nebraska, will “have to knock me out to win.”

All of this bluster from Lundy might be a blessing for Crawford, who admitted his disappointment over not getting the mega-fight against Pacquiao, who considered coming down from welterweight to 140. Crawford can look forward to making his Garden debut, and that’s a positive step in helping increase his name recognition, but he must wait before he can take a step up in class against Pacquiao or the other champs at 140.

“I wouldn’t say it was a letdown, but I wouldn’t say it was exciting,” Crawford said of the Lundy matchup. “When they told me the names [of possible opponents] and then they told me Lundy — he and I had been going back and forth on Twitter for a long time. Now, I just want to shut him up.”

Taking a peek down the road, Crawford said he would love a unification bout against Postol, but for now, he’s focused on the mundane task in front of him. Lundy’s bold words are motivation enough.

“At the end of the day, we are going to still have to fight,” Crawford said, “and he has to prove he’s better than me. And that’s how the story will end.”

With a bang, he meant, followed by a whimper.

New York Sports