For as long as it takes for his next title shot to arrive—if ever again—Egidijus Kavaliauskas will have to live with the fact that he let a golden opportunity get away from him.

The two-time Olympian from Kaunas, Lithuania has spent all of 2020 reflecting on the lone loss of his career, a 9th round stoppage at the hands of unbeaten welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (36-0, 27KOs). Kavaliauskas held his own early in their ESPN-televised title fight last December, even scoring a knockdown that was never officially scored. Crawford eventually seized control of the fight, twice dropping his unbeaten challenger before closing the show in round nine to defend his title for the third time. 

“The most problem was just staying focused,” Kavaliauskas admitted during a recent media conference call to otherwise discuss his upcoming clash with Quebec’s Mikael Zewski (34-1, 23KOs). “I’ve concentrated on staying mentally focused. In the middle of fight, around round seven when I got dropped, I forgot the game plan. I forgot defense and the things that make me good. I just wanted to go in there and blast him out.”

Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17KOs) takes an important first step back towards contention, as he faces the streaking Zewski this Saturday, live on ESPN+ from The Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada. Zewski has won eight straight since his lone career defeat, by his own definition choking in a May 2015 loss to Konstantin Ponomarev in their battle of unbeaten welterweights.

Meanwhile, remains in search of his first win in nearly two years. The 32-year old contender last had his arm raised in victory in a 3rd round stoppage of then-unbeaten Roberto Arriaza in November 2018, having since fought to a draw with Ray Robinson last March before the aforementioned defeat to Crawford.

Still, his self-confidence has not at all dulled. In fact, he enters this weekend of the belief that a long-elusive win puts him right back where he was just a few months ago. What could sweeten the pot even more would be a true shot at redemption.

“If I get the chance again to fight Terence Crawford, I would take it right away,” insists Kavaliauskas. “That fight with Terence Crawford gave me the motivation and confidence that he is beatable. Everybody is beatable.

“I liked how the fight started. I didn’t like how the fight ended but I liked how it started and how it was going. Everything was going to plan. Then in the middle of the fight, I lost my focus and game plan. That’s when I made mistakes. We’ve fixed those problems.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox