Tag Archives: crawford

Crawford Won’t Get Spence Until……


By Rich Mancuso

The boxing fan deserve this fight as do Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.. This is asking the improbable with these obstacles of duel promotions and televised streaming rights. However a fight of this magnitude to unify portions of the welterweight titles and determine the pound-for-pound best is bound to happen.

Because it’s boxing, and the promotional fight has picked up a bit, they have to come to an agreement. Or do they?

But for this to happen there also needs to be unity with the respective promoters and of course the personnel who would be involved with networks and rights to televise this potential mega fight.


Photo Credit: Terence Crawford Twitter Account

And with boxing, a fight like this can be done. Then again it becomes a waiting game of back-and-forth and someone giving in with a late punch in the final round. With Top Rank and the PBC, obviously the main principals to deliver this also falls into the lines of boxing politics.

Boxing politics has never stopped Bob Arum and Top Rank from delivering. When the back-and-forth of politics concludes the fight is delivered. It has to be done and will be because Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is as huge as Mayweather and Pacquiao was.

Perhaps this is bigger in magnitude because they are two champions, one with Top Rank and the other with the PBC, champions in the welterweight division. This elite division of welterweights that also generates the revenue and interest for boxing is shown in the ratings.

An this past Saturday, Terence Crawford, who could be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the business and Jose Benavidez Jr. established the highest rating boxing telecast on Broadcast and Cable television this year.

So now, it is time to deliver a fight that boxing needs. A fight that the boxing fan will demand. Delivering this fight, according to sources, and that back-and forth talk has commenced.

Moments after Crawford disposed Jose Benavidez Jr. in the final round Saturday night, his first defense of the WBO Welterweight title, Bob Arum was asked the questions. The fight boxing needs will have to wait but how long will it be?

Arum does have the leverage here because Crawford delivers the numbers for ESPN and the Hall of Fame promoter has the platform. Spence Jr. also has the numbers with Showtime and the PBC has that history of also delivering the numbers for the network seen in previous fights Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter opposing Danny Garcia for the Welterweight title.

In line with all of this, Tuesday Bob Arum made his pitch. Showtime, he said will soon be out of boxing just like HBO.

“So I’m predicting also that within the next year Showtime will be exiting from boxing because as great as they’ve been for boxing, they don’t belong,” he said. This was possibly the beginning of a bargaining point of view because Showtime is committed to continue their involvement with boxing, and the PBC continues to thrive with all the rumors to the contrary.

Arum is known to make some outrageous statements. This one, and only because he said Showtime is throwing more money into programming, does offer a line of truth. For the past few years it was HBO that lost the roster of fighters that put the network on top. But putting more of their budget into popular programs did boxing in for the network.

This is the Haves and Have Not of boxing. However, with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. in the picture, it is about having the best fight for the boxing fan. Showtime and the PBC are moving along and so is Bob Arum and his deal with ESPN.

Just a matter of time and the fight will happen. Arum, in the meantime will go back-and-forth but is looking at other opponents for his champion. Similar to Mayweather and Pacquiao and how long it took, at some point next year this fight will be a reality.

And because this is boxing, it only works this way.

Comment: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

More Columns

Terence Crawford is Special at Welterweight


By: Kirk Jackson

Terence “Bud” Crawford 34-0 (25 KO’s) successfully defended his WBO welterweight title over the weekend, stopping the Jose Benavidez 27-1 (18 KO’s) with a series of blistering right hands, to remain undefeated and on top of the pound-for-pound standings.
Heading into the fight, Benavidez questioned if Crawford was a special fighter. In spite of the overall-effective outcome and exhilarating knock-out finish, Crawford drew criticism from some observers watching the fight on ESPN.

Current WBA junior lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis is not shy when offering his opinion on fellow contemporaries nor is he bashful regarding his boxing abilities.

The criticism from Davis or other spectators is fine with Crawford. Doubt only serves as additional fuel for Crawford to sustain the level of excellence exhibited during his professional career. A level of excellence, leading to 34 victories, seven world titles across three weight divisions and the distinction as one of boxing’s best fighters contrary to the belief to some of his contemporaries.

Regarding Crawford’s recent performance, was it his best to date? No, but not a bad performance everything considered.

Benavidez lacks the mainstream notoriety, but he may actually be underrated. He is the youngest Golden Gloves champion at 16, sparred with Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley, Shane Mosley and Amir Khan – all world champions and all before he turned 18.

Predicting and comparing the fighters on paper, Crawford was regarded as the more skilled fighter with the superior resume heading into the match-up. Obviously Crawford is regarded as a Tier A fighter and many thought of Benavidez as a grade below.

However, Benavidez is the bigger fighter, larger man, standing slightly over 6’0” and having competed above the welterweight limit. A sentiment echoed by the Mayweather family is “Skills pay the bills,” but size matters in boxing.

There are legitimate questions surrounding Crawford’s size in the division. The bout against Benavidez was his second fight at 147 lbs., while his first was against much larger specimen Jeff Horn.

In the past Benavidez competed at 154 pounds. The size difference regarding height was obvious as Benavidez held a four-inch height advantage.

The characteristic a special fighter displays while faced with physical disadvantages is the ability to use the most important muscle, the brain. Crawford used his high boxing IQ and his physical advantages of hand and foot speed to offset the size disadvantage.

The physical part of Crawford’s excellence was changing levels, providing different looks with his lateral movement, occasionally switching stances, probing with his jab to measure and establish proper punching distance, properly positioning his lead right foot outside of Benavidez’s lead left foot and consistently delivering hard shots to the body. Crawford’s endurance was excellence as he never appeared tired.

The mental aspect of Crawford’s brilliance was the ability to adjust to whatever Benavidez threw at Crawford, along with maintaining discipline to fight the proper fight and not over commit on punches in spite of the emotional trash talk and hostility between camps.

One performance good or bad does not define a fighter, albeit this was a good performance from Bud.

Contrary to criticism from Davis, it’s hard to question Crawford’s greatness; especially as he has often drawn legit comparisons to Marvin Hagler and Pernell Whitaker respectively.

The question will be if Crawford can secure bigger fights against the elite names of the division. Names such as Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Errol Spence.

The problem often discussed in recent months is the varying networks and promoters for these fighters. Crawford is with Bob Arum under Top Rank Promotions finding on ESPN, while Thurman, Spence, Garcia or any other elite welterweight is with Al Haymon fighting across different networks.

Crawford wants these fights, Arum says he ready to make these fights, but that remains to be witnessed.

“Al Haymon and Bob could sit down and talk to each other about it,” Crawford explained. “That’s it. I want all them [welterweight champions]. I’ve been saying it. How bad do you want me to say something over and over and over. I said what I said and that’s it.”

If these fights manifest, we’ll find out if Crawford can utilize his unique abilities and emerge victorious once the dust settles.

More Columns

Crawford-Benavidez Jr. ESPN-Headlined Telecast Most Watched Boxing Event of 2018


By Jake Donovan

While critics of unbeaten pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford continue to demand better opposition, his fans continue to relish his every move in the ring.

Apparently, both sides are tuning in whenever he fights.

Crawford’s latest in-ring conquest—a 12th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Jose Benavidez Jr. last Saturday—produced a massive ratings win for ESPN, with the two-hour broadcast as a whole averaging 2.245 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The event—which aired live in front of a sold out crowd of more than 13,300 at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska—produced the second-most watched telecast of Top Rank’s boxing series on ESPN since returning to the network last July. Its debut—Jeff Horn’s controversial upset win over Manny Pacquiao—is the only show to outperform Saturday’s edition.

Even more impressive was the fact that it came on a crowded sports night that saw college football on ABC—a primetime matchup between Top 15 teams Wisconsin and Michigan (6.038 million viewers)—improve by more than 150% over the same slotted event one year ago. Crawford-Benavidez Jr. also competed against live coverage of Major League Baseball playoffs, which at 5.821 million viewers was within 10% of its lofty rating exactly 52 weeks ago.

The positioning of Saturday’s main event came with a strong college football lead-in of its own. Top-rated and defending champion Alabama’s rout of Missouri drew 3.758 million viewers in a game that ended early enough for ESPN to enjoy a rare on-time start for a primetime boxing event.

For Crawford, it’s more than a 230% increase from his previous ESPN primetime appearance, ironically in a far more significant bout. The undefeated switch hitter’s 3rd round knockout of Julius Indongo last August—which made him the first-ever four-belt champion in the history of the super lightweight division—averaged 965,000 viewers over the course of the telecast, with the bout itself averaging nearly 1.3 million viewers.

Specific ratings for each of Saturday’s two-bout telecast were not immediately available. The show also featured unbeaten featherweight Shakur Stevenson—a 2016 U.S. Olympian who earned the silver medal in the Rio Olympics—in a career-best 1st round knockout of Viorel Simion, who’d previously never been dropped or stopped.

According to an ESPN press release over the weekend, overnight ratings landed both legs of the doubleheader as the most watched boxing bouts of 2018. Crawford-Benavidez pulled in a healthy 1.8 overnight rating, slightly more than 80% above that of his pound-for-pound rival and promotional stablemate Vasyl Lomachenko, whose historic off-the-canvas knockout win over Jorge Linares this past May pulled a 1.0 overnight and just over 1 million viewers overall.

Saturday’s win marked the first successful defense of the welterweight title for Crawford (34-0, 25KOs), who won the belt in a 9th round stoppage of Horn this past June. That bout aired exclusively on ESPN+, a decision mandated by the ESPN brass that never seemed to sit well with Crawford and his team.

Ever the soldier, Crawford accepted the terms and ran through Horn in collecting a major title in his third weight class. His run as undisputed super lightweight champion was preceded by a 2014 Fighter of the Year-level campaign that bookended his stay as lightweight champion before moving up in weight.

The first defense of his welterweight title came with harsh pre-fight criticism, and for good reason. The 147-pound division is overflowing with top level talent, but Top Rank’s desire to keep the title defense in-house saw Crawford as high as a 33-1 favorite over Benavidez, a gifted amateur back in his day but who has managed to squander any positive momentum in the pro ranks.

Still, the previously unbeaten boxer from Phoenix, Ariz.—who held an interim title at 140 pounds—was praised for his brave return to the sport after being shot in his left leg in 2016. The 26-year old—whose younger brother David is a currently unbeaten super middleweight titlist—made his comeback earlier this year, a pre-Super Bowl event on ESPN in Corpus Christi, Texas for which Crawford was in attendance. Benavidez Jr. planted the seeds for a budding rivalry, getting into a heated exchange with Crawford and continuing the verbal onslaught throughout the year.

Benavidez Jr. appeared on the undercard of Crawford’s aforementioned win over Horn in Las Vegas this past June, scoring an 84-second knockout of previously unbeaten Frank Rojas. From there, the trash talk only increased, reaching a boiling point when the two landed in a brief violent eruption during Friday’s weigh-in.

To his credit, Benavidez Jr. gave a decent account of himself at least through the first half of Saturday’s main event, but was limited to taunting and absorbing over the final six rounds. Crawford finally decked his heated rival in the final minute of the fight, with an ensuing onslaught prompting referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the contest with just 18 seconds left.

The end result sparked a boisterous response from the partisan crowd on hand, which served as the largest attendance for any of Crawford’s five main events in this building and six overall title fights in his home state of Nebraska.

A hard-line stance is being taken by media members for Crawford’s 2019 campaign to include a mouthwatering showdown with fellow unbeaten welterweight titlist Errol Spence. Momentum for such a fight will only continue to build—much like Crawford’s fan base, as evidenced the numbers produced at the box office and in the ratings this past weekend.

More Headlines

Terence Crawford Answers Critics and Delivers Message with Thrilling Win


By Jake Donovan

On a Saturday where college football saw seven Top 25 teams all suffer shocking upsets—including four in the Top 10—boxing needed to do a lot better than simply go chalk.

As an unbeaten prizefighter whose home base is deep in football country, Terence Crawford had to understand that better than anyone else. It took more than 11 rounds for Nebraska’s one man pro sports franchise to deliver, but in the end Crawford gave the hometown fans in Omaha plenty to cheer about and sports outlets something better to write about than a routine title defense.

An explosive stoppage finish of Jose Benavidez Jr. with 18 seconds to go in their ESPN-televised headliner sent the sold-out crowd at CHI Health Center Omaha into a frenzy, a reaction par for the course whenever Crawford fights at home.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

That it nearly went the full 12-round distance would not have been a good look for the sport’s reigning pound-for-pound king, or for boxing in general.

It was already a rough day in the industry, with the second week of World Boxing Super Series Season Two offering a pair of unwatchable quarterfinal matchups from Russia and with ESPN’s headlining act coming with Crawford as a 33-1 favorite by the opening bell.

Rising featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson did his part to break from the norm, exploding in a 1st round knockout over a normally durable Viorel Simion, who’d never previously been dropped. It set the stage for Crawford, and for much of the night proved to be a tough act to follow.

Crawford was never in any real danger of losing, although Benavidez Jr.—who’d traded harsh words with the unbeaten champ all week and nearly blows at Friday’s weigh-in—made things far too interesting through the first six rounds. In fact, the unbeaten challenger from Phoenix was ahead one card after five rounds and just one point down on another.

Much of the pre-fight talk around the industry focused less on this matchup and more on when Crawford would start facing welterweights “on the other side of the street” like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia. To put it mildly, Crawford was expected to blow through Benavidez Jr.—who returned to the sport earlier this year after suffering a gun shot and came in to the bout with his right knee in a supporting brace—and send a message to the wolves starting to circle the corral.

The unbeaten switch-hitter finally began to pull away in the second half of the night, although still failing to manage any better than a solid boxing performance. It’s not enough when you are hailed as the best boxer in the world and defending against a perceived overmatched opponent.

Crawford sensed it as the bout wore on, perhaps never more than when his mother Debra shouted from ringside at the start of round 10 that he needed to end the fight. That moment wouldn’t come for another two rounds, and it even took for the 31-year old to ignore the theme of his corner’s instructions during the one-minute rest period, where he was told to play it safe and leave with the win—but to take his shot if he saw an opening.

The manner in which he fought the rounds suggested that Crawford wasn’t interested in waiting for an opening; he instead punched a hole through the wall.

After missing twice earlier in the round with right uppercuts, it was that very punch which functionally put an end to Benavidez’s brave stand. It produced the lone knockdown of the night, coming with less than a minute to go in the fight, but just enough time for Crawford to register his fight straight stoppage victory.

A flurry along the ropes left the normally elusive Benavidez Jr. out on his feet, leaving referee Celestine Ruiz no choice but to end the fight with 0:18 left on the clock.

Had Benavidez Jr. managed to bob and weave just long enough to hear the final bell, Crawford would’ve cruised to a landslide decision victory. He was up 107-102, 108-101 and an unacceptable 110-99 at the time of the stoppage, but on a night where—by his own admission—he had a hard time early on solving his opponent’s deceptively slick style.

Mind you, it’s not as if decision wins are commonplace for Crawford, who has now scored five straight stoppages and with nine of his 12 career title fights ending inside the distance. But going the full 12 rounds against a largely immobile opponent who’d never lived up to his full career promise wasn’t going to be good enough on this night.

It wasn’t going to be good enough for industry fans who continue to grow frustrated over the politics of the sport depriving the talent-rich welterweight division of the best fights.

It wasn’t going to be good enough in the eyes of the top PBC welterweights who—between lucrative network deals on Showtime and Fox prime—can continue to face each other, and now with former eight-division champ Manny Pacquiao sweetening the pot.

It certainly wasn’t going to be enough to sports fans in a crazed college football town are in dire need of a new hero, as the still winless Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-6) are off to their worst start in their 129-year history.

With that final offensive explosion, Crawford didn’t just do his job but showed off his ability to deviate from the norm. Serving as the hero to so many of those around him means everything, a feeling you can sense whenever he speaks to the outpouring of support he receives at home and every time he climbs the turnbuckle at fight’s end.

On a night when there was so much else to talk about in the sports world—the slew of college Football Top 25 upsets, Major League Baseball playoffs—Terence Crawford found a way in the end to once again keep boxing at the heart of discussion.

More Columns

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Crawford and Stevenson Deliver Scintillating Knockouts


By: William Holmes

The CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, the hometown of welterweight champion Terence Crawford, was the host cite for tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card.

The main event of the night was between Terrance Crawford (33-0) and Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0) for the WBO Welterweight Title.

But before the main event, undefeated former Olympian Shakur Stevenson (8-0) met Viorel Simion (21-2) in the junior lightweight division.

Stevenson, a southpaw, used a steady jab early in the first and was able to find his range early with his check right hook. Stevenson landed a crisp two punch combination that sent Simion down to the mat in the first half of the round. Simion got back to his feet but on wobbly legs, and Stevenson landed another combination on Simion who fell face forward again.

Simion got back to his feet again and had to try and withstand an onslaught from Stevenson. Stevenson landed another hard combination that ended with a hard left hook that sent Simion spinning to the ground again.

Simion arose on wobbly legs, and the referee waived off the fight as the round came to an end.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Shakur Stevenson wins by TKO at 3:00 of the opening round.

Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. were involved in a scuffle at the previous night’s weigh ins, and appeared to have some legitimate bad blood leading into the fight

Benavidez entered the ring first to a loud chorus of boos while Crawford had the support of the crowd behind him.

Both fighters came out in an orthodox stance with Benavidez finding some success early on walking Craword down behind his jab. Crawford switched to a southpaw stance before the end of the first.

Benavidez continued with his jab in the second round, but Crawford began to the target the body. Neither boxer took many risks in the second and could have been scored either way.

Crawford began to land his combination both to the body and head of Benavidez in the third round, but Benavidez’s straight right hand was finding it’s home in the fourth round and he briefly caught Crawford off balance as the round came to an end.

Crawford was landing from unique angles in the fifth but Benavidez was landing some stiff straight right hands in the sixth. Both of these rounds were close, though Benavidez looked like eh was beginning to tire.

Crawford had a strong seventh and eighth rounds as he was continuing to get hit less and less while landing at a progressively higher clip. Benavidez wasn’t able to come forward effectively and looked hampered by his right knee.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Crawford looked like he was close to knocking Benavidez down in the ninth round and had Benavidez’s back to the ropes in the tenth. Benavidez attempted to lure Crawford into an exchange in the tenth and eleventh rounds with his back to the ropes, but when they did exchange Crawford looked like landed the better and more accurate punches.

Benavidez needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout and pressed forward in an attempt to finish the bout, but he got hit with a vicious right uppercut that sent him crashing to the mat in a violent fashion.

Benavidez somehow got back to his feet, but was hit with several hard combinations before the referee jumped in to stop the fight and award Crawford the TKO victory.

Terrance Crawford wins by TKO at 2:42 of the 12th round.

More Headlines

Jose Benavidez Jr. Has No Intentions To Lose


By: Rich Mancuso

Jose Benavidez Jr. has seen adversity out of the ring and the challenge to take the WBO Welterweight title from Terence Crawford will not be easy. Perhaps to those that take rankings serious the top pound-for-pound fighter in the business is Terence Crawford.

Benavidez Jr. is focused on changing that thinking about Crawford. Top three fighter or number one, the challenger does not care. Saturday night at the CHI Health Center in Omaha Nebraska, regardless of rankings, Benavidez Jr. has no intentions of leaving Crawford’s hometown without the title.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

Bob Arum of Top Rank, the promoter with rights to Crawford, always says the best fights are being delivered to fans on the ESPN televised platform. There is no debate about what is being delivered here and this is one of those fights, and partly because Jose Benavidez presents the challenge.

There is the height and reach advantage of Benavidez. There is also the anticipation of Terence Crawford and facing the toughest challenge of his title reign in this elite division of welterweight champions.

Insiders at Top Rank, and when asked, well they are skeptical because they are aware that Benavidez Jr. will not be easy. Basically it has nothing to do with their champion. This is a fight that will present the biggest challenge to date for Terence Crawford.

“Now he has grown into a man,” Arum said about Benavidez Jr. The often troubled and talented fighter has grown with Top Rank and Arum took him in at the age of 16.

There have been ups and downs with a fighter that never looks for attention. But those at Top Rank knew about the troubled past and they took a chance. Saturday night two of the best will put their differences aside and for Top Rank it means good business. This fight will be the center of attention from all perspectives.

“Things happen in life, good and bad,” Benavidez Jr. said Thursday afternoon. “I don’t try to use that as an excuse or anything. I know what I have to do.”

A leg with stitches above his right knee, that still bothers him. He survived and fought back from a bullet wound two years ago and that incident is still not clear. The question is, will Jose Benavidez Jr. survive 12-rounds with Terence Crawford?

“The leg, I block it out,” he said. “I just focus 110 percent. I know what we have to do. We train to win, and that’s what I am going to keep doing.”

There is no talk about looking ahead. This is a determined and hungry fighter and just looking at Terence Crawford, though a win would change the scope of this welterweight division. In fact, Arum would not discuss the options for both fighters and the focus is all about Saturday night.

But there is that concern of animosity as Benavidez Jr. made this personal. There were harsh words exchanged the day before at final workouts, and of course there is that call for the challenge to Terence Crawford.

“I don’t think Crawford is as good as people say,” said Benavidez Jr. “He is decent and not great. I came here to knock him out in his hometown. He is in a bigger weight division now and we have a lot more firepower than we ever had.”

And the firepower was evident. Those in the gym, in and out of the Benavidez Jr. camp, they saw that aggression and power. It was something they have never seen from the undefeated challenger but in boxing believe what you hear because the fighter has to convince the believers in the ring.

Yes, Benavidez Jr. is undefeated, But the opponent is Terence Crawford who can also come with that firepower and slowly get what he wants.

“Terence is the best fighter in the world,” says Brian McIntyre the trainer and manager of Crawford. He also said about Benavidez Jr. “He came here to fight hard which is okay with us.”

So there was never that disrespect from Terence Crawford or his team. This is all about a championship and one of prestige with that welterweight division always the talk in boxing circles. But hearing words from Benavidez Jr. and you wonder is there respect on the other end?

Or is this another way to promote a fight that has caught the interest of many? Sounds like a confident fighter and with the aggression, but this all about a championship and determination to get it Saturday night.

“Everyone is sleeping and soon they’re going to wake up and I’m going to beat his ass Saturday night,” Benavidez Jr. said. The reality can be a win and more of the elite will be in line to unify the titles.

This has always been the goal for Jose Benavidez Jr. to be in the ring with the best and the opportunity awaits. That troubled past will always be there and all he has to do is look and feel the pain from that wound to the leg.

Now it is close to reality. One punch or a decision in his favor and the pain will briefly go away. The troubled past is personal but being a champion leads to more opportunity.

Comment: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

More Columns

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Preview: Stevenson vs. Simion, Benavidez vs. Crawford


By: William Holmes

Top Rank Promotions will promote a card featuring arguably their best pound for pound fighter, Terence Crawford, in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in the main event of an ESPN televised card.

Crawford will face fellow undefeated welterweight Jose Benavidez for Crawford’s WBO Welterweight title.

The co-main event of the night will be between former Olympian and high level prospect Shakur Stevenson and Viorel Simion in a junior lightweight bout.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

The undercard will feature several intriguing fights, including a junior middleweight bout between Carlos Adames and Josh Conley, ad junior welterweight bout between Mike Alvarado and Robbie Cannon, and a female junior lightweight bout between Mikaela Mayer and Vanessa Bradford.

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.

Shakur Stevenson (8-0) vs. Viorel Simion (21-2); Junior Lightweights

Shakur Stevenson is one of Top Rank’s most coveted prospects, and he was a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. On paper he’ll be facing the toughest test of his career, Viorel Simion, a former Olympic participant in the 2004 Summer games.

Stevenson is still very young and will be sixteen years younger than his 37 year old opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage.

Stevenson, a Newark, New Jersey native, has won three of his past five fights by stoppage and has never faced anyone with a losing record. He only has four stoppage wins on his resume, but has been very active since turning pro. He fought four times in 2017 and has already fought four times in 2018.

Simion, from Romania, has nine KO wins on his resume and isn’t known for his power. This Romanian boxer lost the two fights where he stepped up in competition, to Scott Quigg and Lee Selby. Simion has fought mainly in Eurpe and fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.

Stevenson has defeated the likes of Carlos Ruiz, Aelio Mesquita, Roxberg Patrick Riley, and Juan Tapia. He also went 2-0 n the World Series of Boxing.

Simion has defeated the likes of Andoni Gago, Alexander Miskirtchian, and Ryan Sermona. The few times he stepped up his level of competition he was soundly beat.

This is a bout that Stevenson should win comfortably, but Simion is a good experienced boxer to gauge where Stevenson currently is in his professional development.

Terence Crawford (33-0) vs. Jose Benavidez Jr.(27-0); WBO Welterweight Title

Terence Crawford will be stepping into the ring with a younger, taller, and longer undefeated challenger on Saturday.

Crawford is still in his prime, but Benavidez is five years younger than him. Benavidez will also have about a six inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage.

Crawford does appear to have an edge in power. He has stopped twenty four of his opponents, and seven of his past eight fights were stoppage victories. Benavidez only has eighteen stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by way of stoppage.

Both boxers had relatively successful amateur careers. Crawford was a former PAL National Champion while Benavidez was a former US National Golden Gloves Champion.

Both boxers have been fairly active in 2018 but Crawford has been the more active fighter of the two since 2016. Crawford fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and three times in 2016. Benavidez fought twice in 2018 and only once 2016.

Benavidez was also shot in 2016 and missed all of 2017 as a result.

Crawford has soundly beaten every man he has faced so far. He has beaten the likes of Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Hank Lundy, Dierry jean, Thomas Dulrome, Raymundo Beltran, Yoriorkis Gamboa, and Ricky Burns.

Benavidez does not have the professional resume of Crawford, but he has beaten some decent boxers. He has defeated the likes of Frank Rojas, Matthew Strode, Francisco Santana, Jorge Paez Jr., Mauricio Herrera, and Pavel Miranda.

However, his win against Herrera is disputed by many who thought Herrera deserved the decision in that bout.

This is a major, major step up in competition for Benavidez. Unfortunately for him, he has never faced anyone near the level of Terrance Crawford and it is this writer’s opinion that he will be in over his head on Saturday night.

More Headlines

Terence Crawford Readies for Homecoming Bout Against Jose Benavidez Jr.


Terence Crawford is excited to be back in Omaha, his beloved hometown and the site of many of his greatest fistic moments. The man nicknamed “Bud” will defend his WBO welterweight world title Saturday evening against Jose Benavidez Jr. at the CHI Health Center Omaha (formerly the CenturyLink Center), live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET. His four CHI Health Center outings have drawn nearly 45,000 fans, and another packed house is expected.

The long-simmering animosity between Crawford and Benavidez spilled over into Wednesday’s media day, with the pair and their respective teams exchanging verbal haymakers.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

The ESPN broadcast will also include 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist and top featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (8-0, 4 KOs) in a 10-rounder against the battle-tested Viorel Simion (21-2, 9 KOs).

The action begins on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET and features female boxing sensation Mikaela Mayer (7-0, 4 KOs) versus Vanessa Bradford (4-0-2, 0 KOs) for the vacant NABF super featherweight title, former 140-pound world champion Mike Alvarado (39-4, 27 KOs) against Robbie Cannon (16-13-3, 7 KOs), Omaha-born light heavyweight prospect Steve Nelson (11-0, 9 KOs) taking on Oscar Riojas (17-10-1, 6 KOs), and Carlos Adames (14-0, 11 KOs) battling Joshua Conley (14-2-1, 9 KOs) for the vacant NABF super welterweight title.

Terence “Bud” Crawford

On the beef between him and Benavidez

“It’s been real since day one, since the fight has been announced. It ain’t been nothing but real.”

“I’m just going to go out there and shut him up. That’s it. That’s all.”

On whether Benavidez deserves the title shot

“No. Not at all. But that ain’t the point. The point is we’re here now, and we’re fighting on Saturday. Come Saturday, all the talking will be out the window.”

On people asking about future opponents and not Benavidez

“I’m just gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing, and that’s winning the fights and looking spectacular each and every fight. Everything else will fall into place.”

“It’s part of the game, but I’m not worried about that. They do their thing, and I’ll do mine on Saturday.”

“Once he feels them punches going upside his head, I don’t even know if he’s going to want to stand there next to me.”

Jose Benavidez Jr.

“It’s time to show the world what I can do. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.”

“I am here. I am going to take over this city, and I am going to take his belt. I’m not scared.”

“I don’t see anything special in him. I don’t know why everyone hypes him up so much.”

Shakur Stevenson

On whether it’s a challenge to fight a late-notice opponent in Simion

“Honestly, no, because I come from the amateurs where I went into tournaments and didn’t know who I was fighting. I was fighting randoms, never seen them fight before, and then I get in the ring. I saw them across the ring, and I won. I don’t think it made a difference.”

On Simion as a fighter

“This is my toughest opponent as a pro. I never fought an opponent with this type of record. I’m coming here, as always, to put on a show.”

On fighting as ESPN co-feature

“I love fighting on ESPN. I love the fact that I get to fight on Bud’s undercard, and he’s the main event and I’m the co-main event. I’m ready to open the show.”

Mikaela Mayer

On moving down to 130 pounds

“I’m a lot stronger than ever while fighting at a lower weight. I’m coming into my own as an athlete.”

On adjusting to the pro game

“From my first fight to now, I see such a huge difference. There’s such a big difference between the amateurs and the pros. For each opponent, my team and I look at what they do best and how we can counter it.”

“I don’t feel any added pressure because this is what I wanted. I’m going to go in there and get the job done.”

Mike Alvarado

On returning after less than four months removed from his last fight

“Fighting {in Nebraska} the last time in 2017, I had a good knockout. I’m ready to do it again. From that point until now, I got a new trainer. I’ve been doing new things in training. For me to apply what I’ve been working on, I didn’t really have a chance before the last fight. It’s good. I needed some rounds. I had some inactivity.”

On fighting in front a raucous crowd Omaha

“It gives you more motivation, and I like the intensity. I’m happy to be on this stage again.”

Carlos Adames

“I am 100 percent recovered from my foot injury and ready to show the fans that I am the future of the 154-pound division. It’s a big honor to fight on this card, and I want to give the fans in Omaha and watching on ESPN+ an incredible show.”

“Conley is a tough guy, but I am 100 percent prepared. I feel comfortable at 154 pounds. My power is going to be too much for him.”

Crawford-Benavidez and Stevenson-Simion will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with undercards streaming live in the United States at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

Remaining tickets to this world championship event, priced at $178, $103, $63, and $38, not including applicable fees, can be purchased at the CHI Health Center Omaha box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.

Use the hashtag #CrawfordBenavidez to join the conversation on social media.

More Headlines

Terence Crawford Conference Call Transcript


Evan Korn: Live from Omaha at the CHI Health Center on Oct. 13, Terence “Bud” Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight world title against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs).

Crawford vs. Benavidez will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with the entire undercard streaming live in the United States at 7:00 p.m. ET. The weigh-in will be broadcast Oct. 12, live on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Nov. 29, 2014, Omaha,Nebraska — WBO Lightweight champion Terence Crawford ,”the Pride of Omaha” wins a 12-round unanimous decision over Ray Beltran of Mexico Saturday, November 29, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha,NE. — Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank (no other credit allowed) copyright 2014

To kick things off, I would like to welcome the President of Top Rank, Todd duBoef.

Todd duBoef: It’s great to get everybody on the call, and obviously, to see the return of Terence coming back after dominating Jeff Horn. Benavidez also performed very well that night against Frank Rojas, so I think everything is really dialed in for a terrific show.

These guys have had some public words. Obviously, you saw the 30-second spot where these guys were talking smack to each other, and I think this thing is very much a personal battle. Benavidez has been, from when we took him out of the amateurs, very highly skilled and has had a nice career. And this is his defining moment.

At this point, with Terence Crawford, this is the gold standard in boxing. He has just electrified everybody with both boxing skill and power, taken all challengers. And just anecdotally, when Terence Crawford gets in the ring, it’s like Alabama in football. He is that dominant, and he’s going to have his hands full with a guy that is not going to back down.

Q: It’s a little bit of maybe a grudge match here. I’d like you to just give me your point of view about that confrontation that you guys had in Corpus Christi, where he was on the undercard and he accused you of ducking him. You got a little heated. Calmer heads prevailed, but can you explain that situation a little bit and what happened?

Terence Crawford: Pretty much nothing. He just came up to me, told me that I was ducking him, and I never wanted to sign a fight, I never signed a contract, and I was scared of him, and he was going to knock me out. So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You need to focus on your fight before you focus on me right now. You need to be focused on your fight.’ Then just a little heated discussion.

Q: Did you find it a little bit unusual that a fighter like Benavidez who, as Todd said was a good fighter, was a tremendous amateur but has not the sort of serious fight in terms of a name opponent as a professional so far would go up to a guy like yourself whose had high profile fights and accuse you of ducking him when he hadn’t done anything yet to be mentioned alongside you?

Terence Crawford: That comes with the territory when you’ve got people that, you know, want your spot. They want to get the opportunity or the chance to prove their worthiness, to make a name for themselves. So that’s how I take it. He’s trying to piggyback off of my name to make himself bigger.

Q: What was it that made you decide to give him the opportunity?

Terence Crawford: Oh, why not? Why not? You know, talk is cheap. We’re in the same division, same promoter. It’s an interesting fight. He’s always saying that I’m fighting smaller guys, so this is a chance to see what you are made of.

Q: Anything special that you’ve seen? He did have a very good first-round knockout on your last undercard when you fought Jeff Horn and beat him in June.

Terence Crawford: Come on now, we all know who he fought.

Q: I’m just asking. I’m not talking about that fight, just in general.

Terence Crawford: Well, what about it? I had a spectacular knockout, too.

Q: No, I was asking if you see any particular special qualities about Benavidez, not just about his fight with Rojas, but just in any fights of his you may have seen over the years?

Todd duBoef: Terence, you’d say he has a good mouth, right?

Terence Crawford: Yes, that’s about it.

Q: All right, Todd, that was pretty good.

Todd duBoef: If he’s not going to give him any flattering qualities, I’ve got to tell him the most obvious one.

Q: Obviously this pound-for-pound thing is pretty important to you, Terence, and you say that hands down, you are number one. How important is that to you, you know, to be recognized as number one and not number two by any other people that try to rank such things?

Terence Crawford: Well, it depends on who you ask. Some people rate me number one, some people rate me two. I can’t complain. I’m in the top two and almost everybody is rating me, so I’m just blessed to be in the top two.

Q: Another thing I wanted to ask you about is the welterweight division, which is extremely deep right now. Because Top Rank is with ESPN and your fights are on ESPN, a lot of those other guys are PBC fighters and there’s a divide in terms of trying to make some of those fights. How frustrating is that, a talent-rich division, and there’s obstacles to making some of the fights you’d like?

Todd duBoef: Can I answer this for him? I just want to make this crystal clear. We have said this following our recent announcement of re-signing Terence. Regardless of your affiliation, we will take on all comers. That’s it. We don’t care where you are, what you do. We will go and take on all comers, right? Terence is an elite fighter. He is at that class. In fact, when there was a big welterweight fight, a nice welterweight fight in early September, all they did was talk about Terence Crawford. We thank them for that.

We’ve done the biggest fights with the biggest complications of all time. He wants to take on the biggest. We want to provide the biggest. So, Terence, now you can chime in if you want. Sorry.

Terence Crawford: Well, you took everything out of my mouth. So, there’s nothing more for me to say. There you have it.

Q: How do you feel physically coming out of that Jeff Horn fight compared to when you fought at 135 and 140 pounds?

Terence Crawford: I feel stronger. I feel like my body is growing into the weight division. This is only my second fight at the welterweight division, so I feel like I’ve got a little more growing to do, but as far as strength-wise and how I feel, I feel great and I feel strong.

Q: When you’re looking at the welterweight division, and of course, one of the things that when you signed this new deal with Top Rank is that there’s the possibility that you could fight some of the other champions at 147 pounds. Between guys like Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, and Keith Thurman, who of the other champions would you like to fight next if you had your pick?

Terence Crawford: Those are the only champions. So, there are no other champions but them. So, I don’t know what champions you’re talking about.

Q: Well, I mean there’s still Manny Pacquiao. I don’t know if that’s…

Terence Crawford: He’s not a champion in my eyes. He don’t have the super belt. That’s the champion in my eyes. I look at the number one champion in the division. I don’t look at the WBC Silver and the interim belts and all that. I look at the super and the actual champion of the division.

Q: Benavidez, he won an interim title at 140. And he used a controversial tactic at that time. He hung on the ropes. Do you anticipate him trying to do that again and how would you counter something like that?

Terence Crawford: I don’t know. I don’t know if he’ll try that against me. I believe he’s going to come out, try to make it a fight being that it’s in my hometown. He don’t want to take any risks, and if he does do it, we’ve got a game plan for that as well.

Q: I wanted to actually ask a question to Brian and to Todd because I know that Terence is not going to want to talk about the future because he’s got the fight coming up on the 13th. But Brian and Todd, if you guys could talk to me, what do you view as sort of the rough outline, so to speak, game plan let’s say, for Terence’s next couple of fights? I know Todd, you said you guys are willing to make a fight with any of the other guys across the street however it may shake out. But what’s realistic in your mind, Todd and Brian?

Brian McIntyre (Crawford’s Trainer/Manager): Realistically, we’re going after the champions, man. You know, I don’t see any reason to be fighting the number six dude or number seven dude. We want the best fighters out there at 147 so, you know, I’m glad Todd is on this call because we’ll put the heat on him. He wants to make those fights happen. He can go to ESPN and make those fights happen. Terence wants those fights to happen. Let’s go!

Q: But because of the complications of you’re not going to want to leave ESPN to go to Showtime and/or Fox. They’re not going to want to leave their home base to come to ESPN. And so, therefore, it would seem as though those fights would have to be done in conjunction with each other as a pay-per-view.

So, if you had your choice in guiding Terence as a manager, as a trainer, who would you like to match him up with, the big name that you think would be the best and biggest fight to get Crawford sort of the major, major fight that I know he wants very much?

Brian McIntyre: Right now, the biggest name in the welterweight division is Errol Spence. So, what we would do is, and I’m glad Todd on this call, they just put the pressure on ESPN as a leader in sports. They want to be the leader in boxing. If they want to be a leader in boxing, they’re going to go out and make those fights happen. And so that’s what Terence wants. They want Terence to be the number one fighter in the world.

Q: And I mean, look, Spence would be a great fight. I think every boxing fan would love to see it, but what do you think is an actual realistic goal for the immediate future or beyond the Benavidez fight?

Todd duBoef: I think we’re asking everybody to look into a crystal ball, right, and project out what somebody else’s needs are and what somebody else wants to do. We’ve established what we want to do, all right. We’re not going to come up to a press conference and I mean I don’t want to get – this conference call is about Terence Crawford. I’m not going to divert it like they did about – they were giving us all the attention.

We’re going to go after all those guys. We’re not allowing anything, no politics, no nothing, to get in the way. They want to do it. We want to do it. Let’s just get it done. We’ll figure out a solution.

Q: Would you agree then that it would be pay-per-view then because of the network situations?

Todd duBoef: I’m not going to make a judgment today right now on a phone call without having a conversation with everybody involved, including them on the one side and us. We are open to anything. We are open to anything to make those big fights happen for Terence and BoMac. That’s what we’re up for, too. We are not going to be siloed into a formulaic way of doing things. We are open to everything.

Q: How are you making sure you’re not distracted by all this other talk about other fighters, and networks, and all that stuff?

Terence Crawford: I don’t pay attention to it. My main focus is on Benavidez. As you can see, he’s been doing a lot of talking, but while he’s talking, I’m working. So, I’m not worried about nothing that he’s saying or that he’s trying to hype up. I’m focused and I’m ready to go next week.

Q: Other guys who have annoyed you in the past or gotten under your skin a little bit have paid a price for it. Are you surprised that Benavidez has taken this approach based on that?

Terence Crawford: No. He’s confident in himself and his abilities, and on top of that, I feel as if he’s trying to boost his confidence up even more by telling himself these thoughts in his head that he’s one of the best. But come fight night, all that is going to be out the window and we’re going to have to fight. And then it’s going to be put up or shut up.

Q: How do you view it when an opponent talks trash to you, Terence? Do you like it? Does it motivate you more? How do you approach that?

Terence Crawford: Of course it motivates me more because, as you know, I’m cool, calm, collected. I never said anything to the guy. He approached me, so now it makes the victory more enjoyable to go in there and hit him in his mouth and shut him up.

Q: Terence, I know in the past you’ve said that you want to fight all over the world. But how much do you appreciate what you’ve built in Omaha where the people have turned out for all of your fights?

Terence Crawford: I appreciate it a lot. Omaha has given me tremendous support since my amateur days. It’s actually a blessing to have your own city turn out the way that they do for me to make it seem as if I only fight in Omaha. That’s how big the turnouts are. Everybody thinks that all I ever do is fight in Omaha because of the turnout. So that shows a lot right there.

Q: Could Todd and Brian speak on that too, what Terence, all of you guys have built together here for Terence in Omaha.

Brian McIntyre: It’s tremendous. It’s tremendous, man. When an opponent fights here in Omaha, you’ve got to fight against the crowd, too, because the crowd is so pro-Crawford, pro-Terence Crawford, and that’s a good thing I like about fighting in Omaha. It’s an extra push for Terence. It’s an extra push for the coaches. It’s just an extra push for even the promoters to put on a good show because, you know, it’s going to be a show-off to the world. And people enjoy it and they want to come back. They want to see Terence Crawford. They want to see the next Terence Crawford.

I’m excited with what Top Rank and Terence has done for the city. I just say let’s keep doing it.

Todd duBoef: Yes, I mean one of the things I would say to BoMac and to Terence is this is really is a credit to all the work that they do, too. They are really focused on creating his brand and not depriving his fan base and we started that from the beginning together. And I’m going to say this about Terence. A lot of fighters can talk about their hometowns, but he’s got a home state. I mean, we went to Lincoln and we kicked ass there, too.

So, it’s not necessarily Omaha. He is an icon for the state and a wonderful representative for all of Nebraska and the Midwest, and he’s fast becoming a major global star. And to take the energy that he creates and the connection to all of his fans at his home and transmit that throughout the world just perpetuates it even further. But it’s really a credit to BoMac, his team, and Terence for being that persistent and helpful in creating the brand there.

Q: Terence, can you comment on your relationship with Top Rank?

Terence Crawford: I have a great relationship with Top Rank. Since they picked me up from TKO Promotions, we’ve been partners and we built a lot of great memories together, and they got me to where I am right now. And all I can do is thank them.

Q: Obviously, you’ve done really well, Terence. With ESPN as a platform, what do you feel like can happen now that you’ve established yourself as one of the premier fighters with the new deal with Top Rank and ESPN, and where can this fight in particular take you as far as your exposure nationally and internationally?

Terence Crawford: It can take me wherever I want it to go. All I’ve got to do is keep doing what I’m doing, and everything will follow.

Q: Terence, for this fight in particular, obviously you and Benavidez have known each other for quite a while. Can you talk about the relationship and/or non-relationship that the two of you have had and what’s kind of led to this bout taking place?

Terence Crawford: I really don’t know the guy too much. But just from Top Rank, we don’t have no history but arguing with each other. So, we’re going to get it in come next week.

Q: I guess I was more referring to the fact that from his mind, he’s been calling for this fight for the last few years, even when the both of you were at 140. In your mind, I guess how does this now take place that you are at 147 after I guess it seemingly being brought up for at least a couple of years, at least from his team?

Terence Crawford: Like I said, talk is cheap. Come next week, all the talking and all the answers that everybody want to ask about the fight will be answered. I really don’t have nothing to say about the guy. Come fight night, you know I’ll be ready.

More Headlines

Terence Crawford: Only Wants the Champions at 147


By: Rich Mancuso

Undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr. is the next opponent for Terence Crawford next Saturday evening at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Crawford, the three-division world champion, will defend his WBO Welterweight title for the second time. But this is not the opponent he wants in a fight that will be televised on the ESPN platforms.

Don’t get this wrong. Crawford, not one to stir the pot, is honored that Benavidez took this fight. And the home crowd will be thrilled to see their champion again. Many consider him to be either number one or two in the pound-for-pound discussion.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Not to overlook Benavidez, Crawford is very content with the promotional deal he has with Top Rank. However, in a Thursday afternoon conference call with media the names of champions such as Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Errol Spence Jr. came into the discussion. These are some of the elite fighters in the 147-pound division along with some others.

The welterweight division is the talk of boxing. Spence Jr. is known as the elite champion and always a target. With that in mind, where does Terence Crawford stand in the mix of all this? He is with Top Rank, the others with PBC and their platforms of Showtime and Fox.

“Spence, Porter, Thurman, those are the only champions,” Crawford said. “ I don’t look at the WBC Silver interim belts . I look at the actual champion in the division.”

So this is a matter, first of Crawford getting past Benavidez Jr. and then the talk about a mega fight with Spence Jr. who holds the IBF title. The issue is logistics with two major platforms of promoters and networks putting their differences aside and giving fight fans what they want.

Crawford has Top Rank in the corner. The ESPN deal with his promoter is strong and delivering what boxing fans and the sport desire. The Crawford camp is content but as everyone is aware, this is a business.

The talk has to be done at the table, and very similar to the deal that was made when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. got in the ring three years ago. Brian McIntyre, manager and trainer for Crawford wants the elite fights to be made. He made his case on the conference call.

“We want after the champions, man,” McIntyre said. “There is no reason to be fighting a No. 6 dude or a No. 7 dude. Terence wants the best fighters out there at 147.”

Top Rank president Todd duBoef was also on the conference call. McIntyre is seeking the best for his fighter and said the heat is on with Top Rank and all for the best involved.

“We’ll put the heat on him,” he said. He’s the one who makes the fights happen. He could go to ESPN and make those fights happen. Terence wants the fights to happen. Let’s go. The only fights out there is the other champions.”

They don’t want a number 7 or 8 fighter in the division, because this is about the elite fighters at 147.

To that, duBoef said, “We have said this regardless of your affiliation, we don’t care what you are ,what you do, Terence is an elite fighter. in fact elite fight, all they talk is about Terence. “We’ve done the biggest fights with all the complications. We’ve done the biggest with no complications”

But there are always complications. Venues, purse, and how two networks that are in competition can co-exist. A response from the PBC was unavailable when reached for comment.

“We’re gonna go after all those guys,” duBoef said. “We’re not allowing anything, no politics, no nothing, to get in the way. They wanna do it, we wanna do it, let’s just get it done. We’ll figure out a solution.”

Crawford, on the other hand, avoids this discussion about fighting the elite champions. He is focused on this fight next weekend and when it comes to consideration about being the Number 1 pound-for-pound, he just goes about his business. He wants to take on opponents and bypass the talk of Top 10 fighter or who is Number 1 or 2.

“Some people rate me number 1 some people rate me number 2,” Crawford said. “I can’t complain some people rate me number 2. Don’t pay attention. My main attention is Benavidez. I’m focused and ready to go next week. Keep winning in tremendous fashion.”

He added: “ I never predict a knockout. I just go in there if I see a chance for a knockout I’ll go for it. All i do is go in there and get the win. I believe he is going to come out and try and make it a fight and if he does do it we have a game plan for that as well.

However, this could be the tune-up fight towards the next one. There is time for the respective promotions and networks to stage an eventual Crawford and Spence Jr. title fight.

“Still growing up in this division,” Crawford said. “Not looking to move up. Great relationship with Top Rank. We build a lot of great memories together and built me up to where I am now. Takes me wherever I want to go.”

Benavidez Jr. sought this fight and there was no hesitation. Because Terence Crawford never ducks an opponent, and in boxing you take the opportunity as there is always a chance to pull off the unexpected. And by all means, the height and reach is something to look at with that undefeated record coming in against the champion.

But we all know, this fight is all about Terence Crawford. It’s about getting to the elite and opposing Errol Spence Jr. and soon.

Comment: Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso [email protected]

More Headlines

Terence Crawford Signs New Multi-Year Agreement With Top Rank; Next Fight Announced


Top Rank is proud to announce that pound-for-pound superstar and the current WBO welterweight world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford has agreed to new multi-year agreement with the company. Crawford, who originally signed with Top Rank in 2011, has captured world titles in three weight classes and won the award for best fighter at the 2018 ESPYS.

“I am the best fighter in the world, hands down. ESPN is the biggest brand in sports and Top Rank is the biggest promotional company in boxing,” Crawford said. “This was a no-brainer for me and my team. All of the super fights that the world wants to see will happen. Mark my words. Like I’ve said before, I want all of the champions in the welterweight division.”

“Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is the world’s best boxer,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “We will continue our ongoing campaign to establish him as one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.”

“Without a doubt, this is one of the most lucrative deals for an individual fighter in the history of boxing,” said Brian McIntyre, Crawford’s trainer/manager. “The deal that I helped put together with Top Rank and ESPN is unprecedented in the modern boxing landscape. If you think you’ve seen the best of Terence Crawford, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To all the pretenders out there who want a piece of him, you’ll get what is coming. With Top Rank and ESPN in our corner, we are going to make some of the biggest fights in the history of boxing. We will continue to show the world that Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is one of the greatest fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves.”

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, is 11-0 with eight knockouts in world title bouts. He captured his first world title – the WBO lightweight crown – with a unanimous decision against Ricky Burns on March 1, 2014. Less than four months later, he cemented his status as a pound-for-pound elite with a ninth-round TKO against then-unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa in front of nearly 11,000 fans in Omaha. Crawford made one more defense of his lightweight title before moving up to 140 pounds.

Crawford cleaned out the 140-pound division, going 7-0 in the weight class and unifying all four major world title belts with a third-round knockout against Julius Indongo in August of last year. With nothing else to accomplish at 140 pounds, Crawford set his sights on the welterweight division. In his welterweight debut, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Crawford battered the previously undefeated Jeff Horn en route to a ninth-round stoppage victory to capture the WBO title.

Crawford, though, has unfinished business at welterweight. Armed with the backing of Top Rank and the company’s new seven-year deal with ESPN, he is ready, willing, and able to take on the division’s other world champions.

Fight Announcement

Terence “Bud” Crawford will return to the scene of many of his greatest professional triumphs intent on stopping a man who has repeatedly lobbied for a fight. Crawford will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight world title against Jose Benavidez Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the CHI Health Center Omaha (formerly the CenturyLink Center). Crawford-Benavidez will air live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with undercards streaming live in the United States at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ – the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

It was Benavidez who challenged Crawford in Corpus Christi, Texas, this past February, accusing him of ducking a potential showdown. Crawford invited Benavidez to “step outside” before cooler heads prevailed. They will settle the score in front of a raucous crowd who will be cheering on their hometown hero.

ESPN’s coverage of the event starts Friday, Oct. 12 with the live Top Rank on ESPN Crawford vs. Benavidez Jr. Weigh-In show. Lineup (ET):

TV:
5:30-6:00 p.m., ESPN2 (LIVE, Main and Co-Main Events)

9:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; 1:30 a.m.-2:00 a.m., ESPNEWS (repeat)

Streaming on ESPN+:

5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN+ (streaming LIVE, entire card)

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to this world championship event go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. CST. Priced at $178, $103, $63, and $38, not including applicable fees, tickets can be purchased at the CHI Health Center Omaha box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.

“The Crawford-Benavidez fight is an old-time grudge match. These are two elite fighters who don’t care for each other, to put it mildly,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “They will battle each other at a fever pitch. I can’t wait to watch the action.”

“This fight is the fight he has been calling for, and now he will get the chance to see what it’s like to be in the ring with a real champion,” Crawford said. I’ll happily give him his first L.”

“I’ve been wanting this fight for three years. I know I have what it takes to beat him, and I am going to beat him,” Benavidez said. “Crawford has been running his mouth and saying I’m a nobody. I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is a three-division world champion, a pound-for-pound elite who was recently named “Fighter of the Year” at the 2018 ESPY Awards. In his first bout of 2018, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he defeated defending WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn via ninth-round TKO. Crawford did not miss a beat against Horn despite a nearly 10-month layoff due to a hand injury. Prior to dominating Horn, Crawford became only the third fighter of the four-belt era to unify all the belts when he knocked out fellow unified 140-pound champion Julius Indongo in the third round. Crawford has drawn a total of 44,360 fans in four bouts at the CHI Health Center Omaha, including nearly 11,000 when he knocked down Yuriorkis Gamboa four times en route to a ninth-round TKO to retain the WBO lightweight title in one of the best fights of 2014. Five months after the Gamboa win, Crawford cruised to a wide unanimous decision against Ray Beltran, who went on to win that title more than three years later. In his most recent CHI Health Center Omaha appearance, Dec. 10, 2016 against John Molina Jr., 11,270 fans packed the building as Crawford battered Molina before stopping him in the eighth round. Crawford is 11-0 with eight knockouts in world title bouts and is ranked by many boxing experts as the world’s best fighter.

Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA interim super lightweight champion, turned pro in 2010 following a standout amateur career that included a 2009 National Golden Gloves gold medal at 141 pounds. His road to this career-defining fight has been anything but smooth, as he was shot multiple times in an August 2016 incident in his hometown of Phoenix. After a nearly 18-month layoff, Benavidez returned on Feb. 3, 2018 in Corpus Christi with an eighth-round TKO against Matthew Strode. It was before the weigh-in for the Strode bout that Benavidez confronted Crawford. Benavidez last fought on the Crawford vs. Horn undercard, knocking out the previously undefeated Frank Rojas at 1:23 of the opening round.

More Headlines

Don’t Hold Your Breath on Crawford vs Spence


By Eric Lunger

Errol Spence, Jr. took care of business on Saturday night, dispatching Carlos Ocampo (22-1, 13 KOs) with a vicious body assault in round one. It was as clinical as it was ferocious. The fight marked a return to the Lone Star state for Spence (24-0, 21KOs), who had not fought in his home state since 2014. The fight, or more precisely, the choice of opponent, took some heat in the boxing media. Ocampo is a good fighter, a professional with an undefeated record, and certainly Spence is entitled to make some money by putting on a card for his home fans. Nothing wrong with that. And, to be fair, Ocampo was the IBF mandatory – whether he should have been is a more fraught question. Nonetheless, with a successful first defense under his belt, Spence (and his fans) have to be wondering who is next.


Photo Credit: Errol Spence Jr. Twitter Account

Let’s start with the WBA champion Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs). The rugged Argentine is scheduled to take on perennial champion and fan-favorite Manny Pacquiao (59-7, 38 KOs) in July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While that fight may appeal to certain fans, it is hard to see Spence wanting to face the winner of that bout, and it is even harder to see it making much sense financially. No disrespect to the Matthysse and Pac Man, both of whom I have enjoyed watching over the years, but they are on the down slope of their careers.

With the WBC belt vacant, the only other unification possibility is against the newly minted WBO champ Terrence “Bud” Crawford (RECORD). For obvious reasons, this is the fight that fans want to see. Both guys are young, dynamic, extremely skilled with sound (almost perfect) fundamentals, and both can hit that mean switch in the ring. It would be an incredible fight, no question. But this is boxing, and, as a veteran of the promotional side of the game once explained to me, if the fans (rather than promoters) made the matchups, we would have a different slate of fights.

Simply put, it is difficult to imagine Top Rank (Crawford) and PBC (Spence) willing to risk their fighters’s value when there are so many other fights to make, and when there is so much more value down the road. I hate the term “marinating” when applied to boxing, but here waiting makes more sense. And it is not like there aren’t other big names in the division: Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Jessie Vargas, to name a few.

Asked whether unification with a big-name welterweight was realistic as his next fight, Spence had this to say in the press conference after the Ocampo bout: “I’ll probably fight again later this year. The unification fight with Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia is definitely going to happen [in August],” implying that Spence is weighing the possibility of facing the winner. So, while indicating he will fight once more before a taking on a top name, Spence went on to note that a fight with Keith Thurman was a distinct possibility: “We got Keith Thurman coming back this year – that’s a fight I can have, we can make that. Same manager, same network. It’s an easy fight to make.” Spence again re-iterated that he wants a serious challenge: “I want big names, Jessie Vargas would be [on the list].”

Will Spence and Crawford ever climb into the ring together? Fans want to see it, but it may be a long time coming.

More Columns

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn


By: Gary Todd

In boxing actions speak louder than words. Once again, this was the case on Saturday night in Las Vegas, when Terence Crawford [ 33 -0 ] out classed, out boxed, out muscled, and took the Australian school teacher, back to school, with a dazzling display of skill, speed, and power, and dominance , that made the WBO champion look like a boxing novice.

It was always going to be a real challenge for the Australian scrapper and this was apparent from the opening bell. Crawford was so dominant, from the 3rd round onwards, using his fast hands, and feet, ducking, weaving, switching , and exploding on to Horn, that left the champion with no answer, and it was clear from there, that we would have a new champion at welterweight.

Every trainer, and promoter talks up their fighter, but I have to say , the talk from Jeff Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton , and promoter, Dean Lonergan were nothing more than absolute nonsense. I’m all for supporting, and boosting, even inspiring your fighter, and push him to be the best fighter he can be , but there is a limit to what you can tell him, to what the fighter knows already. Jeff Horn knows what he can do . Every man has their limitations.

Comments from Rushton, like, “ I don’t want you to be a champion, I want you to be a legend “ Like I said, every man has their limitations. Horn’s promoter, Lonergan, a former rugby player for New Zealand, has said many things, before the fight, but his comments after the fight showed that this guy knows nothing about boxing, with his comments like, “ the fight was stopped too early, as Jeff would have come back , and who knows what would have happened in the 10th, 11th or 12th round” Lonergan is a fool. We all know what would have happened, had the referee , Robert Byrd, not stepped in to save Horn . There was still over 2 minutes to go in round 9 . Both Rushton and Lonergan talked way too much and are both delusional. Horn didn’t win a single round, never looked like troubling Crawford , and was out on his feet before the stoppage. Rushton is not too far behind Lonergan with comments like “ the stoppage was too quick. He got hurt more against Manny Pacquiao, and many of the rounds were very close” The guy knows nothing about boxing, or is delusional.

Jeff Horn had been elevated up the welterweight ladder , fighting hand picked guys in Australia, like Randall Bailey, Rico Mueller, and Ali Funeka, to win and get the chance of glory , and a crack at Manny Pacquiao’s WBO world title. Horn showed tremendous heart in a tough hard fight, and overcame the 9th round, to fight back , after the referee had told him that he thought he had taken enough punishment. Horn fought on, and won a very controversial result in his hometown of Brisbane. I have watched the fight 5 times, and Pacquiao was hard done by not to keep his belt.

As Jeff Horn sat there with ice packs to his eyes, and his ear, and his wife nursing, and consoling him, there was already talk of a rematch by Lonergan, and Rushton. For these two fools, I will explain, a rematch is when a fight is so good, and thrilling for the fans, or it’s so close, and there is merit for the 2 fighters to get another chance of a clear victory. Gatti v Ward, Corrales v Castillo, Ali v Frazier, Holyfield v Bowe, Leonard v Hearns, and Marquez v Vasquez.

Horn v Crawford should not be included . This fight was so one sided, that it put Horn back so far , that I hope he retires from the sport, or he will get damaged.

Where does he go from here? I will say Horn will come back, and his team of Lonergan and Rushton will try and find their fighter an opponent that will assure him a win , just to get him back in the mix. The only problem with that is, who does he fight after that? Any of the top contenders, or world champions, Errol Spence Jnr, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, and Shawn Porter, will beat Jeff Horn.

This was Horn’s first fight outside Australia, and he will be remembered for two things, which is losing badly to Crawford, and getting a hometown gift against Pacquiao. Fighting in America, at a world championship level, would be a challenge for him and his team. If Pacquiao gets past Lucas Matthysse in a couple of weeks, maybe Manny wants the rematch ? Horn failed on first attempt to make the championship weight, and there was more talk from his camp that he struggles to make 147, and he might move up. At 30 years of age, and not the fastest boxer at welterweight, moving up would be a mistake . Horn would be facing a long list of good fighters, in a very strong division, with champions like, Jamie Munguia, Jarrett Hurd, and Jermell Charlo.

Actions do speak louder than words, but in this case, the writing is on the wall.

Gary Todd is the proud author of his books on world champions and their workouts, “Workouts From Boxings Greatest Champs, volumes 1 and 2. “ he has been involved in all aspects in the sport of boxing for over 30 years .

More Columns

ESPN+ Results: Crawford Wipes Out Horn


By: Sean Crose

The Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford card on ESPN+ began at 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night as the 23-1-0 Jose Pedraza faced the 23-2 Antonio Moran for the WBO Latino Lightweight Title. The first few rounds of the bout made for an exciting, see-saw affair, as both men fought energetically and with aggresion. Yet Moran got his nose busted, a war wound that got to look quite ugly as the fight wore on.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

There ended up being no stoppage. There wasn’t a knockdown to be found throughout the bout, either. It proved to be an entertaining match, though. Moran never gave up. Pedraza was simply stronger and was able to put his puches together better. Ultimately, Pedraza also proved to be the more energetic fighter as the bout wore on. The Puerto Rican ended up with the unanimous decision win and WBO Latino Lightweight Strap.

It was time for the main event. The 32-0 Crawford stepped into the ring favored to beat the 18-0-1 Horn, even though Horn was the WBO World Welterweight Champion and had won that title by besting the great Manny Pacquiao – albeit by a highly controversial decision. For Crawford entered the weekend widely regarded as one of the best practitioners in the entire sport. He might have been moving up in weight to face Horn, but it was Crawford who boxing’s writers and analysts expected to walk away with the victory.

Crawford tagged his man early in the first. Yet Horn tagged Crawford clean a moment later. Crawford, however, landed the cleaner, more effective punches throughout. Crawford landed a hard left to the body in the second and then started to pick up the pace. Horn, however, was tough and kept moving forward. Crawford began the third landing clean, though Horn was able to land clean himself. Crawford, however, was landing the better shots more frequently. The man from Nebraska was really starting to go to work.

Horn kept being a warrior in the fourth, but it appeared that he was being outclassed as the first third of the bout ended. The man did, however, have a good moment in the fifth, when he got Crawford against the ropes. Horn tried to play rough and got a warning from referee Robert Byrd. Crawford then physically rough housed Horn. It had become a one sided affair. By the midway point of the fight, Crawford was continuing to beat his man up.

One thing had to be said for Horn – the man was as rough and as brave as they came. At no point through the first seven rounds (which must have been gruelling for the man) did the champion give up or cease to fight with incredible heart. It simply didn’t matter, though. Crawford was simply far too skilled. And still, Horn kept fighting on, trying to land, trying to muscle his man around. It was to little avail. Crawford kept dominating.

Crawford exploded late in the eighth, causing his man to stumble. In fact, Horn came very close to hitting the canvas. The brutality continued through the ninth – where Horn finally went down. The champion got back up, but Crawford went right back to work and referee Robert Byrd steped in and stopped the fight.

More Headlines

Are We Underestimating Jeff Horn Again?


By: Ciaran O’Mahony

Few pundits are giving WBO Welterweight champion Jeff Horn a chance against the highly-rated Terence Crawford. There’s no doubt the gritty Aussie has a tough fight ahead of him, but should we really be counting him out?

His fighting style may not be easy on the eye, but Horn is no pushover. Just ask Manny Pacquaio.
Whether you agreed with the judges’ decision or not, no one can deny that the unheralded Aussie gave Pacquaio a much tougher fight than expected.

“The Hornet’s” unorthodox movement and his ability to throw punches from unusual angles made him an extremely awkward opponent.

It was widely predicted that the Filipino’s speed, power and relentless flurries would overwhelm Horn. In fact, several experts predicted that he’d be lucky to make it out of the first round.

“Pacman” landed plenty of punches, but it wasn’t the dominant performance we anticipated. We’ve seen him completely overpower some of the best fighters of his generation, but he landed surprisingly few power shots, often settling for glancing one-punch counters.

Against Horn, he looked slow and surprisingly reluctant to let his hands go. Many blamed father time, highlighting that Pacquaio is every bit of 38 years of age, sustaining a lot of damage throughout a lengthy career.

It’s hard to argue with that, but Horn also deserves a lot of credit for Pacquaio’s underwhelming performance.

It wasn’t just that Pacquaio has lost some speed, power and stamina. Horn made the legendary fighter look average at times by nullifying some of his biggest weapons.

Pacquaio found it difficult to deal with Horn’s size and reach advantage. The Aussie kept him at range extremely well, punishing the Filipino when he burst forward with some solid shots from unexpected angles.

Pacquaio looked confused, frustrated and genuinely surprised by Horn’s ability, speed and composure.
Horn isn’t renowned as a big puncher, but his power also helped him to keep Pacquaio at bay. How many times have we seen the Filipino stand toe to toe with his opponents, daring them to hit him because he knew that he would come out on top in most of the exchanges.

The final punch statistics certainly favoured Pacquaio, but Horn landed some telling blows that backed him up and gave him something to think about. His relatively cautious tactics throughout the fight show that he respected the Aussie’s strength and power.

Pacquaio’s hesitation also demonstrates Horn’s deceptive speed. He might not look particularly quick, but his reactions were impressive and he caught Pacquaio where other fighters have failed to in the past.

He roughed Pacquaio up too. Critics will tell you that Horn fought dirty and they may have a point. But the head clashes did not appear to be intentional. These things happen in fights and it’s unlikely that there would have been such an outcry if Pacquaio used similar tactics. Horn did what he had to.

When Pacquaio did manage to work his way inside, Horn used his physical advantages to great effect- smothering him, leaning on him and making him feel every bit of his weight.

Few fighters in the world can box their opponents effectively from range and close quarters. Most fighters favour one approach over the other. Horn managed to do both against an all-time great.

People have criticised his style, but any fighter that can pull this off is extremely skilled.

All of these things are well and good, but we have to acknowledge that Horn was almost stopped in the 9th round. If an older Pacquaio almost finished him, he surely has no chance against Crawford, right?
Maybe. But anyone who can absorb such a vicious attack from Pacquaio is clearly a tough nut to crack. How many people have taken that many shots from Pacquaio and stayed on their feet?

Sure, Pacman’s lost some of his legendary power, but he still had enough to floor two world class fighters in his previous fights- Jesse Vargas and Timothy Bradley.

Horn didn’t just take that punishment and survive. He won the last few rounds. It’s clearly going to take something special to put him away.

Let’s also not forget that Horn came to boxing late (aged 16). With just 19 fights under his belt, he is still relatively inexperienced and has shown improvement in every fight. He will only get better.

Look at the other world champions in Horn’s division. How many of them fought someone of Pacquiao’s calibre in just their 18th professional fight? None.
– Keith Thurman became interim WBA champion with a win over Diego Chaves in his 22nd fight.
– Errol Spence beat Kell Brook to become the IBF champion in his 22nd fight.
– Lucas Matthysse took a whopping 35 fights to become the WBC champion, defeating Mike Dallas Jr.

Even Crawford became the WBO Lightweight Champion in his 23rd fight, a unanimous decision against Ricky Burns.

Did Horn lose to Pacquaio? Possibly. But many experts felt it was a lot closer than Teddy Atlas’ scorecard. Plenty also felt that the Hornet did enough to get his hand raised.

Don’t let the robbery narrative fool you, the man can fight. Expect to see an even better version of Horn this weekend.

Many people feel Crawford is taking an easy path to a world title by facing Horn, but he may not have it all his own way.

If you think Horn’s an easy fight, you haven’t been paying attention. Crawford will need to be at his best to put him away.

Regardless of the result, Horn deserves far more respect than he has received thus far.

More Columns