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Amir Khan Returns with Easy Win


By: Mick Kane

Amir Khan defeated Australian Billy Dib by fourth round stoppage to win the WBC International welterweight title in Saudi Arabia.

Dib took the fight on a few weeks notice after Khan’s original opponent Neeraj Goyat was injured in a car crash meaning the WBC Pearl title was no longer up for grabs.

Saudi Arabia are looking to become more involved in boxing, after holding the final of the World Boxing Super Series super lightweight tournament last year in Jeddah. Boxing returned to Jeddah, the King Abdullah Sports City, as Khan demolished the blown up featherweight, Dib.

Khan had Dib down as early as the second when he landed a good left hook. Khan landed the same shot in the third which rocked Dib but this time he stayed on his feet.

The stoppage was not long in coming as Khan landed a couple of left hooks again and followed up with a quick fire combination forcing Dib to the canvas once more. Dib’s corner had seen enough and the towel was thrown in.

It was an easy win in the end for Khan, in a return to action after some people criticised him for appearing to quit against Terence Crawford in April, Khan was adamant he never quit after receiving a low blow against Crawford.

The chief support act on the night would see Hughie Fury face Samuel Peter in the heavyweight division.

Fury recorded a seventh round win after Peter had to withdraw after what seemed like an injury to his shoulder when the referee was breaking up the fighters.

Fury was in control of the fight at this point while Peter was using rough house tactics, he had a point dedicated in the fourth when he landed a shot after the referee had told the fighters to break. Peter then landed low blows in several rounds before he had to retire.

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Khan vs Dib – a Night of Saudistic Pleasure


By: Oliver McManus

Much like an obscene crash involving an 18-wheel HGV and a lone baby goat accidentally straying onto the motorway, Amir Khan vs Billy Dib has all the ingredients to be disgustingly barbaric and brutalised; that’s exactly why I’ll be watching. The natural human curiosity to indulge ourselves in the macabre, the freakshows, the car crashes – literally and metaphorically – is perhaps the only thing swinging for the monumental mismatch.

On paper, at least, this is a sensationally vulgar piece of matchmaking: a woefully washed welterweight against a supposedly retired super-featherweight, both some eight years past their best. At least we don’t have to pay for the thrill of watching it. The bizarre trajectory of Khan’s career has seen him fall from the hilt of big-bucks ITV backing to, never-quite, star in America and now scraping the barrel for relevancy out in Saudi Arabia.

Whilst the former super lightweight champion had never officially retired there was a sense, certainly after his fight with Canelo Alvarez, that Khan would pack it in. It would have been the right time, materialistically, to make such a move given his bravery in challenging the Mexican but, also, the fact he’d already reached the pinnacle of his career some years back. Since that ill-fated ‘comeback’ it’s reasonable to say his stock has fallen, without even discussing things from outside the ring, and that the patience of British boxing fans is wearing thin.

Bolton’s biggest name could have been remembered as one of the best British fighters of the 21st Century – maybe he still will – but the likelihood is that he’ll be packed away in the box marked ‘those that just couldn’t stop’ with Danny Williams, David Haye et al. It would be a shame if it weren’t for the delusions of grandeur that make it so easy to take a scoop of satisfaction in his downfall.

Chasing Jeddah’s cheddar against Dib, nicknamed The Kid (which really helps with the baby goat analogy I used at the beginning), could prove a commercial masterstroke for the back pocket of Khan or it could be the slipperiest and most embarrassing banana skin in recent boxing history. His Australian counterpart signed up to the contest on less than three weeks notice following, original opponent, Neeraj Goyat being involved in a car crash.

Goyat, to his credit, at least attempted to provide some sort of needle to the contest by playing up the Pakistan vs India storyline but that was far-fetched from the outset. In truth that was probably overshadowed by inevitable jokes bombarded in the direction of the “Pearl” belt that the WBC sanctioned the contest for. Dib, you’d hope, could mount a more seriously stern challenge than that of Goyat but that’s based on experience and pedigree rather than any available evidence. Of course Dib was a world champion but that was seven years ago and at 1 ½ stone lighter than any of Khan’s professional contest; even when Dib has had ‘blow-out’ fights he’s only ever weighed in at lightweight.

Then again the baby goat goes into the contest with no pressure, having already retired last year, and with no-one expecting him to win. Though against Khan, whose delusion is about as rich as daughter’s ALLEGED birthday party budget, anything is possible. And he is deluded if he thinks he remains relevant on a domestic level let alone the world scene; his speed, the shining factor for Khan, has deteriorated and so too has his marketability. A fizzling star compared to his supernova status of yesteryear.

The undercard features another ‘forgotten fighter’ that hasn’t really done enough to be remembered in the first place. Hughie Fury, for all his ability, just hasn’t been able to carve out a reputation in the heavyweight scene in part due to poor promotion but largely down to the fact he’s been a professional for six years but still, losses aside, hasn’t won a fight in which he’s learned anything.

A fifth round stoppage of Sam Sexton last May certainly proved he’s got the credentials to go far, that’s been evident for a while, but against Kubrat Pulev (his next fight) the 24 year old failed to adapt against a fairly predictable adversary. It is that inability to capitalize on his ability that is most frustrating from an outside perspective – Fury is naturally talented but it seems he just doesn’t know what to do with it.

His latest opponent promises to be no different but it is a former world title challenger, no less. Thunderous words until they’re followed up by Samuel Peter, the imperious American by way of Nigeria that now makes a living in Mexico City, who boasts a menacing record of 4-4 in the nine years since that world title challenge.

Then you come to the unbearable fragile masculinity of Prince Patel, a man so lost in his own arrogance and hubris that the only way to soothe his ego is to clear out a school assembly hall before knocking out a young local for the privilege of a Baltic Boxing Union belt. I won’t devote any more of my word count towards the 26 year old.

But there we are a free-to-air fight night, live on Channel 5, beamed all the way from a country bearing the flag for equality and opportunity – as long as you’re a man possessing a wealthy bank account – with a healthy picking of mis-matches featuring two of Britain’s most wilfully ignored fighters… and Hughie Fury. It really is perverse entertainment; a night of Saudistic pleasure but one you’d be a fool to miss.

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Khan’s Slow Demise: Can’t Turn a Ferrari into an Audi


By: Rahat Haque

There was thick tension in the air. Fans and media had really hyped this fight. Everyone has heard of the phrase “styles make fights”. Khan’s fast hands and feet were supposed to at least irk Crawford, if not more. After the two national anthems were sung, after the fighters were introduced, and after the first bell, all of our curiosities regarding this fight would finally be answered. All of us were at the edge of our seats, in the ring, or at our homes, anticipating what was about to take place. Right from the first exchange, we got our answers.

This version of Amir Khan was nothing like the former speedy gunslinger we once knew. This is not taking anything away from Crawford. Indeed, the way Terence stays in the eye of the storm, totally panic free, to deliver his well-measured shots, is a beauty to behold. We have not seen such a confident, well-poised, skilled boxer puncher in some time. But that was not the revelation of the fight that took place Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. It was how much Khan had slowed down.

Right from the first round, it was quite apparent that Khan’s hand speed had gone down. All his lunges seemed premeditated, and if we could feel it through the screen, Terence “Bud” Crawford would have surely observed it being in the ring. When Khan came forward with his flurry of punches, his head was more stationary than it usually is. Yes, he had always fought like this, but his style never came off as robotic as it did on Saturday night. He was successful in touching Crawford, before suffering the inevitable knockdown that was on the horizon given how predictable and rigid all his movements were. Crawford rightly capitalized on it. This continued for 5 more rounds. Khan did seem to connect more than Crawford on round 2, and I gave him that round. But there was absolutely no fear in Terence, Khan’s punches touched him, but had no real effect on him. This could be attributed to Terence’s great defense, a la moving with the punches to soften the blows. On the other hand, whenever Terence touched Amir, the latter seemed to take the full brunt of the shots. Crawford peppered Khan’s face in the early round with thudding blows, and did the same to his body in the 4th and 5th round, reducing the Bolton native’s mobility.

The ending was bizarre, and no one saw it coming. A TKO as a result of a low blow. Khan had the option to take 5 minutes, which he did not. He shaked his head repeatedly as Virgil asked him if he wanted to continue in more than one occasion. So then, it can be said that Khan and his camp knew he was outclassed in those 6 rounds, despite perhaps winning one or two rounds. It was still strange however, to not see him go all out fighting. We have to take his word that the low blow really incapacitated him, and that 5 minutes would not be enough to recover.

But what did we learn from the 6 rounds of action? We learned more about Khan than we learned about Crawford. The Nebraska man did what he was expected to. But most fans did not expect it to be as easy as it was for him. This comes down to the changes in Khan, and cannot be attributed simply to the sheer brilliance of Crawford. Khan’s last two fights were not against noteworthy opponents. His fight with Canelo was mismatch in weight. His last win against a credible opponent was against Devon Alexander. Some may say Chris Algieri. But judging by what everyone saw in his half a bout with Crawford, would this Khan be able to replicate his successes against the likes of Alexander, Maidana, Judah, Kotelnik? These are the questions that come to mind after witnessing such a lackluster performance. More importantly, can this Khan even avenge the loss versus a Danny Garcia, a fight most of his fans were sure of him winning if he had a second chance? It does not look good for Khan at all at the moment.

Perhaps part of the problem was changing trainers. Khan was at his most lethal with Freddy Roach. Indeed, one cannot conjure up another name besides Manny Pacquiao who found as much success with that fast combination punching as Khan did under the tutelage of Freddy. Making adjustments in fights is necessary to assess the situation. But is it possible to change a whole fight’s modus operandi midway in his career? Khan was never known for his defense, or for his inside fighting, or for even being slick really. But by pressing the action, going in and out with his quick feet, and using his fast hands to land a combination on his opponent when in range, is something he did really well. He was able to look marvellous doing it with Peterson, which is the quintessential Khan fight. He would absorb punishment on the inside when the fight was fought at close quarters, but it was nothing like the terrible punishment of a head thudding knee buckling shot that he would take when being countered in the middle of the ring. The latter has been more reflective of his performances these days.

The whole waiting and timing and countering style of play does not suit him. He will always get outclassed even by lesser names, if he tries to do that. Yet, Virgil seems hell bent in trying to convert him to just that type of a fighter. I understand and respect strategizing to your opponent’s strengths, but there is a point of diminishing returns where not only do you not learn your new skills, but you begin to forget your old skills. This is precisely what happened to Khan. He was never a timer of punches, nor was he ever known for any ring generalship or defense, whereby he could hang with a slick boxer puncher in the middle of the ring. What he could do however, was use his dynamic punching to dazzle his opponents before pulling out. But on Saturday night, he could do neither! And that left him terribly exposed against one of the best finishers in the game in Terence Crawford. It could also be that his motor is not what it used to be given his age. Full credit to Terence for picking up this risky fight. But because of the way he humiliated Khan in there, there will be much less buzz about Khan in his next fight. If people were not sure before, the former Olympic silver medalist is now surely entering the twilight of his career. His best is past him.

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Is It Time for Amir Khan to Retire?


By: Waqas Ali

Amir Khan’s career is somewhat hanging in the balance as many spectators believe it’s time for him to hang up the gloves.

His recent contest with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford ended in turmoil as he decided that he could no longer continue after suffering a low blow.

The bout took place in Madison Square Garden in front of 14,000 plus spectators.

The British boxer was knocked down in the first round by a counter right hand – followed by a left hook on top.
Khan, 32, managed to recover from the knockdown and throw his trademark of combinations in the second round but did very little effect on Crawford.

Crawford, 31, was looking rather comfortable and used his counter-punching efficiently and landed some left hands and right hooks.

In the fourth round, it was pretty much competitive as both fighters landed little but threw virtually the same hard-hitting shots.

By the fifth, both fighters threw punches that got the rising to their feet. Early on Khan threw a dazzling left hook to Crawford that wooed the crowd but very little in terms of damage.

Crawford (35-0 26 KOs), also known as Bud, came back in the last 90 seconds of the fight with more hard hitting punches. Around the 40 second mark, Crawford landed a big uppercut Khan that pushed him back a little.

Their punches were sweet to see but sour to taste.

Within the five completed rounds, Khan, a former two-time world champion, landed less than 10 punches in four of them with an average accuracy rate of just 24%.

Crawford, who had fought in the welterweight division now three-times, landed 26 of 53 punches with a connect rate of 49% in the fifth. His average connect rate was around 40%.

In the sixth round, Khan was hit with a clear low blow on his groin which came from a left hook by Crawford.

He was awarded the full five minutes but lasted about 45 seconds before his corner came in and said that Virgil did not want Khan continuing to fight.

Crawford was leading 49-45 50-44 49-45 on the cards at the time of the stoppage.

Compubox total statistics revealed that Crawford landed 88 of 211 (41%) punches thrown and Khan landed 44 of 182 (24%). In the power punching department, Crawford landed 58 of 116 attempted – connecting at a rate of 50%.
In spite of fans and viewers insisting Khan to retire, he feels he still has a lot more in the tank to deliver.

“I have a lot left in me,” Khan (33-5) told BBC Sport.

“I will always get opportunities.”

Asked if it would be the last bout of his career, Khan said: “Not at all. Apart from the one knockdown, it wasn’t a brutal fight.

“I am going to spend time with the family and take time off. I’ll see what comes up after this.”

According to a poll on Twitter conducted by EditinKing Boxing, out of 6,100 plus voters, 58% say that Khan should retire and 35% says that he should fight Brook.

The boxing world both from the casual and hardcore fans perspective have mainly stated that he should retire.

The styles and variations of Keith Thurman, Errol Spence and Shawn Porter could be seen as too strong and powerful.

Considering his chin has been his biggest flaw, it would be a great risk for him to fight those guys.

The only opponent that has been debated for so many years is former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, who is from Sheffield.

One must keep in mind that they had sparring sessions together in the past when they were amateurs.

Their out-of-ring rivalry began in 2012 when they both appeared on Sky Sports TV show ‘Ringside’ debating who out-classed the other in the amateur sparring sessions.

Since then both fighters had been at loggerheads with each other over the years. Brook did not win a world title until he beat Shawn Porter in a close competitive fight in August 2014.

He then challenged Gennady Golovkin for the WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight belts in September 2016 but failed to come close to winning.

He then defended his IBF welterweight title by facing boxing technician Errol Spence Jr in May 2017 but was stopped in the eleventh round.

Khan challenged Saul Alvarez for the WBC middleweight belt in May 2016 but failed to prevail.

Since the beginning of 2019, the talks of the highly anticipated British clash between Khan and Brook have died out due to both men hitting their ages and many fans believe that the bout should’ve taken place back in 2014 or 2015 when both fighters were at their peak.

But based on the whole scenario and the evidence brought forth, it is a difficult one to make considering the amount of money that can be made with the Brook fight.

However, should that fight be made and if he lost to Brook, it would haunt him for the rest of his boxing career. Apart from the Brook fight, it would be best to hang up the gloves and call it a day.

Khan has achieved big things in his boxing career. He became the youngest British boxing Olympic Silver medallist in 2004. He fought Mario Kindelán who is considered to be one of the best amateur boxers ever.

He’s fought some of the best names in boxing today such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Andriy Kotelnik, Paul Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo. Devon Alexander, Chris Algieri, Lamont Peterson, Danny Oscar Garcia & Saul Alvarez.

Whatever one’s opinion may be of Khan, there is no denying the ruthless speed which is equivalent to the speed of lightning, which he has provided over the years and is certainly a household name wherever he fights.

He not only fights for himself. But for Bolton. For England. For Great Britain and for people around the world.

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Top Rank PPV Round by Round Results: Crawford Wins Fight When Khan Refuses to Continue


By: William Holmes

Amir Khan and Terence Crawford met in the main event of tonight’s pay per view offering by Top Rank Promotions and ESPN. Madison Square Garden was the host site of tonight’s card.

Three bouts were shown on the pay per view portion of the undercard and they showed some videos after the undercard to hype up the main event.

Danny Walter sung the national anthem of the United Kingdom. The national anthem of the United States was sung by Marissa Ann. Amir Khan entered the ring first and Terence Crawford came in second.

The following is a round by round recap of tonight’s main event.

Terence Crawford (34-0) vs. Amir Khan (33-4); WBO Welterweight Title

Rd 1:

Crawford looked intensely at Khan during the referee instructions. Both boxers start off in an orthodox stance. Khan goes with a body head combination but doesn’t land much. Crawford misses a check left hook, but follows it with a short left hook that partially lands. Khan comes forward with a double jab. Crawford is light on his feet. Khan misses with a two punch combination but lands a short left hook upstairs. Amir Khan throws out a few more jabs. Crawford lands a good short right hand and follows it with a two punch combination that knocks Amir Khan down. Crawford is looking for the knockout an dis pressing the pace. Khan is attempting to tie up at end of round and Crawford lands some heavy right hands as round comes to an end.

10-8 Crawford

Rd 2:

Khan was rattled as he walked to his corner in the previous round. Crawford paws out a few jabs and looks ready to surge forward. Khan circling away throwing out a few soft jabs. Khan with a two punch combination. Crawford throws out another two punch combination and bounces some off the guard of Khan. Khan lands a good straight right hand on Crawford. Khan is reaching for his punches a bit. Crawford lands another lead right hand and momentarily wobbles Khan. Crawford lands a good right to the body. Khan lands a good short left hook on Crawford. Khan may be recovered from that first round knockdown.

10-9 Crawford; 20-17 Crawford.

Rd 3:

Crawford lands an early jab. Khan comes forward and lands a good two punch combination. Crawford flicks out another jab and has Khan backing up. Crawford lands a good straight right hand. Khan lands a looping left hook. Crawford is controlling the territory of the ring. Khan’s hand speed is giving Crawford a little trouble. Crawford is more patient this round and looking for counters, but Khan may be stealing it by throwing first. Closer round.

10-9 Khan, 29-27 Crawford

Rd 4:

Crawford paws out a few jabs. Crawford in a southpaw stance. Crawford connects with a straight left hand. Crawford pawing out a few jabs, lands a good straight left hand. Khan lands a good multi punch combination upstairs on Crawford. Good body shot by Khan gets a tongue out response from Crawford. Khan rushes forward with a combination and Crawford ducks under. Khan lands a good straight right hand and Crawford answers with a combination to the body and head. Crawford’s punches do more damage than Khan. Crawford landing some heavy body shots on Khan. Khan getting hammered by Crawford. Good straight right by Khan at end of the round.

10-9 Crawford; 39-36 Crawford

Rd 5:

Crawford lands an early jab on Khan. Khan throws a double jab to the body of Crawford. Crawford lands a vicious two punch combination on Khan with his back against the ropes. Crawford lands a vicious right hook on Khan. Crawford starting to put a beating on Khan this round. Khan is reaching a bit for his punches, and Crawford makes him pay with good counters. Crawford with two more heavy shots to the body of Khan. Crawford looks extremely confident and barely misses with a windmill uppercut. Khan lands a reaching hook. Amir Khan lands a good right hand at the end of the round.

10-9 Crawford; 49-45 Crawford

Rd 6:

Khan misses with a jab to the body. Crawford is dictating the pace and barely misses with a two punch counter. Khan lunges forward on his attacks. Crawford lands a low blow and Khan visibly reacts. Khan is given time to recover.

The fight was stopped due to the low blow as Amir Khan is unable to continue.

The referee has to determine if the low blow was accidental or purposeful. If it is determined to be accidental the fight will go to the scorecards.

However, it appears the fight was not stopped due to a low blow, but due to Virgil Hunter asking Amir Khan if he wanted to continue and he said no. Therefore, Crawford gets a TKO victory since Amir Khan could not continue.

Terence Crawford wins by TKO at 0:47 of the sixth round.

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PBC on Fox Results: Garcia Stops Granados, Ruiz Stops Dimitrenko


By: Hans Themistode

What a statement!

Adrian Granados suffered the first stoppage loss of his career tonight at the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson California at the hands of Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs). Granados is known for his aggressive come forward style, along with his granite chin but that aforementioned chin could not hold up to the power of Garcia tonight. During the build up of the fight, Garcia warned Granados that he would do what others have not, and that is stop the Chicago native.

In round one Garcia came out aggressive. He landed a monster left hand that had his opponent visibly hurt. Not to be outdone, Granados landed a few good shots of his own but it was Garcia who thoroughly dominated the action early on.

The second round for the former two division world champion was a superb one. Garcia caught his man with a huge left hook, one that Granados did not see him coming. Shortly after Granados hit the deck. He managed to make to his feet and did not seem to be in serious trouble. Garcia gave his opponent no time to relax as a right hand by Garcia landed with just a few seconds left on the clock. Again, Granados hit the deck.

After a great round two, the rest of the contest was a bit more of a balanced playing field. Garcia continued to have more success than his opponent but Granados had his moments.

Garcia landed hard shot after hard shot which in turn made Granados back peddle for the majority of the contest. Round five saw Garcia score yet another knockdown, but once again Granados managed to jump back up to his feet.

As we went to round seven, it was becoming increasingly clear that Garcia was on his way to an easy decision victory. However, that was not enough as he poured on the power shots and combination punching which forced the referee to put a halt to the contest.

Granados has never been known as a world beater, but he has always been incredibly durable. He has faced former champion Adrian Broner and current WBC title holder Shawn Porter. Although he lost both of those contest he was never in any danger of being seriously hurt. Garcia put the rest of the Welterweight division on notice. Many have written him off, thinking that his days as a contender were over but think again.

Sure, Garcia had a dominant performance tonight but he isn’t the only one who performed at a high level as both Heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz Jr (32-1, 21 KOs) and Super Bantamweight fighter Brandon Figueroa (19-0, 14 KOs) dominated their opposition as well. For Ruiz he picked up a fifth round stoppage win over Alexander Dimitrenko (41-5, 26 KOs).

Dimitrenko just had no answers for Ruiz who was the much better boxer and had his hand speed on full display. Although Ruiz was at a large deficit in terms of height and reach, it didn’t matter tonight as Ruiz quite simply beat up his larger opponent to the tune of a fifth round stoppage.

Also on the card, Brandon Figueroa not only had a dominant performance but he also picked up the interim WBA Super Bantamweight title against Yonfrez Parejo (22-4-1, 11 KOs).

The contest started off close as both men had plenty of success. Through four rounds it was anybody’s contest. The fifth round however, changed the landscape of the fight as Figueroa hurt his man. The punishment continued as the rounds went by. After eight rounds Parejo could no longer continue and was forced to withdraw from the contest.

All three men made impressive statements tonight. They have all solidified their positions as top contenders in their respective divisions.

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A Crossroads Fight For Crawford and Khan


By: Oliver McManus

In less than 48 hours time Madison Square Garden will play host to the latest “super-fight” to grace the extravagant parlour synonymous with glamour boxing. Super fight is, perhaps, a little generous for the billing of Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan. Certainly there is a distinct favourite with Crawford fetching odds anywhere between 1/12 and 1/25 (-1200 / -2500 for those in the States). Make no mistake, however, this is not a mismatch such as in Rocky Fielding’s audacious bid to retain his WBA ‘Regular’ belt against Canelo Alvarez – that was, as they say, “daring to be great”. Khan and Crawford have, to a relative extent, already proved their credentials.

This will not be an analytical breakdown of how the contest may go, nor glossing over the legacies that either fighter has carved out for themselves. Indeed there’s plenty of pre-existing works out there – No Filter Boxing by BT Sport, a sterling example. Rather these are just my musings, splattered onto the internet.

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Crawford for me is one of the most criminally underrated boxers of the current generation. It seems a lifetime ago that he was back campaigning at lightweight – a division in which he claimed the WBO belt, initially, with a win over Ricky Burns. To think that was five years ago just boggles the brain but since then he’s claimed world titles at super lightweight and, his current division, welterweight. Of course he’s benefited from the WBO’s position on “super mandatories”, securing him an instant world title shot in each new division, but he’s still had to win the titles.

Not once could you say he’s struggled, either, certainly not when becoming undisputed with a resounding knockout victory over Julius Indongo. Materialistically that was the biggest fight of his career but, of course, Indongo was a flash in the pan when it came to his success. It’s safe to say that Omaha resident has never shied from a challenge but Amir Khan should be his stiffest opponent of his brief spell at welterweight and, arguably, since Viktor Postol in July 2016.

The question of Crawford’s position on the pound for pound list is a topic that is, rightly, hotly contested. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to have him poised at the top, given how untouchable he has looked throughout three weight divisions but, then, the same could be said for Naoya Inoue. It comes down to who he’s faced and Crawford’s resumé just doesn’t carry the same heft as that of Canelo, Vasyl Lomachenko or Oleksandr Usyk.

There are plenty of exciting fights available around the 147lb division and even a fight with, an ageing, Manny Pacquiao would be an intriguing contest. Throw in Errol Spence, Mikey Garcia and the crop that ESPN are starting to bring through – Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Kudratillo Abdukakhorov – and suddenly a pathway becomes clear.

Khan, for all his flaws, never seems to get the credit he deserves. The domestic media coverage of this contest has been notable by its absence with Matchroom Boxing, the official co-promoters for the show, seemingly flogging Khan as a dead-horse back to the American market. The ongoing “now or never” saga with the Kell Brook fight brings inevitable frustration to any boxing fan but regardless of what either protagonist says, the fight will always be there as one final payday. How interested the viewing public will be is a different question altogether.

To an extent the level of scorn directed at Khan is understandable, for a plethora of reasons that all vary in relevance. Look at his actual boxing record and it’s hard to brush him aside as easily as some may wish – he has competed with success from lightweight to welterweight and jumped at the chance to topple Canelo Alvarez. Likewise with Crawford, his desire to prove himself as a potential hall-of-famer is unquestionable but Khan has actively pursued, and been involved in, these bouts with far more vigour.

The fact that he was caught short by Canelo, in resounding fashion, was an unfortunately abrupt ending to an otherwise competent boxing display in which he was more than holding his own. It’s fair to say Khan has never been outboxed by any of his opponents, never beaten for work-rate or stamina, but his four losses have came via a combination of defensive frailties and heavy hands from his opponents.

Living in a “Mayweather-era”, as it is colloquially dubbed, often proves a disservice to many fighters actually willing to take a risk. Look back throughout the decades and all the best fighters from Ali, Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard, have taken losses because the fear of taking a beating simply didn’t exist. Khan, in that respect, is a fighter from the history books and this fight against Crawford simply reiterates that.

It is, in all reality, his last chance at re-capturing a bona fide world title and I find it hard to ever do away with the chances of the Bolton-fighter as a result of his natural fighting ability that has earned him his stripes as an amateur professional. He made the more prosperous start to proceedings against Canelo and you’d favour him to do the same on Saturday but will he be able to sustain that pressure before Crawford figures him out?

Disregarded, almost, the point of derision. Amir Khan has got to go down as one of the best British fighters since the 1990s and I say that with gritted teeth for cannot claim to have ever warmed to him.

His latest challenge might well be one too many bites of the cherry but, equally, it could be the sweetest yet.

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Transcript of Top Rank on ESPN Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan Media Conference Call


Top Rank on ESPN blow-by-blow commentator Joe Tessitore, analysts – former two-division world titleholder, Tim Bradley and former pound-for-pound two-division world champion, Andre Ward, participated in a media conference call yesterday to discuss the welterweight showdown between pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford vs. former unified 140-pound champion Amir “King” Khan. Crawford-Khan will mark the first PPV event under the Top Rank on ESPN banner on Saturday, April 20 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Madison Square Garden.

A transcript of the conference call follows:

JOE TESSITORE: Thank you so much, and welcome, everybody. We’re thrilled as a production team to have this night. I sit there and you get the introduction there, and I hear we’re coming on the air with ESPN2 at 6 o’clock, knowing we’re coming on Pay-Per-View 9 o’clock.

So, now I’m sitting here looking at this bout sheet saying, holy cow, we’ve got to broadcast nine fights. This is unbelievable here, just the workload. But here’s what I love about Saturday night. And we’ll get into the main event plenty. When we put forth this relationship with Top Rank, one of the major themes was we’re going to serve the boxing fan really, really well.

And I think we all collectively feel good about what’s been accomplished since we went on the air with Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn from Australia a couple summers ago right through the past year, with the growth and development of ESPN+, with what we’ve been doing on ESPN. And I’m so sick of hearing my voice on a 30-second commercial promo right now on ESPN this week, and I’m sure everybody else is, too. But what it shows you is an unbelievable commitment from the network to put this sport forward the way it always should have been in the course of the last 25 to 30 years — that the role this support now plays on the landscape of American sports is back to what it always was, of being a very mainstream.

And this night really over-delivers to the fans, and we’re really excited about it. We just got done having our production meetings with all the fighters. And as much as we have arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, an undefeated fighter, a generational talent in Bud Crawford against a global star, a well-marketed, former champion who still has tons of speed and skill and athleticism to make this a very competitive fight. We have a Pay-Per-View card that’s worthy of a Pay-Per-View card because you have rising undefeated stars, you have intrigue and next-generational talent kind of guys cars in Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez both taking step-up fights. And we feel like we’re going to over-deliver to the fans on Saturday night.

And I think in recent years — and, listen, this is ESPN’s first venture in this relationship of stepping into Pay-Per-View — in recent years you haven’t been able to say that about the sport, whether living in the corner of premium cable or whether living in the world of Pay-Per-View, which for the most part was economic relief for promoters and networks rather than really delivering a hefty night to the fans.

And we feel from 6 o’clock through or past midnight on Saturday night we are going to serve the fan. And that is first and foremost.

Now, the primary way we’re going to serve the fan is two very determined world-class fighters being in the ring at the end of all of that.

Just moments ago Bud Crawford and Amir Khan left the room that we’re sitting in now. I’ll let Tim and Andre tell you what they’re seeing, what they’re thinking, what they expecting in the fight. But here’s what I do know: We’re getting two guys at their absolute prime, at their absolute best, the version of each of them.

We got a very surly, and nasty Bud Crawford sit with us before, and we’ve had that version of Bud Crawford sit with us in production meetings before. And when you get that version of Bud Crawford, you get a serious ending to a fight that’s memorable.

And we have Amir Khan feeling that right now, 33 wins into his career, fighting in a weight class where he’s undefeated, feeling a sense of maturity, having a 12-week training camp with Virgil Hunter, he sits here and he tells us that he’s completely ready.

And then you hear the deference shown from Bud Crawford of recognizing Amir Khan’s physical gifts — his boxing skills, his legs, his straight punches, his fighting prowess — and I have a feeling that this fight, as it draws closer, is much more than how it was perceived when it was first signed.

Anytime you go up against a guy like Vasiliy Lomachenko or Bud Crawford, I don’t care who is opposite them, the early perception of the fight is, ah, man, we know what’s going to happen here. Listen, I have great intrigue as to what’s going to happen in the first six to eight rounds of this fight.

Much like we’ve seen other times with Amir Khan. Tell me about an Amir Khan fight that you’ve ever seen — listen, the guy went all the way up to 160 pounds against Canelo Alvarez; he’s never in a bad fight.

And I think we’re getting the absolute best version of him here. I want to turn it over to Tim.

TIM BRADLEY: I’m just glad to be here, one. And also after last week, looking at arguably the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the game, Lomachenko, now we’re coming back this week to look at Terence Bud Crawford, and we get to compare the two.

Different opponents but I love the fact that we get to compare the two, and the fans at home that’s going to be watching, they’ll get a show from Bud Crawford and Amir Khan.

I want to see if the fans at home can pick after watching Bud Crawford, their number one pound-for-pound — that’s what I’m interested in. And I want to see if Amir Khan still has a lot left in the tank. I want to see how well he prepared. And if he has the ability still to compete at the welterweight division.

ANDRE WARD: So I don’t know what else I can say that Joe and Tim haven’t said. But I will say I’m also excited about calling this fight on ESPN Pay-Per-View. I read a headline the other day that, basically it was a writer saying something to the effect — and he (writer) may be on this call right now — but something to the effect that he’s predicting or hoping for, you know, a failure for this Pay-Per-View.

And that’s just not the type of headline that should be written when we’re — the collective goal is to push this sport forward and to grow this sport.

And this type of card, this type of event is going to do that. And just like Joe said, from top to bottom, you have Verdejo, who is trying to reclaim the glory he once had. He doesn’t have one championship round under his belt. And he’s literally fighting for his boxing future to show the people that he’s still El Diamante, that he still has what it takes to be a champion one day.

Obviously you have a young man that I’m familiar with, Shakur Stevenson, who is — he wants to be in the top spot. He’s on the fast track. The team, Top Rank and obviously myself and the other managers, we’d like him to probably take a slower route. But in this day and age, man, the young fighters they want to move a lot faster. He has what it takes, but it’s not going to be easy against Diaz.

Diaz challenged for a world title not too long ago. He came up short. But he obviously showed that he’s in the running. He deserves to be in the race to be facing the top in the division. And he wants to show Shakur that Shakur picked the wrong contender to pick on.

You obviously have Teofimo Lopez, the co-main event. He’s in the peculiar position where, yes, he’s getting a lot of headlines; yes, he can fight. No doubt about that. But people still have questions, as they will for the course of his career, that’s how it goes.

How good is he and can he back up the big talk? And this is pressure that he and his father have heaped upon themselves. I respect it. It’s not an easy thing to do. You have enough pressure as is just being a young prospect with a hot name.

And they’re not only doing that, but they’re calling out guys like Lomachenko, who, again, depending on where you are on the pound-for-pound list or how you put either fighter, Crawford or Loma, he may be the best guy or number two, they’re calling for that guy. They’re not just saying we’re willing to face them; they’re demanding the fight.

That’s a lot of pressure to live up to and they’re doing it and I respect it. Whether you agree with it or not.

And then our main event, between Amir Khan and Terrance Crawford, I know Amir very well. It’s well publicized that he’s with my team. He has pretty much my whole team in the Bay Area.

Amir Khan is a silver medalist. The goods have always been there physically. But in the biggest moments he hasn’t been able to put it all together. And Amir’s issue is not information. It’s not knowing what to do or being told what to do. It’s always application; can he do it in the biggest moment?

And the question I would have for Amir Khan going into this fight is simply is it more important for you to prove to the people, the masses, the fans, the media how tough you are, or that you can take punishment, or that you’re a guy that has heart? Or is it more important to actually win the fight?

Because winning this fight, regardless of how he wins it, is really the only thing that’s going to extend his career.

Terrance Crawford, he has superseded just being in the discussion about fighting for titles. He’s done that. He’s been the undisputed champion at 140. He has plenty of belts. He’s in the position where every fight matters. And not just winning but how he wins, it matters when you’re in the discussion for pound-for-pound elite status, because clearly that is irrespective of weight class.

And every move, every performance is going to be scrutinized as it should be if you’re going to be in that discussion. So he’s not without pressure going into this fight. He not only has to win but he has to dominate and I would probably venture to say he probably needs a knockout to stay in that top conversation because of the history of Amir Khan.

Fans and media are going to match his performance up against every other top guy that Amir has fought. And that’s why I say — and I probably would never go on the record or at least up until this point I’ve yet to be on the record to say a guy needs a knockout — but because of Amir’s tasks he’s going to need that type of performance if he’s going to stay in the top spot or, for people who have number two, to supersede Loma. So here we are.

Q. Can you give fans your predictions for the fight goes the distance, many are predicting Kahn will KO. What if he doesn’t?

ANDRE WARD: If Khan is not KOed, I still believe Terence has more than enough ability to get the job done because of his style. He’s able to make adjustments in the ring. That’s why he’s considered among one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the game.

Amir Khan has that amateur pedigree. He’s fought some tough guys. He does have a better resumé than Terence Crawford as far as opponents goes. But Amir Khan hasn’t really performed at the welterweight level, like Jake was saying, just yet. This is the big test at the welterweight division.

And if it does go the distance like I told you I think that Terence Crawford will win the decision without a doubt.

Bradley: I think I’ll answer the question. But I’ll reiterate what I said a few minutes ago. Obviously, a win is all that matters to Team Crawford. That’s what it’s about. That’s where the next payday comes. That’s where the next opportunity comes. You have to win. That’s first and foremost.

And I don’t believe personally that — obviously a knockout is better than a decision. That goes without saying. But I don’t think he feels like it’s a knockout or bust.

What I’m saying is in the eyes of most media members, and in the eyes of a lot of the fans, based on Amir Khan’s history, he’s going to be compared — the performance Saturday night is going to be compared to the other guys that stopped, the other three guys that stopped Amir Khan. And I still believe that if he dominated every round, he’s still at the top of the pound-for-pound list. But once again the reality is that the Crolla-Loma fight, whether you agree or not, whether I agree or not, is going to be compared to the Crawford-Khan fight.

So he’s in a tricky position, but this is a good position to be in. These are the waters you want to be in if you’re in the discussion, if you are dealing with the scrutiny of arguably being the best fighter in the world. That’s not something haphazard. That’s not something you just gloss over. That’s a big deal. But this is the kind of pressure that comes with it. We’ll see how the fight comes out.

TIM BRADLEY: And to piggyback off what Dre is saying, if you look at any of the top welterweights in the division — you know, you’ve got Errol Spence, Thurman and Shawn Porter — you look at these guys — Danny García, García has already knocked out Kahn.

If you match them with Kahn, you would bet that they would knock Kahn out. So it puts a lot of pressure on Terence Bud Crawford to get the knockout Saturday night.

ANDRE WARD: I’ll throw one more thing in there. If Canelo would have won a decision against Amir Kahn there would have been some boo birds. There would have been some people, a lot of critics saying, hey, this guy moved up to 160 — and I know it was two weight classes — but he moved up to 160 and you couldn’t stop him when he’s been stopped in the past?

Again, this is the reality of the situation. He’s going to be — this performance Saturday night is going to be compared not just to the other fights that Amir’s fought, but specifically the guys who have knocked him out. Everybody is going to match that up to the Crawford performance and say, oh, this is your pound-for-pound best. Well he didn’t do XYZ and that’s the name of the game and that’s how it goes.

Q. Tim, being that you’ve done big Pay-Per-Views and a lot of pressure has been on you, how much pressure is it on the Terence Crawford to deliver a spectacular performance even though he’s already knocked out the guy that knocked out Amir Kahn?

TIM BRADLEY: You know, being at the top level and to be mentioned in the top pound-for-pound, there’s always a lot of pressure. You know, this is Crawford’s second Pay-Per-View. There’s a lot of expectations from not only the media but also the boxing fans, the boxing world, (indiscernible) that he’s facing, Amir Khan, and the history of Khan in big fights and him being knocked out. So there’s a lot of pressure on Terrance Crawford going into this fight.

I have to say this, man. Khan is not as easy as everybody thinks. This fight is not going to be as easy as everybody thinks it’s going to be. Khan is highly motivated. He’s at a point in his career where he needs a fighter to get him up, and Terence Crawford is that guy. He’s that guy that, he has to dream about every single night for three months. And a guy that he should fear, because he knows what can happen because of the history that Khan has been in and has gone through. So Khan’s going to be ready more than what everybody thinks that he’s going to be.

He’s going to fight smart. He’s going to fight hard. He’s going to give Terence Crawford a challenge. There’s one thing that Terence Crawford does that kind of worries me a little bit is that when he’s in close, sometimes he pulls away with his hands out leaving himself exposed for a left hook from a little bit too close.

You can’t do that against a guy like Khan who is an Olympian, who has been in there with some top guys in the world without paying the price.

So I’m curious to see if Terence Crawford has fixed that. And I’m curious to see if Khan can make him pay for his mistakes.

Q. How much does a fighter think about doing a big Pay-Per-View like this leading up to the fight, how much does it factor into his psyche?

TIM BRADLEY: His psyche? Well, if you’re real, just put it this way, if you’re real you’ve got to be able to deal with the pressure. But I could tell you this: My first Pay-Per-View, when I fought against the best fighter pound-for-pound, Manny Pacquiao, at the time, I could tell you what Khan’s feeling right now, being the B side of things.

I felt like I was fighting against King Kong. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Everybody was expecting me to get knocked out against Manny Pacquiao. It was a lot of pressure, man.

I just had to relax, put it that way. I spoke to some of my friends who have been around boxing for a long time. They told me, Tim, just relax.

But the lead-up, in your hotel room, when you step foot on the scale, after that, man, it becomes a reality, man. And it can definitely hinder your performance when you step foot in the ring.

I have to say, another thing is that last week when we saw Lomachenko against Crolla — Crolla can say whatever he wants about not being nervous and not being scared, he didn’t fight that way from the opening bell.

Crolla fought scared. The bright lights got to him. And that can happen. That could very well happen.

But I don’t think it’s going to happen in this fight. Khan’s been here before. He’s been here before. He’s been in big events. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think he’ll be fine.

Q. Andre, you said Crawford has a willingness to exchange, and this could be one of his emphasis. How can Amir Kahn exploit and capitalize on this?

ANDRE WARD: I think what I said was something to the effect of, Terence Crawford gets overeager at times, or if he gets hit he wants to get the punch back right away. So, instead of Terence in a particular instance showing 2s and 3s or a 3 and a 4, he’ll try to throw a 5 and 6. And on the 5 and 6 punch, he’ll exchange with the guys and he’ll tend to get caught at times.

That could be good and bad. The negative is you get hit. The positive is you were in range to do damage as well.

To sum this fight up in a nutshell, this fight is about the second and third adjustment. The first game plan they might match up evenly in the first round or two. But it’s the second adjustment that Terence is going to make, and the question and the burden and the onus is going to be on Khan — can he keep up, can he make the other adjustments?

And when Terence makes another adjustment, can Amir Khan make that adjustment? That’s where Amir sometimes gets left in the dust in those bigger fights against better competition, is they make the second or third adjustment. He doesn’t realize the process that, yo, this guy is setting me up for a big shot. Amir is going along to get along. He’s being sassed, he’s being what he is, he’s doing what he normally does, using a lot of athleticism, a lot of skill, the things he woke up and came out of the crib with.

But when it comes to digging deep mentally and saying, whoa, this guy is trying to set me up because he wants me to throw that right hand so he can come over the top with a left hook.

That’s what he’s been unable to do. I’m not sure if he can get that at this stage in his career. I know my godfather and my former coach has been working on that. He’s been doing his part on that. But, again, the issue with Amir Khan is not the information. It’s the application. He has the information. He’ll say the right things. He’s been in camp 10 weeks or 12 weeks, whatever it’s been.

I don’t have the entourage anymore. I’m focused. I know how important this fight is. So when the lights come on and the bell rings, and you get past that first adjustment where Terence starts to get out a little bit, what is Amir Kahn going to do?

Q. You mentioned you already met with Khan and Crawford. Anything standing with them looking in their eyes that changes or confirms your outlook for Saturday?

JOE TESSITORE: I’ll just reinforce the one observation I made a few times when we’ve had Bud in these production meetings. But there is a surly, mean streak that grows within him as you get closer to a fight like this, with Bud Crawford. And it was festering already today.

We usually have these production meetings on Friday where it’s very, very pronounced when you’re with him. It was already there today.

The other observation I would have is both guys are physically primed. When we throw, you know, the fit and ready around, they are fit and ready. So they’ve been on weight. So they’re comfortably eating, comfortably hydrating. You’re getting a very good physical version of both guys.

I would also say that Amir Khan as well as Virgil Hunter talked plenty about focus and discipline and attentiveness to what’s happening here. And Amir going so far as saying how much he’s even changed his fightweek norm, that last night that he found himself staying in and watching fights, watching some of his past fights, watching some of his sparring on tape and watching some of Crawford’s old fights. And he said in previous big fightweeks that would not be the case as to how he spent a Wednesday night. It would be family, it would be friends, it would be the gathering of everybody coming into town for the fight

So my personal takeaway is that you’re getting guys who are at their physical prime prepared peak and their mental prime prepared peak. That was my biggest takeaway.

Listen, we sit there, we go deep. I tend to think he’s conversations that we have in production meetings go far more philosophical and reflective than most any sport I do. And when I’m sitting there with Bill Belichick or Sean McVay getting ready to do Monday Night Football, it’s all scheme, all XO, it’s all personnel, it’s all where you are in the prep for the week.

These conversations go far deeper into the psyche, into the essence of somebody’s being. And with both of these guys you’re saying they’re A to A-plus, where they are right now.

ANDRE WARD: Just my takeaway, I’ll start with Amir Khan. You have to give Amir Khan credit because there’s not a lot of fighters that could have gone through what he’s gone through in the boxing ring and also the scrutiny he’s dealt with outside the ring.

And I’m talking about the personal scrutiny he gets, I’m talking about his in-ring performances. And he’s still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He’s still hopeful. He’s still fighting to make the necessary adjustments in his personal life, as a fighter.

I wasn’t around his training camp. I personally stayed away. I wasn’t around Terence’s camp either. I’m friends with both guys. I wanted to stay neutral as possible.

But I know instinctively that Amir Khan didn’t have an easy camp with his sparring partners. I know he had to fight every single day to keep these guys off of him. And I respect that. And I know that there’s been a disconnect between the information and application, like I said earlier,
but he truly believes he’s going to win. Amir Khan, even in his worst outing, you haven’t seen a guy turn tail and go the other way.

You haven’t seen a guy quit like — if you beat him, if you even stop him, you’re going to do have to do what a Canelo did, what a Danny García did. That’s literally what you’ll have to do to make him stop fighting. And even though stylistically and technically things aren’t perfect all the time and that’s the reason why those things happen, I respect the moxie and the willingness. And Amir Khan has shown more willingness by taking this fight than a lot of champions have shown over the last three or four or five years. And their efforts or lack of efforts to face the other top guys in their division.

Terence Crawford, I don’t mean to inject myself into this — but I see a lot of myself in him when I look at him two days before a fight, a day before a fight.

He’s not a guy that’s just fighting for bills, he’s not just fighting for money. That’s fine. That’s part of it. It’s prize fighting. He comes to get that as well. But he’s fighting for respect.

And when you have that chip on your shoulder, when you have that inclination that you’re not getting what you feel like you’ve rightfully earned, that’s a different type of fuel. That’s like what you saw in Aaron Pryor when he fought Alexis Arguello the first time and even the second time.

Alexis came in as the golden boy and everyone praised him. And Aaron Pryor was the young guy who had done a lot but yet didn’t have the respect. He came from the ghetto of Cincinnati. And it was one thing that set him off. And that really led to Arguello’s demise in that fight, if you watch “Legendary Nights,” is the ring announcer said, “Mr. Arguello” when he announced Alexis, and he just said “Aaron Pryor.”

It was that small thing that 99 percent of the people watching on television, the people inside the stadium would have missed, but because he felt marginalized, because he felt slighted, because he felt like the just due had never really been there even though he earned it, it was that little bit of fuel that caused him to do what he did to Alexis. And that’s the same material that Terence Crawford has inside of him.

Q. For Amir, fighting late in your career as an underdog, what’s going to be the physical/mental mindset to succeed on Saturday? And also in the blog world, people are saying even the best Amir Khan, Amir in his prime, that they would still pick Crawford over him. But is this version of Amir, the veteran that’s hungry to return, is this the best version that has the best chance of winning against Crawford?

TIM BRADLEY: Absolutely. At this point in Amir Khan’s career, when you have won championships, when you have earned the money, like I’ve said before, you need these type of fights to get you up for it, to get you back doing what you used to do.

And he went back with Virgil to get that education to be ready for this fight against Terence Crawford.

I can’t praise Khan enough, just like Dre (Andre Ward) said, his willingness to fight the best fighters in the world all the time is hard, fighting against Danny García, who is undefeated, and Marcos Maidana, and still, Khan passed on a big fight with Kell Brook for millions and millions of dollars to face the pound-for-pound, my number one pound-for-pound fighter in the game, Terence Bud Crawford. So that speaks volumes for a guy like Amir Khan. And what I saw during the fighters meeting, I saw a focused, very determined Amir Khan — kind of changed my outlook on the fight.

This fight I think is going to be a tougher fight than what everybody are saying. I think that Amir understands what he has to do and what he has to be. I think he had great preparation for this fight, after talking with him, after speaking with him.

And I think it’s going to be a very competitive fight very early. He just can’t get caught with the big shots. Amir Khan, I believe, will be in this fight if he doesn’t get caught with the big shot from Crawford.

And as far as Crawford goes, it’s always the same with him. He can destroy. That’s the only thing on his mind right now. It’s fightweek. He’s a very humble guy. But you don’t want to get under Crawford’s skin the week of the fight. One of my colleagues here asked the wrong question or said the wrong thing to him and Crawford snapped off at him and said, “Don’t you disrespect me. Don’t you disrespect me.” And it was just as simple as, hey, this is your first Pay-Per-View fight. And he’s, like, no, no, no. It’s my second.

He’s determined to hold onto his status as one of the top fighters in the game. No other welterweight wants to step up and face Bud Crawford. They keep saying that they’re the best, and Crawford is willing to prove it and to step up in the ring with him.

But these guys, they keep running from him. They don’t want to fight Terence Bud Crawford. So Crawford is fighting Khan now because he is the only one man enough to stand up, to face Bud Crawford. And like I said, I think it’s going to be a great fight. I think everybody’s sleeping on this one.

Q. Tim and Andre, what did you find the toughest thing about making the transition from the ring to being ringside calling the fights and doing commentary?

TIM BRADLEY: For me, the toughest thing was not giving away the fighter. When you break the fighters down, sometimes we can say a little bit too much about the fighter and expose them. That’s been the hardest transition for me.

And also just the flow. The flow alone has been really tough, the commentary, the flow — getting your words together, saying things the right way has been a challenge, very challenging for me.

ANDRE WARD: You mean more like what the actually craft of being an analyst or just personally, like what did you mean exactly?

Q. Craft first but personal observation is welcome.

ANDRE WARD: I’ve had the opportunity throughout the years to do this. I worked at HBO for many, many years, Showtime back in the day. I actually started off with the “World Series of Boxing.” I would fly out to LA. I did it for free just to get the reps in.

But this is a whole other level in terms of the platform. This is a whole other level as far as, like, how many shows I’m actually calling. Like, I would do maybe five shows a year with HBO. This is on a whole other level.

And the quality of the product that ESPN is demanding that we put out, it causes you to have to get better, have to raise the bar. Joe Tessitore, I tell him all the time, I’m just so grateful for just a mentorship. Joe Tess is who he is. We all know who he is and what he’s accomplished and what he’s currently doing.

But he’ll be in the middle of his prep, he’ll stop typing and look over to us and talk to us for however long we need to talk and then he’ll resume his preparation.

So the standard is high. The product should be high. But it’s also a good thing, too, for — I’ll speak for me and I’ll probably venture to speak for Tim, too, tell me if I’m wrong — like, this is good for us, coming from where we came from, the competitiveness, the need to have a mark and try to meet that mark. It’s been good for me, because that same competitiveness, I like to call myself a recovering perfectionist.

ANDRE WARD: But I have moments in here where one thing will be off and they’ll see me just be hypersensitive over it. And Joe will just look at me and say, ha, I got a glimpse of the fighter Andre Ward and what his trainer had to deal with.

That part is good. And then just emotionally I would say it’s good that — I would say that I have some nights where I’m calling a fight, and I’m, like, huh, I’m glad I’m on this side of the ropes and not inside the ring. I don’t want to have to deal with that anymore.

And there’s other nights where I’m, like, man, I wish I was the one walking out from that curtain and I wish I was the fighter they were talking about.

So it’s a process. But it’s a process that all of us — guys who were going to retire at some point — we’ve got to go through this, whether we’re over the hill and retired too late or we retired at the right time.

So I’m embracing it. I’m happy to be a part. But it’s a good thing for me to have a challenge at this point in my life.

TIM BRADLEY: Yeah, this is definitely keeping me out of the ring and returning back. And also, one more thing, it’s hard sometimes not to be a little bit too critical on the fighters coming up and the fighters in the ring.

It’s hard to really find the balance for me, being just kind of, just a little bit too critical on what they’re not doing or what they can improve on. So I’ve got to — I’m still trying to find that balance where I’m giving praise and I’m also being a little bit critical.

Q. Joe, you’ve worked with a lot of athletes turned commentators. Give these gentleman a grade.

JOE TESSITORE: It’s interesting you say that, because this is obviously our first full year of being a broadcast team together in a three-man booth, and I’m just coming off a Monday Night Football season with a three-man booth, which was highly scrutinized as has been a cottage industry off to the side of Monday Night Football, going back to the days of Cosell and Meredith and Gifford.

And in the span of one year I’ve had this experience of “retired hall of famer coming to broadcasting three-man booth in one sport and retired hall of famers coming to broadcast in a three-man booth in another.”

And the greatest difference with Andre and Tim is how comfortable and natural they are meshing and grooving together like the same way they would be sitting on a couch watching a fight. And it happened right away with them. It didn’t have to evolve. It didn’t have to grow.

Yes, as every week goes by there’s refinement and things are smoothed out and the TV acumen and skill set and television IQ fully develops. But, right from the start you’re dealing with two guys who understand how to mesh together, and their boxing brains are so elite and they’re so comfortable that it makes my job really, really easy.

They’re very coachable. They both want to be coached. They both sit back and they broadcast — as I often talk to my analysts, no matter what sport I’m doing — of broadcasting with your eyes up, of just looking, being aware and reacting.

The reason that they’re hired is because they’re two of the foremost experts in the world. They’re two of the best that have ever done it generationally recently. And when they broadcast with their eyes up and see and say and tell us the why and how and the what to look for, they’re excellent, which is what they’ve done.

I sit back oftenand if you listen to our broadcast style as a crew right now, what you often get is I sit back and listen to these two great champions just talk and observe.

And then when it’s necessary I will get in and give you the blow-by-blow or advance the storyline, as was the case with our Lomachenko fight the other day, where we have the great flurry by Lomachenko, the punishment against the ropes, the technical knockdown scored, the confusion, was it a TKO or not? And these guys are smart enough to lay out, let me do my job and get out of the way.

But with how young they are and how hard they work and the positions they now hold in boxing, because the broadcast landscape of the sport drastically changed in the course over the last 12 months. HBO World Championship Boxing is out of business. ESPN Top Rank is in business.

So these seats that had been held by years and years by so many familiar faces from Larry Merchant on through are now held by these two men. And they’re more than worthy of it, and I have a feeling that we’re going to be having this conversation 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now, as now multiple generations will go forward as fight fans with Tim and Andre being the voices and the brains and the faces of the sport.

And that’s a very good thing for the sport because they celebrate the athlete. They’re able to be critical. They are able to be analytical.

They give you a reason to watch. Tim is one of the ultimate characters, so joyful, absolutely irreverent, he doesn’t care what he says or how he says it, he’s going to be his natural self.

Andre is so analytical and so smart and so cerebral and has a boxing computer for a brain. And I would tell you what he’s doing now with his ESPN+ work, which is ESPN’s commitment akin to what we have with Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez and Peyton Manning, he’s as good as I’ve seen the sport put forth in my years of being in the sport.

And the more you watch that material, the higher education you have as a fight fan and the more interests you have in watching the fight. I couldn’t be more thrilled with both of these guys.

You want to sincerely grade them out right now, I would tell they’re B pluses to A minuses with, in a sense and a trajectory that undoubtedly will have them as straight A broadcasters for years and years to come.

And I truly believe that. And I’m just honored to be able to work with them at this stage of my career, where I can play a little bit of a role of mentor and lodestar and educate them on television production and be by their side as colleagues and friends.

So that’s a very long answer to say you’re about to see a long run of the two biggest guys who are going to be kicking ass in broadcasting boxing on television for the next 20 years.

Q. Andre, you had a great point about Amir Khan, how fighting is more — he has the information, but it’s more about the implementation. Why do you think that is? For both of you guys, if you want to piggyback that question, why do you think that is?

ANDRE WARD: You can focus outside the ring. Lack of focus outside the ring will lead to a lack of focus inside the ring. You can point to efficiency, in the way you start. You can rope and pull for a lot of different things, but nobody really fully knows what that missing link is.

But it’s clear when there’s a link missing, a wire missing that’s stopping the whole mental functionality that he needs to go from round 1 to round 12, the way he needs to. Doesn’t mean he won’t get hit or dropped or have moments, but it’s not a catastrophe all of a sudden. That’s a lack of focus.

Personally, I know it’s easier said than done, but I actually did it so I can say it. I saw what Canelo was doing before he did it. I knew that was the shot he wanted.

And I could see Amir Khan slowly getting drained by the body shots, by the foot pressure, by Canelo cutting the ring off. Even the shots that Canelo missed took a lot out of Amir because he was able to work so hard to get out of the way, but then he could hear the punch whizzing by his face.

That’s all for us to dream. And then I would see Canelo doing the things he likes to do where he’ll slick a jab out to the side just to get your attention over there as a diversion but the shot he really wants is the right hand.

So I saw it coming, but for whatever reason in that moment, or in those moments, it’s been very, very difficult for Amir Khan to process what’s happening, compute it, and then make the adjustment.

TIM BRADLEY: What he just said, I think it’s a technical flaw in that Amir Khan still has that amateur pedigree, never really escaped it. He throws combinations. He opts in, opts out with combinations. He’s a one-trick pony. He has the speed, he has good punching power in his right hand, but for some apparent reason, he doesn’t have the sense of judging distance. So you see Amir Khan every now and then, there’s knockouts. You see him standing still, coming in, getting out, trying to escape from a shot and gets hit in the process or gets hit while in the process of punching.

And that has a lot to do with how he was taught. As far as discipline goes, staying focused, staying concentrated, that’s just something that you have to practice. You have to practice that in the gym.

That’s the reason why I think going back to Virgil, Virgil Hunter is more cerebral. He’s about the fundamentals and getting into his fighter’s head and controlling them to do what they need to do to win a fight, a round like this.

And that’s the reason why I think Kahn has a really good chance of winning this fight because he’s with Virgil. And if he can just stay focused for every minute of every round, I think he can compete with Terence Crawford with the skill set that he brings and also the hand speed and power.

Q. Both you guys have had signature wins in your careers. Obviously you guys are a first round hall of famers. For Terence Crawford to obviously legitimize himself as number one pound-for-pound, is this fight with Amir Kahn, is this the signature win that you guys think he needs to solidify himself as number one?

ANDRE WARD: I think that both these guys, I think Khan and Crawford needs this fight. The reason why Crawford needs this fight is he needs a marquee name on his resume.

And the fact that Amir Khan was the only that was willing to step up and face him in the welterweight division, you can’t dismiss the fact that Crawford, hey, I’m stepping up, this is what I get. None of these other guys want to fight me. So if it’s Amir Khan, then so be it. But the fact that Khan hasn’t lost in the welterweight division yet, the fact that Khan has a good name, you know, he’s fighting Crawford, I don’t think that — just put it this way, if Crawford doesn’t get rid of Khan, then there’s going to be a lot of people talking.

A lot of people are going to be talking. And probably including yourself, because when you really look at the landscape, when you really look at the landscape of the welterweight division — you know, Danny García, Thurman and Errol Spence — all these guys should, if you match them up with Khan, should knock him out. There’s a lot of pressure on Crawford to get this knockout.

TIM BRADLEY: I already have Terence Crawford at the top of my list, so I don’t think he’s this victory to solidify. In my mind he solidified at least at the moment. But I do think this is good for the naysayers. This is good for the record to have a guy like Amir Khan on the record if he’s successful on Saturday. I think it does a lot for just popularity. There are some Amir Khan fans that if Terence wins will become Terence Crawford fans. And there’s some people who loosely follow the sport that will tune in because they like Amir, they’re hearing a lot about the promotion, and they’ll tune in and become a Terence Crawford fan.

When you’re facing a guy with a big name, even though, like Tim said, Khan hasn’t fought a top welterweight to this point, he still has the name recognition from the Olympics, to everything he’s done as a pro. He still brings the UK with him. He still brings the European market. I think it will do more for his namesake than it will for anything else.

Q. Terence Crawford a while back made a very, very strong claim about black fighters having to be more vociferous or more boisterous to get the recognition. What do you guys think on that? Do you think that he was fair in that statement?

ANDRE WARD: Listen, I’ll say this, and I’ve talked about this in the past, there has been a difference. If you look — it’s not every media outlet. It’s not the order of the day as it pertains to boxing, but there are times, and I’ve experienced it, and studied the sport long before I became a professional, I’ve studied the Floyd Mayweathers and studied certain things in certain fighters throughout the course of their careers.

And obviously I had my own experience when I turned pro. There are moments where smiling and waving and being soft-spoken doesn’t seem to be enough at times for African-American fighters and then you will have fighters who may come from another country who come to the United States, the land of opportunity and maybe they don’t speak English and they’re still learning their English, they get promoted and they get pushed. You don’t always see that with an African-American fighter and some of that has to do — some of that is not on the press. Some of that is not on the media, it’s on African-Americans. Its on, you know when you look at like Floyd Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather was Pretty Boy Floyd for many years. He wasn’t accepted as Pretty Boy Floyd. He didn’t sell Pay-Per-Views as Pretty Boy Floyd. But when he became the villain and became Money Mayweather, then all of a sudden this is a guy we’d love to hate and we’ll tune in to watch him lose. It worked for him.

Personally, me, I wasn’t willing to compromise my beliefs. I wasn’t willing to compromise who I was as a person, and I was — I always fought in my career with the end in sight. I knew — I knew instinctively the day is going to come when I walk away from this sport, and what am I left with? I wasn’t willing to sacrifice being able to go to my kids’ school and be respected.

I wasn’t willing to create some monster that I was going to have to live with when my career was over for the sake of selling a few more Pay-Per-Views and selling a few more seats.

That was my stance on it. So now you have Terence Crawford who kind of feels the same way. He’s a soft-spoken guy, and I think the question he’s asking — that’s not for me to answer — is why don’t I get this? Why don’t I get the respect I deserve or at least to the level in which I feel I deserve it, even though I’m soft-spoken when maybe guys over here get it and they’re soft-spoken.

So yes, I have seen some of this. I’ve spoken about this in the past. But I want to make it clear, it is not for every media outlet. And it’s not for every fan. There are a lot of objective fans. And there are media members who do a great job and they’re objective and race never comes into the equation; it’s just about the fighters and how good they are and what they’ve done and haven’t done, and that’s where it should be and that’s where it should stay.

TIM BRADLEY: I just think it’s funny you say that because Floyd Mayweather got criticism for many years and still is getting criticism because he’s a defensive fighter and people say the style he runs, he’s always running, he’s not entertaining.

But you’ve got a good like Terence Bud Crawford that’s knocking out everybody he gets in the ring with and still not getting the exposure he feels and some people feel that he deserves, rightly deserves. All I can tell you is that all he needs to continue to do is do his job and he can worry about everything else, let somebody else worry about everything else because Terence Crawford continuously delivers and it doesn’t matter who he fights or what he does, he still doesn’t get the recognition that he feels and that I feel as well.

It’s just a process, man. I’ve been in it. When I fought, I fought guys — still my career right now, after my career people try to downplay what I’ve done in the sport of boxing. And I gotta bring it to their attention and tell them like, hey, I’ve done this, I’ve done this, you must have forgotten.

It’s really quick for people to not remember, to forget once you leave the sport, what a person did at their time, at their era. In their generation. So I don’t know what it is, bro. I don’t know why it’s this way, but it is.

ANDRE WARD: And I’ll just add to what Tim said and also add to what I said earlier, the race thing is very tricky. And you have to be very, very sensitive, because you may not be getting credit for a particular fight you won or just in general you may not be getting your just do, and it’s not always race. You have to be very careful. That’s a heavy coat to put on any one person.

That’s a heavy coat to put on a particular writer or a particular website or particular YouTube blogger. If you don’t have real proof that that person is a racist, you have to be very careful to put that kind of thing out there. I personally try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

And I may have a thought about something but it’s not something that I’m going to speak about, because again you’ve got be very careful about that.

But that being said, I stand by what I said earlier throughout the course of my life and how I’ve studied the sport in that particular area about guys, some guys being soft-spoken.

And let me just sum it up this way: There’s a notion that if you don’t do a certain thing, if you’re not Floyd Mayweather-esque, if you’re not throwing money at the camera, you’re not Tim Bradley (laughter), talking about a fighter, building up a fighter, if you’re not doing that and not showing us your house, you’re not showing us your Bentley, if you’re not showing us your jewelry then, you know what, you’re boring; we shouldn’t tune in to watch you.

But then it’s not always the case on the other side. That’s what Terence is saying. I have seen some of that. I can subscribe to some of it. But I will not say that every piece of criticism, every critique, every person that’s not giving you your just due is a racial issue. They just may not like you as a fighter.

And you have to live with that. So it’s a very fine line to walk. And I’ll personally try to be very, very careful about this. Listen, I’ve spoken about this, I’m a biracial kid, like I’m not pro black and people get mad at me when I say that. I don’t have a preference towards people. I prefer everyone. And I love everyone. And if there’s a white person that’s in the wrong, well, that needs to be addressed. If there’s a black person that’s in the wrong, they need to be addressed. So it’s a very fine line — I know it’s uncomfortable for people to talk about, but Terence has some points in what he’s saying, for sure.

Q. How close do you think is Teofimo Lopez to being the same level of Lomachenko? And how good is it for boxing that these young guys are calling out the big guys like Lomachenko?

ANDRE WARD: We don’t know how close he is. This is unscripted. You don’t know until they fight the fight. And this is something that I told Teofimo’s father today in the fighters meeting, I said, I respect what you guys are saying.

And the eagerness to want to face not just another champion but to face arguably the best fighter in the world in Lomachenko. I said but you do know that it’s — I said — I think I prefaced it by saying, phrased it by saying: Do you know the magnitude of what you’re demanding? In other words, I can give you a list of young fighters who took that big step up one fight too soon and they were ruined.

You see some guys like Muhammad Ali when he fought Sonny Liston. He was The Big Bear. He was feared. Everybody thought Ali was going to get killed. And look at Floyd Mayweather and Genaro Hernandez.

You look at those types of fights where they took the leap, people thought they were crazy but they were actually the ones that were right and they were geniuses.

It’s a very fine line between being right and being wrong, but they’re great consequences or there’s great reward if you’re right. We don’t know. He has to fight the fight. I hope he’s seeing what he’s telling everybody he’s seeing. I’m talking about Teofimo’s father.

But it’s not going to be an easy task for him to face Lomachenko. Lomachenko is who he is, and he’s in the discussion as one of the best in the world for a reason. It’s not easy, but I do respect the fact that he’s willing to take that leap. He just better be right about it.

TIM BRADLEY: For me, I like what Teofimo is doing. I like the fact that he wants to challenge the best guys out there. I think it’s too premature.

I think he needs to win a world championship first and then move in position if he wants to fight Loma, then he can fight him.

You have to earn your stripes before you get that praise from me. I see the skill set. He’s very skillful. He’s been in there with memorable competition.

The competition hasn’t been that great. He’s going to get tested Saturday night and see how well he performs. And then from there we’ll make our assessment and go from there. But, like I said, he needs a championship first in order to get a shot at Vasiliy Lomachenko in the near future.

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Top Rank on ESPN PPV Preview: Crawford vs. Khan, Stevenson vs. Diaz


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City will be the host site of Top Rank Promotions’ latest Pay Per View (PPV) offering. Terence “Bud” Crawford, one of the sports pound for pound greats, is slated to face off against international star Amir Khan.

This card will be distributed by Top Rank Promotions in conjunction with ESPN.

The undercard will feature several of Top Rank’s brightest prospects. The co-main event will be between Shakur Stevenson and battle tested veteran Christopher Diaz in the featherweight division. Other Top Rank prospects such as Teofimo Lopez, Felix Verdejo, and Carlos Adames will be featured on Saturday’s card.

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Shakur Stevenson (10-0) vs. Christopher Diaz (24-1); Featherweight Division

Shakur Stevenson is probably the best prospect to come out of the United States Olympic team since Errol Spence Jr.

Stevenson is only twenty one years old and has never faced an opponent with a losing record. However, he will be facing the toughest test of his career when he squares off against Christopher Diaz on Saturday night.

Diaz is three years older than Stevenson and is in the midst of his athletic prime. Stevenson will have a two inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage over Diaz.

Both boxers are known for having some pop in their punches. Stevenson has six stoppage victories and has stopped four of his past five opponents. Diaz has sixteen stoppage victories, and four of his past five fights resulted in a stoppage victory.

Stevenson has never been defeated and has beaten the likes of Jessie Cris Rosales, Viorel Simion, and Carlos Ruiz. He’s also been extremely active. He fought once in 2019, five times in 2018, and four times in 2017.

Diaz has defeated the likes of Braulio Rodriguez, Bryant Cruz, and Angel Luna. His lone loss was to Masayuki Ito in July of 2018. He fought three times in 2018 and three times in 2017.

Stevenson does have a significant edge in amateur experience. Diaz has no notable international amateur accomplishments, while Stevenson was a former US National Amateur Champion as well as a silver medalist in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

This should be a good test for Stevenson. He may be distracted with his latest legal issues with pending assault charges, but he’ll be fighting near his hometown of Newark, New Jersey and hasn’t shown many signs of weakness in the ring since his professional debut.

Stevenson should emerge victorious, but Diaz will likely not get stopped.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Terence Crawford (34-0) vs. Amir Khan; WBO Welterweight Title (33-4)

Terence Crawford is currently the best pure boxer that Top Rank has under contract. However, it’s his drawing power as a pay per view star is debatable. But Top Rank should have a better idea of his ability to draw pay per view buys after Saturday’s fight.

Crawford is 31 years old and still in his athletic prime, and Amir Khan is only one year older and also still in the middle of his prime. Khan will have a very slight half an inch height advantage over Crawford, while Crawford will have about a three inch reach advantage.

Crawford does have an edge in power over Khan. He has twenty five stoppage victories, and has stopped his past five opponents. Khan has twenty stoppage wins, but he also has three stoppage losses.

Crawford has been fairly active recently. He fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017. Khan has not been very active. He fought twice in 2018, but did not fight at all in 2017 and has only fought four times since 2015.

Khan does have an edge in amateur experience. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics, while Crawford has success as an amateur in the US National Circuit, including a US National PAL Championship.

Crawford has beaten the likes of Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Breidis Prescott. Prescott is a common opponent that was able to stop Amir Khan.

Khan has defeated the likes of Samuel Vargas, Phil Lo Greco, Chris Algieri, Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo, Julio Diaz, Carlos Molina, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Paul Malignaggi, Dmitriy Salita, and Marco Antonio Barrera. His losses were to Breids Prescott, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, and Saul Alvarez.

Khan’s speed can give many boxers problems, but Crawford is an exceptional counter puncher who’s hand speed can match Khan. Additionally, Crawford’s knockout power will likely give Khan’s questionable chin issues.

This may be the last time we see Amir Khan in a big meaningful pay per view fight. Expect Crawford to emerge victorious with another stoppage victory.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Atlantic City, Khan, Crawford, Judah, WBC, and more..


By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 9th to April 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Amir Khan Confirms First ‘Ring the Changes’ Initiatives to Help Young People Across the UK

Boxing superstar Amir Khan and online financial trading broker ThinkMarkets have confirmed their first partnerships as part of the ‘Ring the Changes’ initiatives aimed at providing support and opportunities for under-privileged young people across the UK.

More than 35 young people have been murdered in London already this year and Khan will work with ThinkMarkets and charity partners to raise funds and support initiatives to help young children get off the streets using financial education and the power of boxing.

The London Institute of Banking & Finance will offer young people access to their Lessons in Financial Education (LiFE) course to teach young people about the world of finance. Amir Khan will be actively working with ThinkMarkets to reach out to boxing clubs across London to invite young people on to the programme.

Youth Employment UK is not for profit organisation that helps 14-24-year-olds to kick-start their careers and will provide support specifically through their Young Professional programme which helps young people develop the work ready skills that employers are looking for.

This ties in with Amir Khan’s aims with ThinkMarkets to secure employment in the City for 100 young people from disadvantaged families by 2022.

Amir Khan said: “My ‘Ring the Changes’ initiative with ThinkMarkets WILL have an impact on youth crime and disenfranchisement and make a real difference.

“I’m focused on training for my fight against Terence Crawford in a few days but it’s tragic seeing the increasing devastation families are facing as young people are being killed or maimed in knife attacks.

“We have to give young people hope and opportunities and I believe that ‘Ring the Changes’ can go some way to providing inspiration for young people who may feel lost. Together with ThinkMarkets, we will not forget them and we will provide ways to help.”

Alison Pask, Managing Director, Financial Capability and Community Outreach at The London Institute of Banking & Finance added: “The Ring the Changes campaign helps young people combine the advantages of sports and financial knowledge to develop their skills and confidence.

“Over 70% of young people regularly worry about money and want to learn more. The role that initiatives like this can play in building financial resilience is critical. But more than that, initiatives like these can help open doors to career opportunities – and there are lots of those in the finance sector.

“We hope this programme will help raise the aspirations of young people, opening doors to careers and opportunities they may not have thought possible. We’re very proud of the role we can play.”

Laura-Jane Rawlings, Chief Executive Officer of Youth Employment UK, added: “The combination of sports, financial education and employability programme will provide young people with the necessary tools to further their career goals. By collaborating with ThinkMarkets under the Ring the Changes campaign we believe we can really make a difference to the future generations.”

Khan has a long history of helping charitable causes around the world and set up his own Foundation in 2014, something that attracted ThinkMarkets to working with the former Olympic silver medalist.

Nauman Anees, Co-founder of ThinkMarkets, said: “We wanted to take our time to get the right partnerships in place and have worked closely with Amir Khan before securing the London Institute of Banking & Finance and Youth Employment UK.

“’Ring the Changes’ WILL make a difference to the lives of a great many young people in the UK through a combination of philanthropy, opportunity and inspiration.”

ThinkMarkets aims to teach youngsters the importance of mental discipline and provide them with key skills to help them achieve their goals.

Khan’s partnership with ThinkMarkets is the first of its kind, with ThinkMarkets becoming the first UK broker to sponsor a professional boxer.

Earlier this year, ThinkMarkets announced another sporting partnership, with legendary Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath supporting young people in Australia and the UK.

WBC Champs Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and “Bang Bang” Louisa Hawton Are All in for Autsim
This past weekend was one stacked with Women in Boxing no doubt! The World Boxing Council, WBC Cares program with Chairperson, Jill Diamond, WBC President, Mauricio Sulaiman and the entire WBC Family are very grateful to our WBC Champs, Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and “Bang Bang” Louisa Hawton who donated their time Saturday evening to raise money for Autism Awareness. With World Champions in attendance like MLB World Series Champ, Scott Erickson, Former Dallas Cowboys, and NFL Superbowl XXVI MVP, Mark Rypien along with many other celebrities, it was a fun filled night where the Champs played, laughed and rewarded the winners of the table that knocked them out with WBC Medals!

April is Autism Awareness Month and we at the World Boxing Council are honored Pam Phillips and the Gemini Family have invited us to be a part of this event another year! The difference begins within each one of us. Let’s spread awareness just like our Champs Seniesa and Lulu!

For information on how Gemini helps those in the Autism Spectrum, go to Gemini.org

Judah vs. Seldin to Battle At Turning Stone Resort Casino
Preparations are well underway as Central New York prepares to host boxing’s biggest weekend of the year, International Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend. Star Boxing, in partnership with Turning Stone Resort Casino, today announced a new event for an already impressive boxing weekend – Zab “Super” Judah (44-9, 30 KOs) vs. Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (23-1, 19 KOs). The fight will take place in the Turning Stone Event Center on Friday, June 7, 2019, as part of the 30th Anniversary of Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend. The evening’s co-main event will feature James “Buddy” McGirt Jr. (27-3-1, 14KO’s) facing off against David Papot (22-0, 3KO’s), the same weekend his father James “Buddy” McGirt Sr. will be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.

Boxing fans will also have an opportunity to mingle with some of the biggest names in boxing, including boxing VIPs and Hall of Famers. Turning Stone will offer a unique boxing fan experience for guests who purchase tickets for the June 7thJudah vs. Seldin fight. For $50 (plus the purchase of a ticket), guests will receive access to the Boxing Hall of Fame Lounge, where boxing VIPs will be socializing throughout the night.

Tickets for Judah vs. Seldin are now available at the Turning Stone Box Office in person or by calling 315.361.7469 and 12:00 p.m. online at Ticketmaster. Prices start at only $35, with ringside seats available for $89 and $75.

June 7th’s main event features, Zab “Super” Judah (Brooklyn, NY), a six-time world champion, and the last undisputed welterweight champion of the world. The three-time New York Golden Glove champion made his professional debut at the age of 18, later holding world titles in three weight classes, capped off by his undisputed welterweight reign. Judah has defeated some of the most notable names in the business, including, Micky Ward, Lucas Matthysse and Cory Spinks (Undisputed Welterweight Title), and fought many other top fighters including Floyd Mayweather, Amir Khan, Danny Garcia and Miguel Cotto .

Opposing the six-time and former undisputed champion will be New York’s feared knockout artist, Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (Shirley, NY). Born from a tough line of Jewish-Americans, Seldin won the Ringside Amateur World Championship in 2009. As a professional, Seldin created buzz throughout New York as a knockout artist packing the Paramount with his “Hamma Head” fans. He broke on to the national scene when he devoured Roberto Ortiz at the Nassau Coliseum in a featured HBO fight. One month later, Seldin became the first boxer alongside Hall of Fame world champions, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. to fight in featured fights on back to back months on HBO. 83 percent of Seldin’s wins have come via knockout.

The veteran craftsmanship of former undisputed champion Judah, will have to weather the storm of the heavy-handed New York brawler in Seldin. On the biggest weekend in boxing, with many Hall of Famer’s in attendance, #JudahSeldin is bound to set off fireworks at Turning Stone on June 7th.

In the co-feature bout, James “Buddy” McGirt Jr. (Vero Beach, FL) will look to tip his hat to his father, James McGirt Sr. who is being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame during the same weekend, when he takes on tough Frenchman David Papot (Saint-Nazaire, France). McGirt compiled an impressive amateur record of 44-4 winning the Sunshine State Games and the Southeastern Regional. As a professional McGirt has also found success and has faced some well-regarded fighters in his division, including, Carlos De Leon Jr., Edwin Rodriguez, and Raymond Joval. His opponent, undefeated Frenchman David Papot is taking the trip across the Atlantic Ocean with intentions of ruining the McGirt family weekend. Papot had 102 amateur bouts, 30 of which were with the French National team, earning French National Champion honors two times. In 2017 Papot earned the WBA Continental Middleweight Title, and later that year became the French National Super Welterweight Champion, having since defended the title three times.

Crawford vs. Khan PPV Details Revealed
The undefeated pound-for-pound king, three-division world champion and reigning WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford will headline the inaugural Top Rank on ESPN pay-per-view broadcast against former unified super lightweight world champion Amir “King” Khan Saturday, April 20 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Madison Square Garden.

Crawford vs. Khan will be available via all major cable and satellite providers with a suggested retail price of $59.95 (SD) or $69.95 (HD).

All undercard bouts will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), the fighting pride of Omaha, Nebraska, unified all four super lightweight titles in August 2017 and moved up to the welterweight division intent on doing the same. In June 2018, he won the WBO welterweight title with a dominant ninth-round stoppage over Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. Four months later, in front of a packed hometown house at the CHI Health Center Omaha, he stopped bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. in the 12th round.

Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), who captured an Olympic silver medal in 2004 for Great Britain at the age of 17, has long been one of boxing’s most captivating performers. He won his first world title in 2009 and has victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi, Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander. He is undefeated as a welterweight and is once again attempting to prove his greatness against boxing’s best.

In other action on the pay-per-view broadcast:

• Lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) will face former world title challenger and two-time European lightweight champion Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs) in a 12-round co-feature. Lopez is ranked in the top five by all four major sanctioning organizations and is coming off a savage seventh-round knockout over Diego Magdaleno.

• In the other co-feature attraction, Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs), the 21-year-old featherweight phenom who earned a silver medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will face former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

• Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo (24-1, 16 KOs), one of Puerto Rico’s most popular fistic attractions, will fight former interim world champion Bryan Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight duel with potential world title implications.

CRAWFORD vs. KHAN is a 12-round fight for the WBO welterweight championship of the world, presented by Top Rank in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions. The event is sponsored by Geico. CRAWFORD vs. KHAN will take place Saturday, April 20, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT at Madison Square Garden

Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) Announces Opening of It’s Legends Café
The ACBHOF is pleased to announce the opening of its Legends Café during their 3rd Annual Celebration and Induction Weekend. For the third year, the Claridge A Radisson Hotel will serve as ACBHOF’s partner and backdrop for this historic event to be held June 21 – 23, 2019.
On Friday, June 21st the ACBHOF VIP Cocktail Reception will kick-off the weekend with the opening of the Legends Café and a special screening of the movie “ME WHEE” — a 30-minute documentary of Muhammad Ali.

“It is with tremendous pride that The Claridge-A Radisson Hotel welcomes The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame during this induction weekend. We are privileged to join in this partnership, a blending of the rich history that we both share here in Atlantic City. The Legends Café is an extraordinary, unique, and unforgettable opportunity for immersion into the legendary world of boxing that has evolved in this city over the years.” – A. Cem Erenler V.P. Operations & Development.

On Saturday, June 22nd the ACBHOF will invite boxing enthusiasts to join us for conversation and coffee in the Legends Café where an engaging panel discussion will take place. The panel will be moderated and activated with a panel comprised of top boxing historians from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Café will host exciting exhibits and art on display by Patrick Killiam from Newport, Wales, and other talented artists and Exhibits that will be on display: Jack Johnson, Joe Frazier Legacy Exists, Deborah King, James O’Neal Sculptures, Boxing Apocalypse and the SparBar.

Also, on Saturday the ACBHOF will be inside the Orange Loop for good food and music at the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall; where guests and fans alike will be interacting up close and personal with boxing legends on hand for autographs and photo opportunities.

“Our mission is to honor, preserve and celebrate the excellence of Atlantic City’s rich Boxing History and there’s no better place to highlight this tradition than at the historic Claridge-A Radisson Hotel. My team and I are excited about this collaboration.” – Ray McCline President of Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.

The weekend will culminate with the Induction Ceremony on Sunday, June 23rd where the ACBHOF Class of 2019 will be enshrined into the hall of fame history.

The Class of 2019 Participants: Bernard Hopkins, Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, Kevin Watts, John Brown, Virgil Hill, Butch Lewis, English Bouie Fisher, Ace Marotta, Jimmy Binns, Sr., Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Tom Kaczmarek, Tony Orlando Jr., and Rhonda Utley-Herring.

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Amir Khan Attempts to Defy the Odds-Again


By: Sean Crose

Not so long ago, the biggest name in boxing, Floyd Mayweather, conducted an online poll to see who fans felt he should fight next, the slick yet vulnerable Englishman Amir Khan, or the rugged but more limited Marcos Maidana. Khan, a former Olympian, had a fan base eager to see their man go toe to toe with Mayweather. Khan, the reasoning went, was fast, even faster perhaps than the illusive Mayweather. What’s more, Mayweather’s limited punching power would mean that Khan’s Achilles Heel of a chin wouldn’t be in as much danger as it might be against a heavy puncher. When all was said and done, Khan won Mayweather’s fan poll, yet Mayweather chose to fight Maidana instead.

It was a telling moment, not only for what it said of Mayweather’s personality, but of what it said of Khan’s ring ability. Now, nearly half a decade later, Khan is close to facing another of the biggest names in boxing in Terence Crawford. This time, though, the chance at glory won’t be denied the Englishman. For the Crawford match is signed, sealed, and ready to air on pay per view this Saturday night. It’s been a long time since Mayweather presented fans with his poll, however. Times have changed. A new breed of fighter has emerged, with Crawford right at the front of the line.

Quiet and menacing as a gunfighter out of the old west, Nebraska’s Crawford is rightfully the favorite stepping into the ring on Saturday night. The current WBO welterweight champion of the world, Crawford has gone through the likes of Jeff Horn, Viktor Postol, Raymundo Beltran, and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Those wondering why there aren’t bigger names on Crawford’s resume might be best asking the managers of other top welterweights. The fighter himself, an ambidextrous nightmare of an opponent with a record of 34-0, appears willing to take on all comers. Fans want to see him fight dazzling fellow welterweight titlist Errol Spence Junior. At the moment at least, boxing politics is keeping that bout from happening.

Which brings things back to Khan. Largely inactive in recent years, the 33-4 fighter has boxed professionally a total of four times since 2014. Khan is a man who always aims high, however. One of those four men was middleweight king Canelo

Alvarez, who Khan jumped weight to challenge back in 2016. Although often mocked for having a supposed elevated opinion of himself, Khan earned the respect of fans for being willing to risk his safety in order to achieve greatness. The fact that his safety ended up being a matter of brief but genuine after Canelo brutally knocked him unconscious, however, is something worth noting.

And now Khan is risking it all again, this time against a feared and avoided foe who few give him a chance against. The consensus is that Khan will find success early on, but that Crawford, a master of adaptation, will eventually find his rhythm and that will essentially be that. Khan’s been knocked out or stopped three times in his career and few would be surprised if he ended up laid out on the canvas again this Saturday.

Yet Khan’s legacy may end up being that he’s a man willing to buck the odds in an era where far too few fighters wish to really challenge themselves. Whether its yesterday’s greats, like Mayweather and Pacquiao, or today’s greats, like Canelo and Crawford, Khan has shown he’s never been afraid to risk getting his brain rattled to prove just how good he is. Whether he actually IS as good as he thinks is up for debate. Crawford is only one year younger than Khan, for instance, but the difference would seem almost generational at first glance. In other words, there’s a sense that if Khan was going to reach the top of Olympus, he’d have done so by now. Boxing, though, is a profession where most anything can happen…something the veteran Englishman is more aware of than most.

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Crawford, Khan, Arum Discuss April 20th Showdown


By: Sean Crose

“I really believe,” said iconic promoter Bob Arum on a recent conference call, “that the fight will be a tremendous, interesting, competitive fight. That’s why we made it. That’s the truth.” Arum was speaking of the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan battle, which is set to go down on the 20th of this month at Madison Square Garden in New York. The bout will be for Crawford’s WBO Welterweight Title, and will be aired live on Pay Per View, courtesy ESPN. Unwittingly or not, Arum admitted that the fight is a tough sell, as Khan, 33-4, is not seen by many as being too much of a threat for the 34-0 Crawford.

“I’ve been around over 50 years in this sport,” said the promoter, “and I know what makes a good fight, and what’s a competitive fight, and I’m telling you that Amir Khan versus Terence Crawford is a hugely competitive fight. Styles make fights, and this is the first pay per view event that we are doing with ESPN and we value tremendously our relationship with ESPN.” Despite what some may think of his chances, the talented veteran Khan, like Arum, exuded confidence on the call.

“I know I can win this fight with my boxing skills,” the fast-fisted 32 year old Englishman said, “being smart, and I can go in there and cause a big upset. I know I have a lot against me, but this is where I like to be.” Acknowledging he’s heading into the fight a man with the odds seemingly stacked him, Khan conceded that he’s happy to play the part. “This is where I like to be,” said Khan, “because I am the underdog. I am at my best when people are looking over me.”

Although he’s the fighter favored to win, Crawford made it clear on the call that he’s not willing to underestimate his opponent. “This is a big fight,” he said. “Amir Khan never lost in the welterweight division. He knows what he is doing in the ring. He boxes really good. He is really crafty. He is a veteran. This is going to be a tough fight.” The soft spoken Nebraskan went so far as to explain how he’s preparing to face the skilled Khan in the ring.

“He is a big welterweight,” Crawford admitted.“He has a big name in the sport of boxing. Right now, I give him a shot at the title. He has done some great things in the welterweight division. He has never lost at the welterweight division. We look at all of those types of things.” Yet, like Khan, defending champ Crawford clearly exuded confidence on the call.

“Amir Khan might be fast,” he said, “and he might have good movement, but I am a great boxer myself and I am not the slowest fighter by any means. I believe in my skills and I don’t believe that it is my punching power that is going to lead me to victory. I believe it is my whole overall skills and mindset that will lead me to victory on April 20.”

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Amir Khan and Terence Crawford Discuss Their Showdown


By: Hans Themistode

With the big Welterweight showdown between Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) and Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) less than one month away, both fighters joined a conference call to discuss several topics including how their preparation for the fight has been going and just how important this fight is for their respective careers. Promoter Bob Arum also chimed in on why he feels as though this will be a compelling matchup as well.

For Crawford he will be looking to defend his WBO Welterweight title for the second time. Amir Khan will at least on paper pose the biggest threat to his current title reign. Crawford fully understands the risk that Khan presents.

“He’s a top Welterweight,” said Crawford. “He has a big name in the sport of boxing so why not give him a shot at the title. He has never lost at the Welterweight division.”

Crawford is widely regarded as one of the best fighters in the world. At this stage in his career a loss would be devastating. That sense of urgency helps fuel Crawford to not allow such upsets to occur.

“I’m never going to be complacent in the ring. He has everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

Sure Crawford has praised Khan and his abilities while acknowledging the threat that he is. However, Crawford is not short on confidence.

“Yeah Khan might be fast and have good movement but I believe in my skill. I don’t believe that it will just be my punching power that will lead me to victory but its my overall skill and mindset that will lead me to victory.”

Whenever Crawford is in the presence of the media there is a major elephant in the room. The name of that elephant would be Errol Spence Jr. When asked if he believes that the fight can happen and how big it is Crawford did not mince words.

“Of course it’s makeable. I believe that’s the biggest fight in the Welterweight division.”

Fans all around the world would agree with those sentiments. A Spence vs Crawford showdown is huge. The talks surrounding those two fighters are getting louder and louder. Khan hears the chatter and offered his warning to Crawford.

“There is a lot of talk of Crawford fighting Spence but he’s got his hands full against me. If he’s overlooking me he’s going to have a big shock. I hope he’s going to be ready in this fight,” said Khan.

Say what you what about Khan but he is right. If Crawford comes into this fight not fully focused then he could be in for a rude awakening.

When Khan was last seen he was picking himself up off the deck against journeyman Samuel Vargas. It was a fight that Khan ultimately won but he did not look sharp.

“I know that my last performance against Vargas was a very bad performance but it is hard to get motivated against guys like that because all you have to do is turn up and you know your going to win the fight but in this fight I have to be on my A game.”

Fans shouldn’t worry. Khan has repeatedly raised his game to the level of his competition. The better the opponent the better he performs. That in part is one of the reasons why Bob Arum choose Khan as an opponent for Crawford.

“I have always been an amir khan fan. I’ve been around over 50 years so I know what makes a good fight. Khan vs Crawford is a hugely competitive fight. Styles make fights,” said Arum.

With all of the talk between these two fighters the anticipation for the matchup is building. April 20th couldn’t get here fast enough.

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Conference Call Transcript: Crawford, Khan, and Arum


Thank you everyone for joining us on the international conference call as we get ready for the inaugural Top Rank on ESPN pay-per-view broadcast, Crawford vs. Khan, April 20 at Madison Square Garden.

The stacked undercard features lightweight sensation Teofimo Lopez in a 12-round test against Edis Tatli, 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson versus former world title challenger Christopher Diaz in a 10-round featherweight tilt, and a crossroads 10-round lightweight battle between Felix Verdejo and Bryan Vasquez.

Details on how fans will be able to access the pay-per-view event will be announced at a later date.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions, tickets priced at $606, $406, $306, $206, $106, $81, and $56 (including facility fees) are on sale now and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.

AMIR KHAN: Training is going really well. I am here in San Francisco and really liked getting back with {head trainer} Virgil {Hunter}. I really believe he knows me better than anyone else – than any other trainer. In fact, I was with {Joe Goossen} because Virgil was a little sick, and I had to make a quick change. Now I am back with Virgil. I have had my best performances in boxing with Virgil, great wins, and I couldn’t wait to join with him again. Since we began camp, everything has been going really well. We are sparring hard, training hard, and going to be in great condition because we know that Terence is a great fighter. I respect the way he fights, and I respect that he’s done it again and again and he’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. Also, my conditioning coach Tony Brady is here. The camp I have had is great and I’m happy with it. About Terence Crawford – I am not taking this fight lightly and I am not taking it to be a number because I know I can win this fight with my boxing skills, being smart, and I can go in there and cause a big upset. I know I have a lot against me, but this is where I like to be. This is where I like to be because I am the underdog. I am at my best when people are looking over me. This is the time where I can come and prove everybody wrong, and I feel that timing-wise, this is the perfect timing for this fight. I always wanted to be up there in the pound-for-pound rankings. I am 32 now and I feel strong physically and mentally. I am prepared for this fight, so this is perfect timing for me to take this fight and win the fight as well. I had another fight in the UK against Kell Brook, but {I believe} this fight is stylistically better for me. Obviously, this is with ESPN, who I want to thank as well. I think that being on ESPN, the fight will be even bigger, and it will be good for my recognition for me as well in the future. Yes, training is still going strong three weeks away from the fight, and I am going to be more than ready.

You had a fight in the UK against Kell Brook that you could have taken and would have been huge there. How did you come to take the Crawford fight?

AMIR KHAN: I love fighting in the States. I have had some big performances here, and I wanted to come back here and put on a big show. New York is one of my favorite locations in America, so when this fight was put to me, I knew it was going to be a big fight, so I decided to take this fight with both hands and make sure that if I take this fight I am going to win this fight.

Breaking down the fight, Terence is a very skillful fighter, and I always do well against skillful fighters. This is going to be like a game of chess at times. He comes forward and can punch well and likes to fight as well. So, it’s the best of both worlds and he doesn’t fight the same as me. I have fought at welterweight, so I am basically the bigger guy physically. I have been in the division longer, so I’ve got that advantage on my side. I’m the bigger guy so that is on my side. People may think from my last performance against {Samuel} Vargas I’m going to be the same, but that was very bad. I thought I could just go in there and win the fight. It’s hard to motivate yourself against guys where you are supposed to win. All you have to do is turn up then because you know you have better skills. But this fight, this is where I have to bring my ‘A’ game, make sure that I cannot make any mistakes. I’ll go in as the underdog, prove myself and win this fight.

Were you thinking that “this is a huge opportunity against a great fighter in a huge PPV and at Madison Square Garden” and that Kell Brook will always be there?

AMIR KHAN: Well, I don’t know. I don’t know if that fight is still going to be there. I have seen numerous times in the media that {promoter} Eddie {Hearn} is saying that the Brook fight is dead and it’s not going to happen. Hey, look, who knows, time will tell. I take it fight by fight. Let’s get this fight out of the way first and then we take it from there. That fight may never happen, but it may happen, so I just take it one fight at a time, as it comes really.

Bob, when you were looking for Terence’s next opponent, was Khan at the top of your list or were there others?

BOB ARUM: The first thing is, ‘What’s the best fight we can do,’ and I have always been an Amir Khan fan. I don’t say this now because I am promoting him in this fight, but I remember back in the day years and years ago when Amir Khan joined Manny Pacquiao in his camp and was a tremendously skillful partner. Amir knows we were – he was in the Philippines when he participated in that camp – so look, I know a little bit about boxing and our matchmakers are tremendously skilled, but I’ve been around over 50 years in this sport and I know what makes a good fight, and what’s a competitive fight, and I’m telling you that Amir Khan versus Terence Crawford is a hugely competitive fight. Styles make fights, and this is the first pay per view event that we are doing with ESPN and we value tremendously our relationship with ESPN. And I want going in, and at the fight, going out, everybody to say, “It was a great, great fight.” I really believe that the fight will be a tremendous, interesting, competitive fight. That’s why we made it. That’s the truth. There are other fighters, other welterweights, that are coming along that will one day step up to fight for a title, but this fight, instinctively, I know, and my matchmakers agree, was a very competitive fight. You have to understand there are very few fighters that have the boxing skills of Amir Khan. Very, very few, so I look at this as a very competitive fight.

Does fighting in New York bring back any special memories or give you motivation?

AMIR KHAN: My in-laws live in New York and I send a lot of time over there. My {second WBA super lightweight title defense} was at MSG, the smaller one, and that was a great performance against Paulie Malignaggi. And ever since. all of my fans have been saying, ‘why don’t you fight in New York again?’ A lot of my fights have been in Vegas and LA – on the west coast. I think this is the time now where I come back for the big fight.

Have you watched Crawford’s Benavidez and Horn fights?

AMIR KHAN: The fight is going to be a tough fight. He is a very good skilled fighter with power. He’s durable, he moves well, and he boxes well. For me to win this fight, I have to be on my ‘A’ game and not make any mistakes, but he is still maybe quite new in the welterweight division. But you can see he is quite filled out, and for the welterweight division, his height is good. I am not going to go in there thinking I am stronger and a physically bigger fighter. I am going to in there and use my skills to win this fight. That’s what is going to win this fight – not the size or the power – it’s going to be my IQ and my skills.

How did you decide this fight warranted being on pay-per-view?

BOB ARUM: It’s really a combination. The match-up warrants a pay-per-view. and it is such a big fight. This is professional boxing, and the fighters have to be compensated because it is such a big fight, and therefore you cannot rely on a network to constantly come up with big, big money as a rights fee. So, if the fight is big enough, you then have to go to the public and say to the public, ‘Hey this is a terrific fight, you have to support the fight.’ Sometimes the public says no. If we have confidence in the event, they will say yes. That’s really what it is about. We can stop playing the games of whether the fight should be pay-per-view or shouldn’t be pay-per-view. The first question is, ‘Is it a really good matchup, an interesting event,’ and secondly, ‘Is it affordable on television? Can the rights fee support the fight?’ In this case, we have a splendid event and we have fighters who have to be, and should be, compensated for their performances and therefore you go to pay-per-view. That is the mindset. Everything else is noise.

Does the media attention affect you as you get ready for this fight?

AMIR KHAN: My first fight as a professional, I was the main attraction on television and I had all the media and the press conferences and the conference calls and everything. I have had a lot of media attention from day one as a professional and I have been going 14 years strong. The big media coverage {comes} with it. I love that kind of pressure on me and to cope with that pressure and to deal with that pressure really helps me when I go into the camp. When I go into a fight, I make sure that it is not on my mind. That’s the last thing I think about, all of the pressure. One thing I want to say is there is a lot of talk about Crawford with Spence, who just came off a fight. All of those people should be talking about Spence against me. I’m not just a number. I know when I have to turn it on. I can turn it on. Maybe in previous fights, I won the fight, but maybe I didn’t look the best. But I know I belong at the level of both. I am one of those fighters that if I am fighting a guy that is supposed to be at the top of his game that will bring me to the top of my game and bring the best out of me. If Crawford is talking about maybe that fight happening and overlooking me, it’s going to be a big shock. I’m going to be ready. We’ve both been hurt in fights. I am a fully-fledged welterweight. This division is hard, and I’ve had good knockouts. I’m an unbeaten welterweight fighter and it is the weight I feel comfortable at and the weight where I feel stronger, as well, and the speed and the perfect size.

I fought Canelo and that was maybe too much, but even that fight I think I was winning. When it comes to boxing skills and being smart and knowing that I couldn’t make any mistakes, I got hit with a big shot that probably would have knocked out any welterweight. But this is where I want to tell everybody I’m not just a number – I’m not just going to come into this fight to just make it a night of boxing. I’m coming to win this fight.

How much did fighting at the Garden factor into your decision to take this fight over Kell Brook?

AMIR KHAN: New York is where my wife is from. I have a big fan base there. I enjoy walking the streets of New York and getting loved by the boxing fans. I love the place and have been spending a lot of time there. Also, MSG is the Mecca of Boxing and all of the great boxers that have fought there back to the beginning – I want to be amongst them. One day when I am walking the streets with my kids and I’ll be walking past it and say, ‘Look, I fought there.’ It means a lot to me. New York is a place I will always be attached to.

What has been your favorite venue to date?

AMIR KHAN: There have been a few looking back on my career. There have been many, but Madison Square Garden will be at the top. It is the Mecca of Boxing, and there have been some huge fights there and to get a win there will be even more amazing and it would be one of the biggest fights of my career. I have fought at MGM and T-Mobile and I also fought Chris Algieri in Brooklyn. As a boxer, I have had the opportunity to fight in all of these locations, but MSG will be up there as the best, I have to say.

How do you relax to ready yourself for a fight of this magnitude?

AMIR KHAN: I have been in this game for 14 years and 10 years fighting at the top level, so I just learn as I go along. I am no spring chicken where I am young and still learning. I have been through this numerous times and have learned when to rest, when to talk and when to do things right. It comes with age, and it comes with experience to be in this position and learned over the past 10 years.

What is your plan for after this fight?

AMIR KHAN: I never look past fights. I made the mistake of doing that when I was younger, and I only take it fight by fight. There are a lot of big fights out there for me; it just depends on how long I want to be in the game for. I want to spend time with my family so let’s see. After the fight and after the press conference is when we can talk about this.

We have seen that Crawford actually likes to fight as southpaw even though he is right-handed. How do you plan to fight Crawford and how do you plan to counteract?

AMIR KHAN: We have been bringing in different guys in sparring. Some of the guys are southpaw and some are orthodox. I am not leaving anything behind. I am working with four guys. If he wants to fight me {as a southpaw}, then so be it. We are ready for anything he brings to the table. We are not leaving anything behind on this. I am not going to go into the fight and say, ‘wow, I didn’t expect this.’ I have been learning a little bit from each of my training partners.

Twitter world is wondering if Bob Arum writes his own tweets and maybe you can set the record straight right here…

BOB ARUM: People think I don’t know how to work Twitter? We all know how to work Twitter. The President of the United States uses Twitter. Yes, I work Twitter, and I think it’s a great service. You can say a lot of things on Twitter, and fans read them and respond. Sometimes they like them and sometimes they don’t like them and sometimes they say the most horrible things in response to them. I think it is a lot of fun and it is the modern way to educate fans and to reach fans, so yes, I am a big Twitterer myself and I do three or four tweets a week, so yeah, I plead guilty to writing my own tweets.

So this may be the only time you have agreed with the President of the United States…

BOB ARUM: Yes, that is really true, but I use it better than he does.

Terence Crawford enters…

BOB ARUM: Before Terence takes the questions, I just want to say what a privilege it is to have him on and have him on this promotion. You have to realize that 40 years ago I promoted the great welterweight of that time, Sugar Ray Leonard, and now, 40 years later, I have the honor of promoting the successor to Sugar Ray Leonard, Terence Crawford. I believe Terence Crawford is the best welterweight in the world. Certainly a contender for pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, and I believe he is in a real fight with Amir Khan, who I have explained to everybody that I have been a fan of. He is a terrific fighter and that’s what Terence wants – challenges – as he goes on with his great career.

TERENCE CRAWFORD: I appreciate all of the support that I have been getting. I am looking forward to April 20 at MSG.

How do you feel about having your first pay-per-view fight against a big-name fighter?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: This is not my first pay per view fight. I fought Postol on pay- per-view and the significance of the Postol fight cannot be denied.

What are your thoughts on Amir Khan?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: This is a big fight. Amir Khan never lost in the welterweight division. He knows what he is doing in the ring. He boxes really good. He is really crafty. He is a veteran. His is going to be a tough fight.

They have a common opponent – Breidis Prescott. What do you take away from the fights each had with him?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: I don’t take that into consideration at all because that was a different fight and that was a while ago and Amir has bounced back with some great wins. When Terence fought him, he wasn’t the best junior welterweight at the time. When Amir fought him, he was alright. They were two totally different fighters and Prescott did a totally different fight against Amir Khan than he did against Terence.

It seems as though that was the fight that kind of launched Terence into fighting more as a southpaw…

BRIAN MCINTYRE: That’s 100 percent on Terence because he will switch when he feels the need to switch. We don’t tell him in the corner when to switch – that is left up to the fighter. I am not going to take credit for him becoming one of the best southpaws ever. I give all the credit to him because he does it when he needs to.

Did you ever think these two would meet in the ring?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: Yes, Terence is always looking to fight the best fighters out there and right now I believe Khan is ranked in the top 10 as a welterweight, so we are going to fight him. We are going after the best ones and Khan was available so he is next up on the chopping block.

Where do you see Khan in his career right now?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: Right now, looking at his last two fights, he is like a determined fighter that wants to get the job done. He is coming off two wins for himself; he’s coming in on top and trying to upset Terence. At no time is Terence going to take Khan lightly.

Looking at all of Terence’s opponents, you could say that Khan is the most accomplished. Where do you view him compared to all of Terence’ opponents?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: I would rate Khan in the top five of the opponents that Terence has faced. He has accomplished a lot of things in his career. He’s got experience, he’s knowledgeable, he knows what to do in the ring at times, he’s got good ring IQ and good ring generalship. So, I would put him up there in the top five.

Who are the others in the top 5?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: He beat two {Olympic} gold medalist, he beat a few of those undefeated champions. Hey, he’s up there.

Do you see it as Khan is a good fighter and it is a tough fight, but it is only a matter of time until Crawford puts a good hit on that chin?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: Well, we would want to say that going into the fight, but Amir Khan is still dangerous with the attributes he brings into the ring. We don’t know what he’s doing over there with Virgil Hunter. We don’t know what he’s doing with his strength and conditioning coach. So, we would want to say that, but we can think that going into the ring. The only thing in our minds is getting a win.

Bob tweeted about fighting Spence and talking to Haymon about it. How realistic do you think that is?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: Right now, our total focus is on Amir Khan. Bob is doing his thing, trying to make the fight happen. So, hey, let Bob do his thing and let us do our thing and when the fight is done we’ll sit down with Bob and hopefully the other guys will come to the table.

What sparring partners do you have coming in for this camp?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: Well, that’s a little bit too much information to be giving out. You’ll find out after the fight.

What does a win for Terence do for what comes up next?

BRIAN MCINTYRE: Well, everyone has been saying Terence is a small welterweight and he’s not big enough for that weight class. Amir Khan is a solid welterweight so after Terence does his thing does his thing on April 20 it will solidify him as a natural welterweight.

Your careers have sort of paralleled each other, but Amir was a weight class ahead of you. Did you ever see this fight coming?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: Not really. I didn’t see a fight between myself and Amir Khan happening because, you’re right, he was the bigger guy fighting in higher weight classes. He fought Canelo at a higher weight class and we thought he would be at 154. Right now, I am excited to share the ring with him.

Khan seems to be a big underdog in this fight. What do you see in him that will trouble you? He has a lot to win and you have a lot to lose in this fight…

TERENCE CRAWFORD: He is a big welterweight. He has a big name in the sport of boxing. Right now, I give him a shot at the title. He has done some great things in the welterweight division. He has never lost at the welterweight division. We look at all of those types of things.

How has the evolution of you fighting as a southpaw happened since the Prescott fight?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: They are all different fights. It just depends on the moment. I can fight great in both stances. I have been fighting more southpaw and I believe a lot of people forget that I am orthodox. But that goes to show how well I am doing in my second stance.

How do you compare yourself to a southpaw now to then since you have improved a lot?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: I have gotten a lot more experience as a southpaw in big fights and have been fighting tremendously in the southpaw stance.

You are fast, he is fast – do you think it will come down to who punches harder and who can take the best shot?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: I wouldn’t say that. Amir Khan might be fast, and he might have good movement, but I am a great boxer myself and I am not the slowest fighter by any means. I believe in my skills and I don’t believe that it is my punching power that is going to lead me to victory. I believe it is my whole overall skills and mindset that will lead me to victory on April 20.

While you are doing that, showing your skills, do you feel it is only a matter of time before you land the big shot and he crumbles?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: No, I don’t look at that. I go into the fight looking to get the win. If the knockout comes it comes but that’s not what I am focusing on or looking at. It is boxing so anything can happen. We prepare to go 12 hard rounds and that’s the way we are going to take it.

Bob tweeted that when you win this fight he wants to make the Spence fight happen. What do you think about that? Is it makeable?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: Of course it is makeable. I believe it would be the biggest fight in the welterweight division. But like you said, I have this fight against Amir Khan. After the fight, we can talk about Errol Spence and Al Haymon and Top Rank doing business together. But right now, I am not even thinking or worried about Errol Spence.

Are you competitive on the business side that would make you want to beat the Spence-Garcia PPV numbers of 350K?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: At the same time, I have no control over that. I don’t know where a lot of people are getting their numbers from because I believe that is private information. They can say whatever they want, but if they did that much, more power to them. That is good for them. But like I said, I am not worried about that. My focus is to go in the ring on April 20 and solidify a good performance and get the victory. The numbers should be good. Amir Khan is a great fighter, fighting a great fighter in myself. I think the fans will enjoy a great night of boxing.

You hear the noise that you are a heavy favorite. Do you worry about that while you prepare?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: I am never going to be complacent. I know about the threats that he brings into the ring and the troubles that I can have if I overlook Amir Khan. He’s got everything to gain so we have to take this fight real serious because the fights that slip out of a fighters’ hands happen when they think the fight is in the bag and it didn’t even start yet. We are going into the fight 110 percent focused and ready for the best Amir Khan come fight night.

Do you consider Amir Khan the toughest opponent you have had so far?

TERENCE CRAWFORD: I don’t know. I can’t say because I haven’t fought him before. I am looking for the best Amir Khan come fight night and we will handle everything accordingly.

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Crawford vs Khan- Khan’s Road to Redemption or Another Reality Check?


By: Rahat Haque

2019 is turning out to be a very good year for boxing. Pacquiao showed he is here to stay after his victory over Broner. Keith Thurman made a comeback after a long layoff against Josesito Lopez, but he has shown enough vulnerability where it may convince some of the other top names in the division to get in the ring with him. After his victory over Ocampo, Errol Spence Jr is once again involved in a mega fight that is actually worth watching where no one is writing off the challenger just yet. Canelo, after fighting GGG twice, had accepted a much easier fight last December against the relatively inexperienced Rocky Fielding. But is once again involved in a legitimate scrap against one of the few tests left for him in Daniel Jacobs. But out of all the great fights that are lined up in 2019, the one to watch out for is Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan. Reason being, Khan never fails to entertain. With his style of boxing, he will always dazzle the opponent with a flurry of punches, but also leave his chin exposed and risk being knocked down or knocked out. Both of these occurrences happen in every Khan fight, where he bedazzles with speed, but also risks getting caught.

After all these years of seeing Khan go into fights with a shaky defense and susceptible chin, it is still frustratingly difficult to count him out. The fast hand speed foot speed combo style is tailor made for winning rounds, which he often does. Only time when he does not bag the rounds, is when he is hit flush with a power shot, leaving him vulnerable for further power shots. In the case of the Canelo fight, one left hook is all it took! But that was in 160. In 140 and 147, Khan usually takes the power shots well, but his legs give out, and he is left trying to grab the opponent or push them out using his forearms.

Before his loss against Danny Garcia, he was never perceived to be as much of a weak chinned opponent as he is now. His loss against Peterson was both close and controversial. No one judged him for that, and he was still one of the biggest names in boxing till then. But it was what happened versus Danny when he became the butt of all jokes. It should be noted that with the exception of the Canelo loss, Khan has not lost a fight till then! For a guy who has become the poster boy of weak chins, one would expect him to suffer another loss by now that was in either 140 or 147. The Canelo fight was a strategic low risk high reward fight. His fight against Crawford is Khan’s first major test since the Danny Garcia fight. A rematch with Danny Garcia, who himself has been taken down from his high horse in recent years with back-to-back losses, is also a future possibility. If victorious, it would be redemption for the former Olympic silver medalist.

But has he bitten off more than he can chew in terms of skills in choosing Terence Crawford? He did so versus Canelo, but that was in terms of weight and perhaps also skill, this is in terms of skill only. Certainly, he will not be able to use weight as an excuse this time as he has had five fights at 147 already, compared to Terence’s two. On the flipside, if victorious, nobody can say Terence was an easy opponent for Khan as they might with the Collazo and Alexander bouts, two of his most notable victorious after the Garcia slip up. This victory would put Khan’s name back in the list of an elite 147 fighters, a division which has improved even further despite Mayweather’s retirement! It can be called boxing’s flagship division, a praise once reserved for the heavyweight division.

In the welterweight division, you have three undefeated big names with outstanding resumes in Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr, and Terence Crawford. Then you also have the legendary Manny Pacquiao, and the very game Shawn Porter, who like Khan makes every fight entertaining, not with his hand speed but with his dogged work rate. Then you also have the very game Jessie Vargas, whose only two losses to date have been against Pacquiao and now retired Tim Bradley. Thus a victory in this division would mean everything for Khan. But this is a man who was dropped by Julio Diaz and in more recent times, Sammy Vargas. While the knockdown versus Diaz is understandable, as he is a battle-tested veteran with a style known for generating power, the knockdown he suffered versus Vargas was more questionable. Boxing fans all over the world are wondering, if Sammy Vargas was able to do that to Khan, what will Crawford do to him? It is safe to say that Crawford is more technical and ruthless than Vargas, who is still very much a Canadian name, and has not been tested in the world arena yet. We will get a better picture of how good Vargas really is when he takes on experienced Luiz Collazo in his next fight.

One of the reasons this fight is so exciting is that the stakes are so high for both fighters. Only fighter to knock Khan out at 147 was Garcia, and Terence believes his skills are far superior to the Philly man, so he fancies his chances to knock Khan out clean, or in the same fashion as Garcia where the referee will stop the fight after judging Khan’s inability to continue. But if Terence loses, his value as a fighter will take a hit for sure, and Khan would have laid out a blueprint on how to get the better off the Nebraska native. For Khan, it is his first step to redemption if he wins this one. Though many will argue that the Alexander and Collazo victories were redemption enough, the amount of clowning Khan had to face from media and fans alike after the Garcia bout will be in the back of his mind. He was the favorite in that fight, and perhaps was too overconfident. For Khan, this is the chance to erase all those mistakes he made, both mental and physical. As far he is concerned, he is probably treating this as his pathway to avenge his loss against Garcia. If Khan loses, there is no way Danny’s team will risk rematching someone they beat already. If he wins however, his increased value gives them reasons to rematch him on the self-belief that Danny can replicate his strategy and find success again. The excitement is palpable for this one! It is long wait until April 20th. The tension is rising!

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