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Where is Terence Crawford’s Big Fight?


By: Hans Themistode

The Welterweight division is currently in a golden era. This current group of fighters, aren’t just great in this era, but they would be in any era. An argument can be made for anyone ranked within the top five in the division to be considered number one.

The best way to end any debate is by taking a look at not just a fighters skillset but also by taking a look at their resume. Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter are widely regarded as the best that the weight class has to offer. Ranking them however, can get a bit tricky.

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

It seems as though this calendar year, they are all determined to stand alone. There is one problem with that notion. With the exception of Terence Crawford, they are all signed to Premier Boxing Champions. This is where the problem begins and ends for Crawford.

As mentioned earlier, these fighters represents the best in the Welterweight division. Danny Garcia is two weight world champion and has defeated many hall of fame level fighters including Zab Judah, Erik Morales and Amir Khan to name a few. Shawn porter has managed to win the Welterweight world title on two occasions and is undoubtedly one of the most physical Welterweights the division has ever seen.

Former unified Welterweight champion and current WBA belt holder Keith Thurman arguably has the best resume of anyone in the entire division outside, of Pacquiao. IBF champ Errol Spence Jr is a monster inside of the ring. Simply put, he has everything needed to rule the division for quite some time. Manny Pacquiao is an all-time great fighter.

As boxing’s only eight division world champion, the accolades of Pacquiao stands alone. Even at the age of 40, he has shown no signs of slowing down. Last but certainly not least is Terence Crawford. To describe Crawford with one word would be virtually impossible. Too sum up the Omaha native is simple. He is the closet we have ever seen to Sugar Ray Leonard. Yes he’s that good.

These Welterweight stars have a loaded boxing calendar in front of them. Well, most of them do.

Both Spence and Porter are headed towards a unification contest that is set to take place sometime in the fall. Pacquiao and Thurman have their own battle that will be taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 20th. Danny Garcia, has been rumored to have his own monumental showdown with four division world champion Mikey Garcia in the second half of the year as well. What does these bouts say about this current group of fighters? They want to be the best.

With that being said, where does that leave Terence Crawford? The undefeated WBO titlist isn’t just viewed as the best Welterweight in the division, but many believe he is the best fighter in the world.

After successfully unifying the Jr Welterweight division, Crawford has picked up a few noticeable wins in his new weight class. His size, power and skill has translated seamlessly in his new found division. For as good as Crawford is however, he hasn’t truly, been given the opportunity to show it. With all of the top names facing one another for supremacy, it has effectively left Crawford out of the mix.

There seems to be no end in sight as Crawford is being positioned for a November showdown against WBO number one contender, Egidijus Kavaliauskas. The hard hitting Lithuanian has shown promise in his young career, but lacks not just the skill, but the name value to provide Crawford with the type of bout he deserves.

Manny Pacquiao is an absolute lock for the hall of fame. Garcia, Porter, Thurman, Spence and Crawford are all building their own case.

When this era of boxing is done and over with, how will it be remembered? One of the best eras for the Welterweight division, that’s for sure. It’s great that all of these top notch fighters are getting the chance to prove their worth. It’s just a shame that Terence Crawford might possibly be the best of them all, but he isn’t being given those same opportunities that his peers are currently enjoying.

Terence Crawford needs a big fight now, more than ever.

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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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5 Things That Separate Terence Crawford From Opponents


By: Donna Jo

No knowledgeable boxing fan will argue against the assertion that any list of great current boxers would include the name Terence Crawford somewhere near the top of the list. The names on Crawford’s list of defeated foes are impressive and his record now stands at 34-0 with 25 knockouts.

The following breakdown sheds some light on why Terence Crawford has been so dominant over his professional boxing career.

Calculated Offense

Terence Crawford is a master technician in the ring. He never rushes when dissecting an opponent. He can punch for power in both hands and often switches back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stances.

His offense is enhanced by his ability to move his head and upper body to elude punches while moving forward at this opponent. This gains great punching angles for Crawford while decreasing his opponents’ counterpunching opportunities.

Crawford will often lead with a straight left hand from the southpaw stance. This often leaves opponents confused. All in all, the average fan has a tendency to underrate the offense of Crawford. However, his opponents will attest to the high-powered arsenal Terence Crawford possesses.

Ability To Counter

Despite a natural tendency to be aggressive, Crawford has the ability of a natural counterpuncher. His elusiveness allows him to make opponents miss. He is then able to make them regret every errant punch they throw.

Crawford’s weapon of choice when counterpunching is the uppercut. He is often seen ducking under a punch thrown at him only to quickly return fire with an uppercut.

Terrence is also able to land uppercuts to the body or head after rolling with the punch of an opponent.

Another favorite counter of Terence Crawford is the check left hook he throws after taking a half step back to avoid an incoming attack.

Solid Defense

Crawford’s athleticism makes it extremely difficult for opponents to land combinations against him. He uses his reflexes and movement of his upper body to avoid the majority of punches thrown in his direction. The defense of Terence Crawford is the equivalent of a top-notch security system.

The only chinks in Crawford’s defensive armor come when he fights from the southpaw position. Straight right hands can be landed from orthodox fighters and right hooks sometimes land from southpaws when Terrence fights from this position.

Crawford is very good at blocking punches when he chooses to do so. But in most cases, he finds it more to his liking to avoid punches with his upper body movement.

Intelligent Jab

Crawford has fought more from the southpaw stance in his last few fights. From this position, he likes to paw and probe at his opponent’s defense with his right jab. Crawford is often able to distract the man across from him with his jab and will cause them to second guess their next move.

When his opponent jabs, Crawford turns his own jab into a defensive weapon and uses it to check the jab of his opponent. He is able to keep his opponent unsure of when his jab will be used to slap down the opposing jab and when it will be aimed at his opponent’s face.

Footwork

The final piece to the Crawford puzzle is his extraordinary footwork. He is almost never a stationary target in the ring and his opponents find it difficult to time his movements.

Crawford uses his agility to constantly move from left to right and sometimes switches stances while doing so. His athleticism allows him to keep his opponent at a distance that favors Crawford throughout the fight.

Crawford uses his movement to negate the offense of opponents who find themselves hesitant to throw punches. While opponents struggle to find their timing, Crawford is able to break them down with his own offense.

The Bottom Line

Terence Crawford has few equals when it comes to showcasing his skills in the boxing ring. Many opponents have left the ring after a fight with Crawford more puzzled regarding the secrets to his ring prowess than they were before they entered the ring.

Fortunately for fans, we can attempt to decipher the reasons behind Terence Crawford’s elite boxing ability without having to step in the ring with one of the greatest fighters in the game today.

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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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Is Bud Battling Bob?


By: Kirk Jackson

In the past, questions regarding the Nebraska-bred, three-division world champion, posed on many occasion, years ago and since went unanswered.

These very same questions, remain ever-present now, as the fighter affectionately known as “Bud” prepares for his first pay-per-view event of this year as he faces Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

These lingering, unrequited questions – where is the promotion and where is the love for Terence “Bud” Crawford?

The reigning pound-for-pound No.1 fighter continues to fight without the proper fanfare, promotion and appreciation an athlete recognized by many spectators and experts as the one of the best fighters this generation should not accustomed to.

Crawford (34-0, 25 KO’s), so far amassing six world titles across three weight divisions (135, 140, 147), while becoming the eighth fighter to become undisputed champion in his/her weight class, unifying all four of the titles at junior welterweight, stakes claim as the best fighter in the sport.

“I am the best boxer in the world – hands down. I can box at range or fight close up, whatever’s needed. I can box equally as well on the back foot or the front foot and I have very good sideways movement. I’m a southpaw who is just as comfortable when switching to orthodox,” Crawford told Daily Mail.

“I have hand speed as well as punching power and I am excellent defensively I’m an intelligent fighter who adapts to any opponent. I believe I am the complete boxer so, yes, I think I’m the No 1 pound-for-pound.”

While Crawford solidified himself as one of the greats of this current era, as a top dog amongst his contemporaries, the wealth of acknowledgement and adoration amongst the casual observer escapes him.

Crawford headlines a pay-per-view for the second time in his professional career and for the first time across ESPN pay-per-view.

Crawford is promoted by Top Rank Boxing. This promotional company is headed by lawyer/boxing promoter Bob Arum and this promotional company behind Crawford, has a multi-media deal with ESPN.

On August 26, 2017, ESPN officially announced a four-year arrangement to become the exclusive broadcaster of Top Rank bouts in the United States and Canada.

The fights are to be circulated through ESPN’s television and digital platforms (including Spanish-language ESPN Deportes), the ESPN+ subscription streaming service, and pay-per-view. ESPN broadcast 18 cards in the first year of the deal. Most recently as of August of last year, ESPN announced an extension of the agreement through 2025 – same year Crawford’s contract with Top Rank ends.

The question begs, is Top Rank and ESPN properly promoting the fight? Aside from a brief feature on ESPN’s First Take, the network hardly mentions the fight.

This past Monday, Top Rank finally released the countdown video and this past Thursday ESPN+ released a subscriber friendly breakdown show titled Ring Science, featuring ESPN analyst Andre Ward.

On the opposite of the spectrum as an example, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO’s) made an appearance during this year’s NCAA Final Four across a featured segment, generating roughly 13.77 million viewers. Wilder of course is advised and promoted through different representation.

ESPN and its network affiliates has a deal with the National Basketball Association, broadcasting NBA games through the regular season and throughout the playoffs. The NBA playoffs are in full swing, why isn’t Crawford featured and exposed more towards the ESPN audiences?

Another example to analyze is while fighting under the Top Rank banner, Manny Pacquiao was promoted extensively by Arum. Albeit his name was conveniently attached to the biggest pay-per-view attraction in sport (Floyd Mayweather) and subsequently other pay-per-view attractions such as Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya and even preceding those names, guys such as Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.

The fact remains, Pacquiao was heavily promoted, celebrated and relished the benefits of his professional success and collective promotional efforts from Arum and others.

Crawford has yet to hit that mark, nor receive similar support. All is not lost however. The shining light, is the chance Crawford links up with a up-and-coming super-star at some point in the near future.

Coincidently, Crawford has a dancing partner, who happens to be another top welterweight and pound-for-pound contemporary. That fighter is IBF champion, Errol “The Truth” Spence (25-0, 19 KO’s).

“I want the fight. Let me just say that right now,” Crawford told TMZ Sports in reference to facing Spence. “Just to show the world I’m the best welterweight in the division.”

Crawford realizes a match against Spence will be considered his legacy fight.

“The Truth” is his Marvelous Marvin Hagler, his Sugar Ray Leonard, his Tommy Hearns. Ostensibly, Arum agrees and views Spence as the main opponent for Crawford’s legacy at the weight.

“They have one fighter, Errol Spence,” Arum said to The Los Angeles Times.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Errol Spence wants the fight as much as Crawford wants it. So if Terence wins, I’ll call Al Haymon and work to sit down and make the fight. It’s not rocket science that this has to happen. We can sit down and make the fight in one day just like we did for Mayweather-Pacquiao. If a promoter blocks that fight, he ought to be ashamed.”

The legendary promoter echoed sentiments of the fighters, trainers, fans, anyone encompassed in the world of boxing and familiar with Spence and Crawford.

Crawford vs. Spence is the fight to make, but Khan should not be disrespected as an afterthought.

The old adage is true, fights are not won on paper and Khan is a former world champion. And if Crawford is to get past Khan, it’s not a guarantee Crawford vs. Spence happens.

It can be argued Arum kept the Mayweather-Pacquiao from occurring sooner, at its height (as far as physical primes for each respective fighter goes).

Heck, what kept the fight between Crawford and Pacquiao from happening? Crawford mentioned many times over the years his desire to fight Pacquiao – much to Freddie Roach’s chagrin.

For whichever reason, in spite of sharing the same promotional company for many years, the fight between Crawford and Pacquiao never materialized. Crawford was never presented his opportunity to attempt seizing the torch from one of boxing’s icons.

Due to the Nebraskan’s contract with Top Rank, he may never encounter an opportunity to take center stage.

This is not to suggest Crawford is not happy with his current deal and overall set-up with Top Rank. Upon resigning with Top Rank in collaboration with ESPN, Crawford voiced his pleasure with the deal.

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

The issue is the difficulty of fan-friendly fights, particularly in the welterweight division featuring Crawford and the elite fights of that class.

Nearly all of the other welterweight champions belong to manager Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions stable. The PBC recently entered a long-term deal to televise its fights on Showtime and Fox. Top Rank is with ESPN and typically fighters compete exclusively on their respective networks. Which means slim chances of securing Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence, Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao (again), etc.

The concern also revolves around the promotional aspect regarding the game’s top talent.

“Bud” is an affectionate term used to address Crawford. It’s been the case since his youth. But the term bud also holds significance to Crawford’s situation.

The definition of a bud, is a small swelling that is underdeveloped or not yet fully developed. Bud can also come in the form of plantation for example; a bud can refer to a tiny flower, not yet opened or reached maturity.

From an in-ring performance standpoint, “Bud” is at the pinnacle of his prowess. Regarding earning potential and recognition from an overall tycoon standpoint, former Top Rank fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather, Cotto and Pacquiao serve as examples impersonation.

But every situation varies for each fighter. Time will indicate how “Bud” blossums.

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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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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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Crawford-Khan Expected To Be Announced At Jan. 15 London Presser


By Jake Donovan

It appears that Amir Khan has finally made his choice.

Weeks of speculation as to the next steps for the Brit as well as that of unbeaten pound-for-pound king and welterweight titlist Terence Crawford were finally answered on Friday. Top Rank, whom promotes Crawford, announced a major press conference to take place on Tuesday, January 15 in London.

Barring a curveball being thrown, the expectation is to reveal plans for an April 20 showdown between Crawford and Khan, which will likely headline an ESPN-distributed Pay-Per-View telecast.

Such details weren’t revealed in a cryptic press release sent through Top Rank’s press office, other than to confirm that both fighters as well as Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum and representatives from Matchroom Boxing—Khan’s promoter in the United Kingdom—will be on hand for the session.

For months, Khan appeared to be on a collision course with longtime domestic rival Kell Brook, although the two spent more time bickering through the media than in coming to terms for a long-awaited all-UK showdown.

Such a fight even was a major factor in Khan (33-4, 20KOs) signing a promotional pact with Matchroom Boxing earlier this year. He has fought twice under Matchroom’s banner, scoring wins over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas after having spent nearly two years sitting on a May ’16 knockout loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas.

From the time between his win over Vargas and Brook’s scheduled homecoming versus Michael Zerafa last December, it was believed that the two would eventually reach a deal for a super fight in the first half of 2019. Promoter Eddie Hearn was even hopeful that Khan would turn out for the Brook-Zerafa card, which landed on his 32nd birthday and with the idea of announcing their fight shortly after the main event.

Khan threw a major wrench into this plans, however, at the start of fight week. The 2008 United Kingdom Olympic Silver medalist and former 140-pound titlist dropped a bombshell in making public a lucrative offer from Top Rank to instead face Crawford.

All parties involved acknowledged that Khan stands to make more in a domestic dustup with Brook, but he liked the idea of challenging whom believes to be the very best boxer in the world. His thinking was the public appeal for a Brook fight will always be there, as such a showdown will carry a theme of unfinished business more than any surrounding relevance.

In getting Khan to mull over—and now seemingly agree to—such a fight, Crawford finally gets an opponent with a big name. The switch-hitting rising star from Omaha, Nebraska was lukewarm on the prospects of a proposed bout versus Luis Collazo, which was originally slated for March 23 at Madison Square Garden.

Collazo—a 37-year old Nuyorican and former welterweight titlist—had long ago agreed to such a fight, where he stood to make a hefty seven-figure payday for his services.

Crawford, on the other hand, never signed the bout agreement, instead reminding the Top Rank family of his desire for big fights moving forward. There’s no question a showdown with Khan carries the bigger event feel.

The proposed clash will mark the second welterweight title defense for Crawford (34-0, 25KOs), who is coming off of a 12th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Jose Benavidez last October. The bout was frowned upon by most observers—and even several members of Crawford’s inner circle—but only went to show the 31-year old’s drawing power.

The ESPN-televised clash served as the most watched boxing event of 2018, drawing well north of 2 million viewers. As for the in-ring result itself, the feat marked Crawford’s 5th straight stoppage victory, also running his record to 12-0 (9KOs) in title fights spanning three weight divisions.

Assuming that Tuesday’s press conference does in fact confirm a Crawford-Khan showdown, also expected to be part of the reveal is the destination for such a contest. New York’s Madison Square Garden was the originally targeted location for both the initially proposed March 23 date as well as April 20, although there remains a distinct possibility of the show landing in Las Vegas.

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Amir Khan: Kell Brook or Terence Crawford next?


By: Waqas Ali

Former two-time world champion Amir ‘King’ Khan is on the loop hole for a potential clash with either American Terence Crawford or domestic rival Kell Brook.

Khan, 32, who last fought back in September against Samuel Vargas, has opted the probable option of going for Crawford more than Brook.

Crawford, whose record stands at 34 victories and zero defeats is a three-weight world titlist and has had two wins in the welterweight division already.
The same division Khan (33-4) has been fighting in for the past four and half years.

Speaking to Express Sport in early December, he stated: “We’ve negotiated a lot at the moment and we are close to getting it done.

“But there are other fights out there at the moment, like pound-for-pound champions, that is on the table for me.

“And I think that’s a fight which might never, ever come in my lifetime again. The pound-for-pound title is back in the welterweight division.

“It’s Crawford. Crawford has the pound-for-pound title and I’ve got that fight right in front of me, so I want to take that one. It’s either that or the Kell Brook fight.”

Both fighters are virtuous stylistics fighters but the questions that need to be asked are: Who would be the bigger draw and who is the bigger threat?

With Crawford, 31, aka ‘Bud’ he has a reach of 74” and a height of five feet 8 inches with a knockout ratio of 74%.

In his last 10 bouts, eight of them were KO/TKOs.

Crawford’s boxing style consist of speed, power and footwork. He uses those assets very well including loading up his combinations and keeping the distance at long range.

He also switches stances every now to provide activity on both angles of conventional and southpaw.

His resume of competitive competition include Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Raymundo Beltran, Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo, and Jeff Horn.

Only fought once outside the United States, when defeating Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title in March 2014 in the UK.

Brook, 32, has a record of 38 wins and two losses. His reach stands at 69 inches and with a height of five foot nine.

The Pride of Sheffield’s style contains speed, agility and balance. His level of competition include Lovemore Ndou, Vyacheslav Senchenko & Shawn Porter. All three he won against.

Two high levelled competition he did lose to were Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr.

With Porter however it was quite competitive and to Brook’s credit he utilised his jab well in order to keep the fight at distance and countered effectively.. Brook landed 158 of 441 punches – 36% connect rate.

After losing to Spence Jr at the welterweight division, Brook decided to move to junior middleweight where he felt was the right decision.

With a recent win over Michael Zefara, it raised the question of Brooks’ capability and style of wonder in the 154 weight division.

No doubt in anyone’s mind particularly the British fans, selecting Brook would be a huge pay-per-view draw. It could possibly land in one of the biggest domestics bouts in history.

Britain is no stranger when it comes to historical domestic clashes.

Michael Watson vs Nigel Benn
Chris Eubank vs Michael Watson 1 & 2
Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn 1 & 2.
Chris Eubank vs Carl Thompson 1 & 2
Frank Bruno vs Lennox Lewis
Just to name a few.

Eddie Hearn, Brooks’ promoter, made it public that he had offered Khan £8m flat fee, plus an upside of the revenue to fight Brook.

The offer was made a week after Top Rank offered Khan £3.9m [$5 million] to face Crawford.

So by analysing the evidence upfront it would make sense to make the Brook fight happen. However with Crawford, Khan could potentially win the WBO belt from Crawford should the bout take place.

Therefore it is my belief that the Crawford is dubbed and rightfully should be as the bigger threat than Brook.
Crawford has more tools of weaponry against Brook and Khan, who has been down numerous times in his career.

Should Khan win, it would place him back in the spotlight of elite, considering the fact that Khan hasn’t won a title since early 2012 when the WBA awarded him the junior welterweight after Lamont Peterson tested positive for a banned substance.

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Somebody’s 0 Has Got to Go: The Top Three Fights Fans Want to See


By: Oliver McManus

“Somebody’s 0 has got to go”, it’s possibly the most used phrase in modern boxing. Mind you, if David Diamante has his way it will soon become “let’s nix a nil” but the premise remains the same, two unbeaten fighters putting their records on the line in, hopefully, guts-and-glory encounters.

Don’t get me wrong, a loss doesn’t make you a bad fighter and beating an unbeaten man doesn’t, equally, make you a star player in the sport. As we’ve seen recently there have been a fair few damp squibs when it comes to unbeaten vs unbeaten – Andrade vs Kautondokwa, anyone?

Nonetheless there are plenty of mouth-watering fights in prospect and these are three fights I want to see, at world level, where someone’s 0 has got to go…

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk – Heavyweight

Where better place to kick off than in the heavyweight division? Anthony Joshua has had things pretty much his own way at the top of the game since winning his first world title – sanctioned by the IBF- in 2016. Since that capitulation of Charles Martin, Joshua has fought in six world title bouts and added the WBA, WBO and IBO straps to his collection.

With a touted fight against Deontay Wilder falling by the wayside – take whoever’s side you want on that thorny issue – Joshua is next out on April 13th, at Wembley, with an opponent yet to be scheduled in.

But I’ll be honest, the tag of undisputed aside, I’d much rather see AJ in with the man who holds all of the cruiserweight belts and, arguably, one of the best in the world pound for pound. Usyk seems to me, and many others, the toughest challenge that Joshua can face.

Technically he is sublime and he possesses the heavyweight power required to take Joshua into deep water but, let’s not forget, Usyk has amateur pedigree in the heavier division so it’s not like he’s inexperienced at the weight. Even having said that experience wouldn’t be an issue for someone of such natural quality as Usyk for his fight IQ and ring-ability transcends weight classes.

Coming off the back of a breezy fight against Tony Bellew in which, if we’re honest, he never looked out of control the natural step is for Usyk to go up to heavyweight. Joshua, we know, is searching for “legacy defining” fights and a bout against Oleksandr Usyk is about as big as they come.

The fight seems the most realistic, out of all the big heavyweight contests, with Eddie Hearn taking an active involvement in the promotion of the Ukrainian powerhouse so, fingers crossed, we could see a blockbuster event next year.

Winner of Errol Spence Jnr and Mikey Garcia vs Terence Crawford – Welterweight

Announced last week is the fight that, if we’re honest, made no real sense. Mikey Garcia was the man we all wanted to see fight Vasyl Lomachenko and Errol Spence was the champion looking to unify with Terrence Crawford.

The IBF Welterweight title will be on line come March 16th with Garcia looking to become a five weight champion in his 40th fight. A frighteningly skilled boxer, the California native has continually proved his credentials with a frightening knockout power.

In his last three fights Garcia has been extended the distance but has boxed with class throughout the 36 rounds, controlling the pace of the fight and manouvering his way out of danger with a comprehensive ease.

Errol Spence Jnr goes into the bout with an obvious weight advantage – fighting 12lbs heavier than the division in which Garcia actively holds a world title. 2 years the younger man, Spence burst onto the scene in 2016 with knockout victories over Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu.

Having captured the IBF crown with a ferocious victory against Kell Brook, in Sheffield, the Texas-man has defended the belt twice in equally terrifying fashion. A non-stop work rate with continual punch output, if you let the champion unfurl his hands then you’re going to be in trouble.

And whilst the question of weight will loom over the bout until fight night, Garcia is a consummate professional and an outstanding athlete. For a man trying to prove his ability in the welterweight division, there could be no better way to silence the critics than claiming a world title in your first fight so that’s where Terence Crawford comes into play.

Errol Spence is the man that people wanted to see in a unification class with Bud, they would produce a scintillating fight. If Mikey Garcia is able to overcome such a challenge then he will have instantaneously justified getting a fight with the WBO champion.

All roads lead to unification, or so they… bring it on!

Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol – Light Heavyweight

We’ll deal with the younger boxer first in Dmitry Bivol who ticked over towards the back of 2014 with a Bronze Medal at the 2008 Youth World Championships and a Gold Medal at the 2013 World Combat Games. A two time Russian national champion with a record of 268-15, his amateur pedigree was impressive but paled in comparison to his counterpart.

As a professional, though, the 27 year old really turned up the heat by claiming the first, major, belt of his career in just his fifth fight. The knockout power we all enjoy was evident from the first second of his debut but, with that, he’d find opponents looking to hold and just survive through the early phases. Not that that mattered, Bivol has always found ways of punishing his opponent.

Even when he has been stretched the distance – three times in 14 fights – the Kyrgyzstan-born man has always looked in complete control with an array of power punches as well as technical skill. Of course we’ll all remember his fierce one-punch knockout over, admittedly over-matched, Trent Broadhurst that saw Bivol claimed champion.

Successful defences against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba have followed – he next fights Jean Pascal on the 24th – but surely the Russian will be eying up the options for unification come the turn of the year.

Beterbiev, on the other hand, turned pro in the middle of 2013 and initially built up a strong following in Canada – the elite amateur (World Champion & runner up, two-time European champion) had moved to Montreal in order to purse his professional ambitions.

At 5 and 0 he stepped up to face Tavoris Cloud – a former IBF champion – and dealt with the threat of the American, coming off a world title loss, in convincing fashion. The momentum from this bout seemed to follow as Beterbiev looked to fight better opponents at every opportunity possible.

A refreshing attitude of “fight who’s in front of me and knock them out” has ensured success with all thirteen of his wins coming via an early stoppage. A grizzly fighter, that’s the best way to describe it, Beterbiev never looks the fastest of opponents but, boy, does he have vicious punch power.

Typically standing with his hands at shoulder level, the 33 year old stands ready to pounce and is mature enough not to go out all-guns-blazing. The IBF champion won his title against Enrico Koelling last November and, in a fight that ended in the 12th, boxed patiently and calmly to do so.

Two unbeaten Russian powerhouses, slugging it out to unify light heavyweight world titles… what more could you ask for?

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Spence-Crawford And The Long Road To Nowhere


By Jake Donovan

The last time the top two welterweights in boxing happened to meet up in the same basketball arena and talk shop, it eventually resulted in the most lucrative event in the sport’s history.

Then again, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao weren’t just the best two welterweights in the world but also the best pound-for-pound and were circling each other for more than five years by the time they happened to run into each other at a Jan. ’15 Miami Heat game.

A budding rivalry has only just begun between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, both of whom are current unbeaten welterweight titlists. They’ve exchanged pleasantries (read: insults) through social media, and for real this past Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, home to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

It made for fun immediate reaction and a slew of clickbait headlines. Just don’t expect to lead to a head-on collision anytime soon—if ever at all.

The pair of elite boxers were on hand to take in Top Rank’s ESPN-televised show. Crawford is a regular ringside observer for his promoter’s events while not headlining his own shows.

Spence—who is advised by Al Haymon and fights under the Premier Boxing Champions banner on Showtime and now Fox prime—was in the house in support of fellow Dallas boxer Maurice Hooker, who defended his 140-pound title with a spectacular 7th round stoppage of Oklahoma City’s own Alex Saucedo.

While the aforementioned title fight was the main reason for the boxing world tuning in on Friday, it gave way to a much bigger sidebar, not unlike how Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting during halftime in South Beach is far more fondly recalled than the Heat eventually losing that night to the Milwaukee Bucks.

A major development worth noting from that Jan. ’15 entry was the fact that Mayweather and Pacquiao huddled up behind closed doors after the game, talking for more than an hour about the need for their long-awaited clash to finally become reality. In stark contrast, Friday’s run-in between Spence and Crawford ended with more of the same between the two— a lot of talk, but the realization that their careers will run in separate directions.

Spence practically admitted as such, not even bothering to bite his tongue in rattling off a potential 2019 campaign that won’t—or, frankly, doesn’t need to—include Crawford. The 2012 U.S. Olympian and reigning top welterweight is currently on course to face unbeaten four-division titlist Mikey Garcia next March at AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

With a win, the rest of Spence’s 2019 campaign—as he suggested—would put him in the ring with two more of the top welterweights on the PBC side of the street.

PBC and Fox recently rolled out their 1st quarter schedule on the free-to-air network and its regional cable affiliate FS1. Just about every welterweight of note under Haymon’s advisory banner is scheduled to appear in the first four months of 2019. Aside from Spence—who along with Garcia will headline a Pay-Per-View event for the first time in their respective careers—comes four more welterweight bouts of significance.

Keith Thurman will fight for the first time since March ’17, as he faces Josesito Lopez in late January live on Fox in primetime. A similar setting will be provided for recently crowned two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter, who defends versus mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas on March 9, as does an April meet between Danny Garcia—whose lone two career losses have come versus Thurman and Porter—and Adrian Granados, while Lamont Peterson and Sergey Lipinets collide in late February on FS1 with an interim title at stake.

Outside of that deal will come a January 19 superfight between Pacquiao—who earlier this fall joined the PBC family after more than a decade with Top Rank—and Adrien Broner live on Showtime PPV from Las Vegas.

The bouts being presented in such a cluster are undoubtedly designed to mix and match the winners—and possibly even several of the losing fighters—later in the year, perhaps as early as the beginning of the summer season. Spence suggested that should he and Porter win their next fights, a unification clash would immediately follow.

From there would come a pairing that would help advance Spence from rising superstar to industry leader, as he is already being groomed for a late 2019 run-in with Pacquiao, assuming the two can win out.

While the sport is available more than ever in U,S. markets thanks to lucrative deals with Showtime, Fox, ESPN and sports streaming service DAZN, the downside is that we’re getting a lot of fights but not necessarily THE biggest fights we’d like to see. The lone exception in the past couple of years came in the form of two sensational middleweight championship fights between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, yet even that pairing coming after nearly two years of talk.

Given that take, boxing fans are already clamoring for Spence and Crawford to meet sooner rather than later in lieu of history repeating itself. The sport doesn’t need another long-term Mayweather-Pacquiao soap opera, yet already has one at the heavyweight level with unbeaten titlists Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder continuing to come up with endless ways to say “No” rather than just one way to say “Yes.”

The ugly truth, however, is that Spence can afford to disappoint boxing fans by not fighting Crawford as long as Haymon can keep his word of matching his stud welterweight against the rest of PBC’s top players in the division, particularly a Pacquiao superfight.

Top Rank can’t make the same promises to its superstar. It could produce a negative public perception of Crawford despite his clearly wanting the fight far more than his counterpart.

Another reason for Crawford sitting ringside on Friday was to scout his next likely opponent. On the undercard, fellow unbeaten Top Rank-promoted welterweight Egidijus Kavaliauskas stopped Roberto Arriaza in three rounds to solidify his place as Crawford’s opponent. It’s a solid matchup on paper, but not one that even remotely moves the needle.

The same sad state applies for any other in-house welterweight Top Rank can summon for its top client, who just re-inked with the Las Vegas based promotional outfit earlier this fall. Crawford and his team agreeing to stick with Top Rank while fully aware that all of his top completion fights under the PBC banner is a fact that boxing fans won’t forget as long as he’s stuck settling for the Jeff Horns and Jose Benavidez’s of the world.

No matter how often he calls out Spence or any other top PBC welterweight, no matter how many in-person or social media run-ins take place, anything short of such a fight materializing will ultimately hurt the fighter who clearly wants it more.

This much wasn’t at all lost on Spence when he and Crawford decided to engage in banter that immediately made the rounds. He doesn’t care if he’s portrayed as the bad guy in any of this, when the truth is that a year from how he’ll boast the far healthier welterweight résumé no matter how he’s mixed and matched in house—and even without facing his biggest threat.

Mayweather made a very similar blueprint work in his favor, while Pacquiao would suffer two losses and eventually run out of available challenges worth arousing public interest. It’s possible that Crawford can run the tables for years, but testing the public’s—and his own—patience is not a long-term plan anyone is willing to once again embrace.

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Jose Benavidez Jr. Has No Intentions To Lose


By: Rich Mancuso

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

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By: William Holmes

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

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

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Terence Crawford Readies for Homecoming Bout Against Jose Benavidez Jr.


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

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


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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

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

Terence “Bud” Crawford

On the beef between him and Benavidez

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

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

On whether Benavidez deserves the title shot

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

On people asking about future opponents and not Benavidez

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

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

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

Jose Benavidez Jr.

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

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

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

Shakur Stevenson

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

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

On Simion as a fighter

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

On fighting as ESPN co-feature

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

Mikaela Mayer

On moving down to 130 pounds

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

On adjusting to the pro game

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

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

Mike Alvarado

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

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

On fighting in front a raucous crowd Omaha

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

Carlos Adames

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

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

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

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

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

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