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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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April 20: Crawford-Khan Lands at Madison Square Garden


Start spreading the news. The year’s most anticipated welterweight showdown is headed to The World’s Most Famous Arena.

Terence “Bud” Crawford will defend his WBO welterweight world title against Amir “King” Khan on Saturday, April 20 at Madison Square Garden.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions, tickets for this world championship event go on sale Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 12 p.m. ET/9a.m. PT. Tickets priced at $606, $406, $306, $206, $106, $81, and $56 (including facility fees) 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.

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

“I can’t wait to head back to New York City and Madison Square Garden for this fight with Amir Khan. The Garden is the perfect venue for a fight of this magnitude,” Crawford said. “I know that my fans will make the trip up to New York and I’ll have a ton of support when I step in to the ring. I expect Khan’s British fans to come out as well, and I believe we will have a packed house on April 20. It’s going to be a great fight so make sure to get your tickets early.”

“New York is undoubtedly one of my most favorite cities in the world, and it’s like a second home to me,” Khan said. “This is the biggest fight of my career against one of the world’s best in Terence Crawford, and Madison Square Garden is the perfect venue for a fight of this magnitude. It’s a short flight for my fans from the United Kingdom, and they will be coming over in droves to see this fantastic fight. I want to become a three-time world champion, and that is my primary motivation to win this fight.”

“Terence Crawford is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, he always puts on a show at Madison Square Garden, and we’re excited New York fight fans will be able to see him fight again at The Garden on April 20,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Marquee Events. “This will be an action-packed fight between Crawford and Amir Khan, and The Garden is excited to host this great night of boxing.”

Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), widely regarded as the world’s best fighter, is a three-weight world champion who has knocked out five consecutive opponents. A former undisputed 140-pound world champion, Crawford won the WBO welterweight title in June 2018 with a ninth-round stoppage of Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. He defended the belt in October with a 12th-round TKO over bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. This will be Crawford’s second headlining appearance at the big arena at Madison Square Garden. In May 2017, he knocked out 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz in 10 rounds.

Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), a former unified world champion at 140 pounds, has won two in a row since his 2016 knockout loss to middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. He is 4-0 in his career when fighting as a welterweight, including wins over former world champions Devon Alexander, Chris Algieri, and Luis Collazo. Khan headlined at Madison Square Garden once before when he defended his WBA 140-pound world title against Paulie Malignaggi at The Theater on May 15, 2010.

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Crawford-Khan On For April 20th


By: Sean Crose

“It’s Happening!!!!”

With the above words, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions let the world know, via Twitter, that WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford would indeed be facing off against the talented and well known Amir Khan on April 20th. The tweet was accompanied by a picture of both men squaring off and the hashtag #CrawfordKhan. Fans and analysts had expected the announcement to be made for at least several days, after it became clear that the two sides had reached an agreement.

The match will give Crawford a name opponent and Khan another chance at the glory that has eluded him over the years. The bout will be aired live on Pay Per View, courtesy ESPN, which has a deal with Top Rank. It has yet to be announced where the fight will take place. Crawford, who fights under Arum’s famous Top Rank Promotions banner, is widely regarded as one of the top fighters in the world. The fact that most known welterweights fight under rival Al Haymon’s PBC banner, however, has made it difficult for the Omaha, Nebraska native to face big name rivals. The announcement of the fight with Khan changes that.

England’s Khan, a former top Olympian, has long been known for his speed and gamesmanship inside the ring. He’s often come up short in big fights, however, and was avoided by Floyd Mayweather when the then pound for pound king instead decided to face Marcos Maidana in 2014. There had been talk that Khan would face countrymen and rival Kell Brook in a British superfight, but Khan opted for Crawford instead, presumably because a win over Crawford would establish him as one of the biggest names in the entire boxing business. Known for craving major fights, Khan has once again landed on a major pay per view event (he lost to Canelo Alvarez in a game but doomed Pay Per View broadcasted effort in 2016).

This will be ESPN’s first foray into the Pay Per View Market. British super promoter Eddie Hearn will also promote the fight on behalf of Khan, though he reportedly wishes that Khan would have faced his countryman Brook rather than Crawford. With a record of 33-4, Khan will clearly be the underdog in this fight. Still, the 34-0 Crawford has arguably not met anyone of Khan’s caliber at welterweight, where he has fought since unifying the junior welterweight titles in 2017 against Julius Indongo.

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Kell Brook Prepared To Move On As Khan Mulls Crawford Offer


By Jake Donovan

From the moment news leaked of a proposed opportunity to face unbeaten welterweight titlist Terence Crawford next March, many in the industry lauded Amir Khan for his career-long willingness to take on all comers.

However, you can count Kell Brook among the few not quite impressed with the Brit’s in-ring pursuits—and for several good reasons.

In a story first broken by the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, Khan revealed that plans for his next superfight wouldn’t be that of a long awaited showdown with longtime in-country rival Brook but a trip to New York’s Madison Square Garden to face the reigning pound-for-pound king in Crawford. The news stings in more ways than one, as it came at the start of fight week for Brook, who faces Michael Zerefa this Saturday at home in Sheffield, England.

The show lands on Khan’s 32nd birthday, which promoter Eddie Hearn hoped to help the former 140-pound titlist celebrate with the reveal of a superfight with Brook finally occurring in 2019. However, Khan—while still considering the lucrative offer from Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum—instantly spoiled those plans with a doubly stinging announcement of his own, that he won’t be in attendance and is more likely to head back to the United States for his next fight.

“Fighting for a pound-for-pound title would be amazing,” Khan (33-4, 20KOs) told the Daily Mail on Monday of his desire to face Crawford over Brook. “To win it would be even better, so I think I’m in a position where I can get that fight with the pound-for-pound champion.

“The Brook fight is always going to be there. It’s for no title, whereas I’m getting offered a world title and the pound-for-pound title. So why not?”

His countryman is more than happy to explain.

“It’s not [going to be there],” Brook (37-2, 26KOs) insisted in a recent interview with BBC Sport. “I am going to go after the big names in America and the fights all the fans want. I am going to do my thing. I don’t need him at all.”

The offer on the table for Khan is reportedly a $5 million guarantee, with incentives as a showdown with Crawford—if finalized—would land on Pay-Per-View as distributed by ESPN. It would also mark a return to the site of Khan’s stateside debut, as his first U.S fight came in a May ’10 stoppage win over Paul Malignaggi at MSG Theatre (now the Hulu Theatre).

Khan has fought 10 times overall in the U.S., his last trip abroad coming in a 6th round knockout loss to middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their May ’16 155-pound catchweight bout. He returned to the ring this past April, having won a pair of tune-up bouts atop shows promoted by Hearn with whom he joined forces earlier this year.

Their partnership was designed to lead to an eventual collision with Brook, but piecing together such an event has proven problematic, to say the least. The loss to Alvarez undoubtedly still resonates with Khan, who has demanded a rehydration clause be in place for a clash with Brook, a former welterweight titlist who is now campaigning in the super welterweight division.

Brook agreed to come down to welterweight for such a fight, but thus far has refused to commit to a rehydration cap. Khan has demanded a second-day weigh-in where neither boxer can gain more than 10 pounds from the contracted weight, whereas Brook’s position is that his coming down to the 147-pound limit is already a major concession.

It appeared as if both sides would find common ground in order to deliver good news this weekend. However, a window of opportunity for Khan to look elsewhere came when it was revealed by BoxingScene.com’s Keith Idec that Crawford’s reported March 23 MSG headliner versus Luis Collazo wasn’t quite finalized.

Collazo—a former welterweight titlist whom Khan dominated in a May ’14 clash in Las Vegas—had long ago agreed to terms to make the short trek from Brooklyn to MSG. Crawford and his team, on the other hand, had been vocal in demands for bigger fights, and seemed convinced that something better was out there.

Such desire prompted Top Rank—who’d previously sought the services of former two-division titlist Danny Garcia for Crawford—to go after Khan, who seemingly has no problem walking away from a far more lucrative grudge match with Brook.

Should he agree to terms to face Crawford, it could be his last guaranteed big fight.

“I would like to have announced our fight in the ring and give fans an early Christmas present,” revealed Brook, who seeks his second win following a welterweight title reign-ending knockout loss to Errol Spence last May. “But it does not look like it will happen. It looks like he has run off again.

“I have done everything in my powers for it to happen. It is him who has let the public down. (But) it’s not the end of the world and I will move on. I am more established at welterweight being world champion. I will be hunting these guys and the weight above at light middleweight.”

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Terence Crawford is Special at Welterweight


By: Kirk Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By Jake Donovan

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

Apparently, both sides are tuning in whenever he fights.

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By: William Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

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

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

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

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

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ESPN+ Results: Crawford Wipes Out Horn


By: Sean Crose

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


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Three Possible Outcomes for the Horn vs Crawford Welterweight Showdown


By Eric Lunger

On paper, this June 9th clash from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a good fight. Jeff Horn is a confident and undefeated world champion making his second title defense. Confounding all doubters, he dethroned the fearsome hall-of-fame legend Manny Pacquiao in July of last year by resolutely sticking to his blue-collar game plan. Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) is bulldog tough and has never been stopped.

Terence “Bud” Crawford is a two-division world champion with an impressive professional resume, and he is looking to win a third championship in the always fascinating welterweight division. Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) is a formidable talent who moves brilliantly, lands punches accurately from all angles, and is as crafty and smart as they come.

Despite the matchup on paper, however, Jeff Horn has a big – perhaps impossible – bridge to cross. Here, in decreasing likelihood, are three scenarios for the fight, as I see it.

First, Crawford simply outclasses the Australian champ, opens a cut and we have a TKO in the fourth or fifth round. In this scenario, Crawford takes one round to figure out his range and his opponent’s movement, then he starts to set his traps and lure Horn in, and Horn does like to be the aggressive pressure fighter. This will play into Crawford’s strengths, which are hand speed, accuracy, and overall ring savvy. Once he has Horn hurt or cut, Crawford’s killer instinct will end the bout. Or, Horn will walk into something, à la Julius Indongo in Crawford’s last outing.

In our second scenario, Crawford wins on points by boxing from range, switching hands, and overall technical proficiency. The looping punches and hay-makers that Horn threw in the Corcoran fight will not be productive. Crawford is too slick defensively to be caught like that, and he is quick to punish mistakes. Horn has never faced anyone with Crawford’s movement, especially his in-and-out distance control. Horn will spend the night trying to establish his inside game, but Crawford’s footwork won’t let him. If Crawford can land punches from range, he will score points and most likely goad the proud Australian into opening up.

Third and least likely, Horn uses his size to bully and muscle Crawford, making it an ugly, phonebooth fight. The WBO champ can be formidable when he bulls forward with his chin tucked to his chest and throws blind hooks. Horn can also be reckless with his head, to be put it politely. But Crawford is no rookie, and he won’t fight inside unless on his terms. Even in this scenario, I don’t see Horn winning on points in front of a panel of American judges. He is going to have to do something special to break down and defeat a fighter of Terrence Crawford’s caliber. Unfortunately for Horn, the man from Omaha, Nebraska, is bridge too far.

Which of these scenarios, if any, will come true? We will see next Saturday night, live on ESPN+. How do you see the fight turning out? Please leave your comments below or continue the conversation on Twitter (@lungee77).

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Horn To Possibly Face Crawford in New York; Pacquiao Rumored to be on Card


By: Sean Crose

Although nothing has been made official yet, indications point to WBO world welterweight champion Jeff Horn facing his mandatory challenger, Terence Crawford, at the historic Madison Square Garden in the spring. What’s more, Manny Pacquiao may be making his ring return (it will be his first fight since losing to Horn via controversial decision last summer) on the same card. Fox Sports Australia reports that “Horn’s welterweight world title defense against unbeaten American Crawford is likely to be officially confirmed soon, but it won’t happen in Las Vegas as first planned.” What’s more, Fox claims “Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has revealed he’s looking to book Pacquiao’s much-anticipated return to the ring on the same card.”

Horn (18-0-1) stunned the world when judges awarded him a surprise decision win against Pacquiao in July. Although many – perhaps even most – felt Pacquiao won the fight, the judges’ decision, rendered in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, made the now 29 year old Australian a world champion. Pacquiao afterwards returned to Filipino politics, where the iconic fighter works as a sitting senator. Meanwhile, Nebraska’s Crawford (32-0) unified the junior welterweight division by destroying the 22-0 Julian Indongo in August before announcing that he’d be moving a division up, to welterweight.

There had been word that Horn would face fellow Australian 48-8 Anthony Mundine in a homeland superbout, but a match with the more challenging Crawford clearly took precedent. Having won a single defense against 17-1 Gary Cochoran since besting Pacquiao, Horn will be fighting in the United States for the first time, if and when the bout with Crawford (and it’s New York City location) becomes official. Should the planned MSG fight become a reality, it will be Crawford’s third match in the Big Apple. As for Pacquiao, it’s unknown who his opponent would be.

There have been rumors that the fighter known as PacMan was willing to go down in weight to fight wunderkind Vasyl Lomachenko, or even cash in on a novelty bout with UFC star Conor McGregor. Neither of those possibilities (if they even were true possibilities) appear to have led anywhere, however, so it’s a bit up in the air as to who the legendary 59-7-2 multi-titlist will face next. With Crawford favored to best Horn, however, there is a belief that Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Crawford, might arrange for the two men to eventually clash.

The Madison Square Garden Horn-Crawford-Pacquiao card is expected to go down on April 14th.

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