Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is new to the welterweight division but he has his sights set on attaining the same thing he did in junior welterweight: joining the world names.
The man they call”Bud” currently has one of his own, a WBO world title he earned by choosing aside Jeff Horn in June in his first bout at 147 pounds. He will defend it on Saturday night against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs), an undefeated 26-year-old just two years removed from a shooting that almost ended his career.
As hard as Benavidez may be, he’s not what Crawford wants. Crawford is 31 years old and only now entering boxing’s most gifted division. He’s one of those sports best talents but is far from a household name. He’s searching for greater glory, fast. That may even mean passing up Manny Pacquiao, the WBA”regular” winner.
“He is not a winner in my eyes,” Crawford said, per BoxingScene.com’s Keith Idec. “He do not have the superb belt. That’s the champion in my eyes. I look at the number one winner in the branch. I really don’t look at the WBC silver and the interim straps and all that. I look at the super [winner ] and the actual champion of this division.”
That would mean the likes of Keith Thurman, the WBA”super” champion that has been inactive because of injury. Or better yet, Errol Spence Jr. (IBF), with whom Crawford has been trading insults with for months. Perhaps even Shawn Porter (WBC) may be in the mixture.
Crawford needs among those fights to occur –the earlier the better for his career and heritage. But first up is yet another evaluation struggle, which Crawford always appears to ace.
Crawford vs. Benavidez Jr.. Fight Info
When: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska
TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Odds: Crawford -3500 (bet $3,500 to win $100), Benavidez Jr. +1200 (bet $100 to win $1,200)
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com and updated at Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 a.m. ET.
As hungry as Benavidez may be, he’s likely to be hard pushed to beat Crawford, who is an overwhelming favourite going into Saturday’s bout. Crawford can change stances. He strikes with precision power and speed. Most opponents find him difficult to hit, even as Crawford publicly taunts them in the ring.