Crawford-Mean Machine, Commey-Lopez set for 12/14 at MSG

Terence “Bud” Crawford will defend his WBO welterweight world title against undefeated mandatory challenger Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas Saturday, December 14 at Madison Square Garden as part of a special ESPN-televised tripleheader that will immediately follow the 2019 Heisman Trophy Presentation (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). ESPN Deportes will provide the Spanish-language telecast.

The triple-header on ESPN and ESPN Deportes will also feature IBF lightweight world champion Richard “RC” Commey defending his title against human highlight film and Brooklyn native Teofimo Lopez. Additionally, in the 10-round featherweight special attraction, Irish sensation and New York fan favorite Michael “Mick” Conlan will battle unbeaten Russian Vladimir Nikitin in a rematch of their highly controversial 2016 Olympic quarterfinal bout.

“This is the best fight card of the year, and Madison Square Garden is a fitting venue for what will be a special night,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Terence Crawford is a generational talent, but he’ll have his hands full against the ‘Mean Machine.’ Teofimo Lopez is taking a giant step up against Commey, and it will be a tremendous fight. Mick Conlan has been asking for Nikitin since the day he signed with Top Rank. He finally gets his wish, and I know he wants to correct the tremendous injustice of the Rio Olympics.”

“Egidijus Kavaliauskas is a two-time Olympian and I can’t take him lightly,” Crawford said. “He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose and that makes him dangerous. I never overlook any opponent, and this will be no exception. I’ll be ready for anything and everything he brings on December 14 when I return to my second home, Madison Square Garden, and live on ESPN.”

Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, has been impeccable since turning professional, winning world titles in three weight classes and unifying all four major world titles at super lightweight. He is 13-0 with 10 knockouts in world title bouts and has knocked out his last six opponents, including Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz, bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. and Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. In his last bout, April 20 at Madison Square Garden, Crawford neutralized former unified super lightweight world champion Amir “King” Khan en route to a sixth-round TKO after Khan could not continue following a low blow. Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) will be the fourth undefeated fighter Crawford has faced in his last five bouts.

A native of Kaunas, Lithuania, Kavaliauskas represented his homeland at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, rising the professional ranks with convincing victories over perennial contenders Juan Carlos Abreu and Roberto Arriaza. Kavaliauskas has a February 2018 TKO win over David Avanesyan, who is now the current European welterweight champion. He has never been knocked down as a pro or amateur and trains out of the famed Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California.

Commey (29-2, 24 KOs) has had a career year, winning the vacant IBF lightweight title February 2 in Frisco, Texas with a devastating second-round TKO over Isa Chaniev. He defended the belt June 29, knocking down former lightweight world champion Ray Beltran down four times before stopping him in the eighth round. A native of, Accra, Ghana, he has won four in a row by knockout.

Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs), at 22 years old, is one of boxing’s budding superstars a big-punching, big-talking fighter who has become the sport’s latest viral sensation. His post-fight Fortnite celebrations and backflips are the exclamation point to his highlight-reel knockouts. He fought last year on the post-Heisman Trophy celebration telecast, knocking out Mason Menard in 44 seconds and then putting on the jersey of Heisman winner Kyler Murray. Lopez is 3-0 in 2019, most recently prevailing via 12-round decision July 19 over Japanese veteran Masayoshi Nakatani in a title eliminator.

“I’m very excited to fight at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, in my second world title defense against Teofimo Lopez,” Commey said. “My lifelong dream of becoming a world champion became a reality through many years of hard work in my homeland of Ghana through the UK, Europe and finally in the United States. I want to thank everyone on my team for making this possible. On December 14, I will put on another spectacular performance in defending my world title for my fans in the arena and those watching on ESPN and around the world.”

“Richard has fought all over the world for many years to achieve his lifelong dream of not only becoming a true world champion, but also becoming a boxing star, and on December 14 against Teofimo Lopez, I believe that he will successfully defend his title for the second time in spectacular fashion,” said Lou DiBella, Commey’s promoter.

“I’m finally back at Madison Square Garden, the place where I always wanted to win my first world title,” Lopez said. “I believe this fight will shut up all of the critics and prove to everyone that I back up my talking in the ring. I respect Commey as a champion, but when we’re in that ring, it’s going to be lights out for him. Come December 14, I am officially taking over the lightweight division.”

Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs), who is ranked in the top 10 as a featherweight by three of the major sanctioning organizations, is looking to avenge the final, and most controversial loss, of his amateur career. With a semifinal berth — and a guaranteed Olympic medal — on the line, Nikitin was the beneficiary of a decision most experts believe Conlan deserved. The indelible image of the Rio Olympics was Conlan’s double middle-finger salute to the judges. Conlan’s disappointment motivated him for what has been a flawless professional campaign. A proven ticket-seller at Madison Square Garden thanks to his annual St. Patrick’s Day appearances, Conlan is coming off a rousing TKO win over Diego Alberto Ruiz on August 3 in front of 10,000 hometown fans at Belfast’s Falls Park.

Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs) did not turn pro immediately following the 2016 Olympics, electing to fight as an amateur throughout 2017. He signed a professional contract in 2018 with Top Rank, in large part because he wanted to face Conlan as a pro. Nikitin’s come-forward style has translated to the pro ranks, as he’s won a trio of decisions. He has fought on the same card as Conlan twice as a professional. The message was clear: Conlan and Nikitin were destined to meet again. They were supposed to fight August 3 at Falls Park, but Nikitin suffered a torn biceps in training.

“I’m beyond excited to fight for the sixth time in my favorite venue in the world, the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden,” Conlan said. “The boxing fans in New York City have been incredibly supportive of my career, and I look forward to putting on another great show for them, as well as my Irish fans coming over for this massive holiday event.

“Vladimir Nikitin and I have unfinished business from the 2016 Olympics, and I can’t wait until December 14 to set the record straight.”

“Michael Conlan has done a lot of talking about me and our Olympic fight over the last few years. The talking finally ends December 14,” Nikitin said. “He’s bitter over our last fight and can’t accept the result. Well, my hand will be raised once again.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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Spence on Porter fight: ‘The winner of this fight is definitely going to be the best welterweight in the world’

Unbeaten IBF Welterweight Champion and Dallas hometown hero Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. hosted a media workout for fans Thursday at Texas Live! In Arlington, as he nears his welterweight title unification clash against “Showtime” Shawn Porter headlining a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, September 28 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

Spence met with fans and showed off his skills along with head trainer Derrick James at Thursday’s open to the public event, which also featured DJ Bay Bay from KKDA-FM in Dallas.

“Anyone who doubts me just motivates me to keep grinding and go even harder,” Spence said. “They can keep doubting me, but I’m going to stay focused and train hard.

“Everything I said I’d do in a fight I’ve done so far. I expect a knockout, and that’s what’s going to happen on September 28.”

According to Spence, the winner of this fight can call themselves the best fighter at 147.

“The winner of this fight is definitely going to be the best welterweight in the world. There’s no way around it. Being a unified champion and stamping my place in the division makes me even hungrier to win.

“I’m looking to make a statement by being the first person to knock Shawn out. I showed people that I have the great boxing skills against Mikey Garcia, and now I’m going to remind everyone about my power on September 28.”

Porter has been in with some best at 147, including former world champions, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, but according to Spence, he is on a different level than those guys.

“I’m different than anybody Shawn’s ever fought. I’m not Keith Thurman, and I’m not Danny Garcia,” Spence said. “Shawn has been in a lot of close fights with great fighters, but I’m going to bring something he’s never seen before.”

The winner of this fight will be one of the best at 147, but until Spence or Porter fights WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, we can’t call them the best in the welterweight division. Hopefully, that can happen in the future.

Charlo: ‘I definitely believe Terence Crawford stands zero chance against Errol Spence’

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford probably won’t be fighting anytime soon. As much as we would all like to see it, the business of boxing stands in the way for now.

However, if it were to happen, according to Jermell Charlo, it would be a comfortable night for Spence.

“I definitely believe Terence Crawford stands zero chance against Errol Spence. Zero. Zero,” Charlo told TMZ Sports.

When pressed on why he gives Crawford no chance against Spence, Charlo had this to say.

“There’s zero chance. Errol is just the bigger, monster fighter.”

Keep in mind, Charlo, and Spence both train with Derrick James, so you would almost expect Charlo to side with Spence. Obviously, a guy with Crawford’s talents has a chance against any fighter at 147.

Crawford wants the fight bad and said so after beating Amir Khan in April, and Spence continues to say the fight will happen.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Photos: Crawford, Khan make weight

Here are the weights for all the fighters on the Crawford-Khan fight card:

• Terence Crawford 146.4 lbs vs. Amir Khan 146.6 lbs
(Crawford’s WBO Welterweight world title – 12 Rounds)

• Teofimo Lopez 135 lbs vs. Edis Tatli 134.8 lbs
(Lopez’s NABF Lightweight title – 12 Rounds)

• Shakur Stevenson 125.8 lbs vs. Christopher Diaz 125.6 lbs
(Stevenson’s IBF Intercontinental and vacant NABO Featherweight titles – 10 Rounds)

• Felix Verdejo 135 lbs vs. Bryan Vasquez 135.4 lbs
(Lightweight – 10 Rounds)

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (6 p.m. EST)

• Carlos Adames 154 lbs vs. Frank Galarza 153.4 lbs

(Adames’ NABF and vacant NABO 154-pound titles – 10 Rounds)

• Edgar Berlanga 163.8 lbs vs. Samir Barbosa 160 lbs
(Middleweight – 8 Rounds)

• Larry Fryers 140 lbs vs. Dakota Polley 139.6 lbs
(Super Lightweight – 6/4 Rounds)

• Vikas Krishan 154.2 lbs vs. Noah Kidd 153.2 lbs
(Super Welterweight – 6 Rounds)

• Lawrence Newton 118.2 lbs vs. Jonathan Garza 119 lbs
(Bantamweight – 6 Rounds)

Photos:
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PAmir_Khan_flex
Photos: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Danny Garcia on Crawford-Khan: ‘I honestly believe it’s a 50/50 fight’

Not many are giving Amir Khan much of a chance on Saturday night against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford at MSG, and rightfully so. Crawford is one of the most skilled welterweights in boxing, and Khan has proven that his chin can be shaky at times.

But, Khan has excellent speed and has shown the ability to win rounds with that hand speed. One guy who knows about Khan’s skills is Danny Garcia, who stopped Khan back in 2012. However, before the stoppage, Khan was having a lot of success against the Philadelphia native.

Garcia, who battles Adrian Granados on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, believes Crawford-Khan could be a close fight.

“(Amir)Khan is not an easy style to prepare for. He has fast hands, and he has quick feet,” Garcia recently said on a conference call. “So it’s definitely going to be an entertaining fight.

‘Terence Crawford is not a really a pressure fighter. He’ll try to knock you out one punch or try to break you down and take you out of the lead.

“I honestly believe it’s a 50/50 fight. I think Terence Crawford has more momentum going into the fight then Khan, but I honestly think it’s a 50/50 fight.”

Khan is no scrub, and could be Crawford’s toughest test. If Khan chin holds up, he could make this a close fight. Should be an interesting night of boxing in New York City!

Crawford: ‘I feel like a lot of times people don’t give me credit for who I’ve beaten’

WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford(34-0, 25 KOs) has been a dominant force in boxing. He won titles at 135 and unified all the titles at 140, and on Saturday, he continues his quest to show the world that he is the best at 147 when he battles Amir Khan(33-4, 20 KOs) at Madison Square Garden. (ESPN PPV).

“I feel like I’m already the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” Crawford said at a media workout today. “Beating Amir Khan would only solidify my place in the sport. Amir Khan is undefeated as a welterweight and can’t be underestimated. He has great hand speed, movement, and some power as well. I want to showcase all of my talents in this fight.”

Even though Crawford has won titles in multiple divisions, he feels that his resume does not get the respect he thinks it deserves, and recently, Khan said he would be undefeated if he faced Crawford’s opponents.

“I feel like a lot of times people don’t give me credit for who I’ve beaten,” Crawford said. “I’ve defeated gold medalists, undefeated fighters, world champions. It doesn’t matter. Before my fights, people talk about how it’s going to be the hardest fight of my career. Then I beat them, and people make them seem like they were nothing. I am going to keep doing what I’m doing and keep being victorious.”

Crawford’s resume is not awful, but it’s not the best either. You could argue that his best win was against Viktor Postol back in 2016. However, sometimes it’s not who you fight, but how you beat them, and Crawford has dominated the opposition. He has stopped his last five opponents.

Khan might be Crawford’s best opponent. Say what you want about Khan, but he has beaten some quality opponents. Guys such as Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, and Devon Alexander. Therefore, Khan won’t be easy for Crawford, but it’s a fight Crawford should win.

 

Andrade on Spence: ‘He’s kind of a one-dimensional guy right now'(Watch)

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is one of the best at 147, and one of the best in boxing. Recently, he toyed with Mikey Garcia and dominated him for 12 rounds to get the unanimous decision. We don’t know what’s next for Spence, but we do know who we would like it to be, and that is WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford.

The undefeated Crawford will battle Amir Khan on April 20 at MSG, and according to his promoter, Bob Arum, if Crawford gets by Khan, he would look to make Spence-Crawford next. But, Spence is with PBC, and Crawford is with Top Rank/ESPN, so making the fight won’t be easy.

However, if the fight were to happen, WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade would go with Crawford.

“I’m a go with Crawford,” Andrade said. “He can box, he can take a good shot, and he knows how to use the ring real well; He’s got ring generalship. Versus Errol, he’s kind of a one-dimensional guy right now. He’s relying on power so much… It’s kind of funny that you knocked down Kell Brook, Chris Algieri, few other guys, but you don’t knock down Mikey Garcia.”

Spence showed his boxing skills against Garcia, and proved in the fight that he is more than just a “one-dimensional fighter.” Spence could fight WBC welterweight champion, Shawn Porter, next, and from there, if both fighters continue to win, maybe Arum and Al Haymon can figure it out at some point, but for now, we wait and see.

Listen as Andrade talks Spence-Crawford:

 

 

Crawford-Khan: ESPN PPV details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Boxer Amir Khan meets Golden State Warriors

Before continuing his preparation for his April 20 world title showdown against pound-for-pound kingpin Terence “Bud” Crawford, former world champion Amir “King” Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) made a pit stop Monday at the Golden State Warriors practice facility to meet the players and staff of the two-time defending NBA champions.

During his visit, Khan posed for photos and gifted signed gloves for DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and head coach Steve Kerr.

Immediately following the Warriors practice, Khan returned to the gym as he prepares to challenge Crawford for his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at Madison Square Garden.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions, tickets for this world championship event 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.

Photos/Top Rank/Mikey Williams:

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Crawford on fight with Spence: ‘I believe it would be the biggest fight in the welterweight division’

On March 16, IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. sent a message to everybody at 147 that he might be the best fighter in the division when he dominated Mikey Garcia over 12 rounds. Now, it’s WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s turn to send a message.

Crawford will have that opportunity on April 20 when he battles Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden.

If Crawford beats Khan, the fight many would love to see is Spence-Crawford, but the business of boxing may get in the way. Spence is with PBC, which means his bouts will be on Showtime or FOX, while Crawford is with Top Rank, and fights on ESPN, so a fight with Spence would be difficult to make, but according to Crawford, it can happen.

“Of course, it is makeable. I believe it would be the biggest fight in the welterweight division,” Crawford said on a conference call on Tuesday. “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.”

I agree with Crawford; I think the fight can be made. However, it won’t happen in 2019. The business of boxing probably won’t let it happen this year, but if both guys continue to win, and both guys popularity continues to grow, it will eventually happen. But, at this point, I think boxing fans are going to have to be patient, for now.