Spence on top fighters at 147: ‘Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer’

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. is considered, by some, to be one of the best welterweights in boxing, but to be considered the best, he is going to have to beat some of the top guys in the division.

Some of those top guys include WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter, and WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman. While those guys are belt-holders at 147, there a few other names out there that are tops in the division, including Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia.

According to Spence(24-0, 21 KOs), who will battle four-division world champion Mikey Garcia(39-0, 30 KOs) on March 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the best at 147 need to fight each other.

“The welterweight division has always been one of the strongest divisions in the sport, and it is like that now,” Spence said on Saturday at a press conference to promote his fight with Garcia.  “We just need to fight each other. I’m ready to fight any of them. Whoever ends up on top from this group, will end being a Hall of Famer. That’s how you become an all-time great.”

Credit should go to Mikey Garcia for his willingness to fight Spence; credit should also go to Amir Khan who is stepping up to fight Crawford in April.

Sadly, the politics of boxing might prevent Top Rank’s Crawford from fighting PBC’s Thurman, Spence, and others. However, not many PBC fighters have been willing to step up and face Spence, which is why what Garcia is about to do should be applauded.

Ultimately, the top guys at 147 do need to fight each other. It’s good for the sport, and it according to Spence, it could mean a spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Photo: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions

 

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Crawford: ‘The Garden is the perfect venue for a fight of this magnitude’

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 atwww.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.”

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.
Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Winky Wright on Keith Thurman: ‘He’s a complete fighter'(VIDEO)

WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman returned to the ring after almost two years away from the sport and defeated Josesito Lopez by majority decision back in January, and while some were unimpressed by Thurman’s performance, Hall of Fame Winky Wright was impressed, and he thinks Thurman showed a lot of good things against Lopez.

“Listen, he fought a tough fighter as you can see,” Wright recently told goforitradio.com. “He fought a game fighter; he fought a guy that didn’t come to lay down. He came to win, and Keith showed what a lot of fighters don’t show. Keith showed yall how to move, Keith showed yall he can punch, Keith showed yall that he can take a punch… He’s a completer fighter…

“Keith is a well-rounded fighter. He can box, he can punch, he can go to the body, so I can’t wait to see him fight all these other fighters. I like Terence Crawford; I like Errol Spence, Pacquiao; I like all them fights, so that’s what the game needs, that’s what the sport needs for them fighters to fight each other.”

Wright does believe that Thurman can hold his own against some of the top names at 147, including Spence, Crawford, and Pacquiao.

“He stacks up well against anybody,” Wright said. “He can box, he can jab, he can do whatever they do. That’s one thing that he can do, and that’s punch with both hands. So, no matter what you say. You might do this or do that, but if he catches you with either one of those hands, one-time, lights are out.”

It should be interesting to see where Thurman goes after the Lopez fight. You could see the rust against Lopez, but that is expected after almost two years out of the ring.

Listen below as Wright talks Keith Thurman:

Photo: Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions

Khan on Crawford: ‘I’ll be able to take his punching power’

Former world champion Amir Khan has a lot of skills, which includes blazing hand speed, but the one thing that has troubled Khan over the years is his chin. Three out of Khan’s four losses have come by stoppage, including getting knocked cold by unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez back in 2016. In his last fight, Khan was dropped by Samuel Vargas, but he would get back up and win by unanimous decision.

Now, Khan, who is on a two-fight win streak, will battle WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on April 20, live on Top Rank on ESPN pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

This is another opportunity for Khan to become champion again, and another chance to prove the doubters wrong, which Khan is hoping to do.

“This is a fight that can redeem my whole career. Against Canelo, maybe I was biting off more than I could chew,” Khan said on Thursday. “I took that fight because it was a massive opportunity for me, and I believe in myself as a fighter. This fight, I see that it’s more fair. We’re similar weights. We’ve had similar experience. In my opinion, I’ll be able to take his punching power. He’s also a quick and a skillful fighter, so there’s a lot of advantages for me in this fight. In other fights, I’ve fought guys who are a lot stronger, a lot bigger in weight. That plays a big part. In this fight, I really think I have the style and everything it takes to win.”

If Khan can take Crawford’s power, he has a legitimate shot in this fight. Khan can box and has shown the ability to steal rounds against some very good fighters, but it all goes back to his chin.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

 

Crawford: ‘I look at Amir Khan as one of the top fighters in my division’

ESPN and Top Rank today announced their first pay-per-view event under the Top Rank on ESPN banner. Two kings are set for the year’s most anticipated welterweight showdown when pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford puts his WBO welterweight world title on the line against former unified 140-pound champion and the pride of Bolton, England, Amir “King” Khan, on Saturday, April 20, live on pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. 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, ticket and venue information will be revealed shortly. Details on the undercard will be announced soon.

“The Crawford-Khan showdown is a very interesting matchup of two elite fighters,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Khan, when fighting at welterweight, is as good as there is, but he is fighting the division’s best fighter and a pound-for-pound great. It will be an entertaining and competitive fight. We are also excited to join forces with ESPN on our first pay-per-view venture under the Top Rank on ESPN agreement.”

“It’s always been my goal to fight the best fighters out there, and I look at Amir Khan as one of the top fighters in my division,” Crawford said. “I know some people are writing him off, but I am by no means overlooking him. He’s a former unified world champion, and come April 20, I’ll be looking to go out there to seek and destroy. I’m excited about this fight because I believe it can push my career to another level.”

“Showcasing Crawford-Khan as the first pay-per-view event under the Top Rank on ESPN banner is truly a cause for celebration. Crawford is a world champion, a global phenomenon and perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and Khan is a fighter that everyone wants to see every time he steps in the ring. This is what boxing needs, more big-name showdowns, and this fight is a perfect example of the vision that we had when we teamed up with Top Rank,” added ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling, Burke Magnus.

Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), from Omaha, Neb., is ranked by many experts as the world’s best fighter, a switch-hitting dynamo who has reigned supreme in three weight classes. He won the WBO lightweight world title on March 1, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, dethroning hometown hero Ricky Burns via unanimous decision. Crawford proved his lightweight supremacy that year with a thrilling ninth-round TKO win over then-undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa and a near-shutout decision victory over Ray Beltran.

Crawford made history when he unified all four 140-pound titles, punctuating his dominance over the division with a third-round knockout against Julius Indongo on Aug. 19, 2017. With nothing left to prove at 140 pounds, Crawford moved up to welterweight. In his first bout at the weight, he knocked out Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn in the ninth round to win the WBO crown. For his first welterweight title defense, Crawford returned home to the CHI Health Center Omaha and knocked out bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. in the 12th round in front of 13,323 passionate fans.

Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) burst into the public consciousness at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when, at 17 years of age, he captured a silver medal for Great Britain. He won the WBA super lightweight world title on July 18, 2009, outclassing Andreas Kotelnik to win a unanimous decision. He made five successful title defenses at 140 pounds and became unified champion when he knocked out IBF ruler Zab Judah in five rounds in 2011.

Khan has won seven of eight bouts since December 2012, the lone blemish coming when he moved up in weight to fight middleweight world champion Canelo Álvarez. After boxing well in the early rounds, Khan was knocked out with an overhand right in the sixth round. Following the Álvarez defeat, Khan took a nearly two-year sabbatical from the ring, returning in 2018 with a vengeance. In April, he blasted out Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds, and in September, he notched a wide 12-round points victory over perennial contender Samuel Vargas. More than 13 years since turning professional, Khan will take on the pound-for-pound king in a legacy-defining super-fight.

Photos: Crawfords stops Benavidez in 12

 The crowd roared in anticipation and the native son, Terence “Bud” Crawford, delivered. Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), following a contentious pre-fight buildup, defeated Jose Benavidez Jr. by 12th-round TKO to defend his WBO welterweight world title in front of 13,323 fans at the CHI Health Center Omaha.

Crawford improved to 12-0 in world title fights with one of his most emphatic knockouts. An uppercut knocked Benavidez down and a vicious follow-up combination ended things for good.

“We knew that he wanted to get in my head and make it a firefight,” Crawford said. “I saw him in his corner taking deep breaths and knew he was done.”

Said Crawford’s trainer/manager Brian McIntyre: “I told Benavidez he was going to get his ass kicked. And that’s what Bud did.”

The opening rounds were closely contested, but as the fight entered the second half, Crawford’s combination punching told the story. Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs) gave Crawford one of the toughest tests of his career, but it was not enough to unseat the pound-for-pound king.

“I gave a hell of a fight to the best fighter in the world,” Benavidez said. “This is boxing. It happens. He is a great fighter, but I’m a great fighter, too. We gave the fans a great show.”

Crawford, meanwhile, improved to 5-0 as a pro in Omaha. And once again, he sent the hometown faithful home happy.

Photos/Top Rank/Mikey Williams:

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Terence Crawford throws punch at Benavidez during weigh-in(Video)

Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. do not like each other, and based on what we have seen in the past few days, their fight on Saturday night in Omaha could be exciting.

Today, during the weigh-in, Benavidez pushed Crawford, and the WBO welterweight champion responded by throwing a punch. Fortunately for everybody, the punch missed.

By the way, both fighters made weight.  Crawford came in at 145.4 pounds, while Benavidez weighed in at 145 pounds even.

Watch the weigh-in below:

Crawford-Benavidez and Stevenson-Simion will air live and exclusively Saturday 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.

Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Benavidez: ‘I don’t see nothing special in Crawford'(VIDEO)

Following Wednesday’s media day tensions, Terence “Bud” Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr. were a bit more civil at Thursday’s press conference. The trash talk led to an extended face-off, as pound-for-pound king Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) readies to defend his WBO welterweight world title against Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs) Saturday at the CHI Health Center Omaha (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10:30 p.m. ET).

Terence Crawford

“This is my fourth time fighting in Omaha, and I’m happy to be back. Like I said, there’s no place like home.”

“He said we’re all bark but no bite. Come Saturday, he’s gonna find out how hard I bite. I ain’t even gotta do too much talking because I know what’s gonna happen come Saturday.”

Jose Benavidez Jr.

“It’s been a great camp. We’ve been {in Omaha} for three weeks. We’re training hard. You’re going to see a new champion Saturday night. I don’t see nothing special in Crawford. I don’t know why everyone is scared of him. Everyone is sleeping and soon they’re going to wake up and I’m going to beat his ass Saturday evening.”

“You guys ain’t scaring nobody. You best bring your A-game on Saturday because you’re going to get your ass beat. Guaranteed.”

“You better enjoy that belt because Saturday, that belt is going to be mine.”

 

Watch below:

Video courtesy: Top Rank Boxing

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Keith Thurman on Terence Crawford: ‘He’s barely a champion'(VIDEO)

WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford is considered by some as one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport of boxing. Crawford, who beat Jeff Horn this summer to capture his first belt at 147, is scheduled to defend his title against Jose Benavidez Jr. on October 13 in Omaha.

However, according to WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman, Crawford is not a legitimate champion at 147.

“I’m sorry to say it; to me, he’s barely a champion,” Thurman said about Crawford on Saturday night.

While Jeff Horn may not have been a legitimate champion, it does not take away from the talent of Crawford. We will continue to learn more about Crawford as continues to battle some of the top guys at 147, which could be difficult because most of the top guys at 147 are with PBC, and Crawford is with Top Rank. Therefore, it may take some time for Crawford to battle the best in the welterweight division.

Listen below as Thurman talks Crawford:

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Crawford on Benavidez: ‘I’ll happily give him his first L’

Terence “Bud” Crawford will return to the scene of many of his greatest professional triumphs intent on stopping a man who has repeatedly lobbied for a fight. Crawford will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight world title against Jose Benavidez Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the CHI Health Center Omaha (formerly the CenturyLink Center). Crawford-Benavidez 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+.

It was Benavidez who challenged Crawford in Corpus Christi, Texas, this past February, accusing him of ducking a potential showdown. Crawford invited Benavidez to “step outside” before cooler heads prevailed. They will settle the score in front of a raucous crowd who will be cheering on their hometown hero.

ESPN’s coverage of the event starts Friday, Oct. 12 with the live Top Rank on ESPN Crawford vs. Benavidez Jr. Weigh-In show. Lineup (ET):

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to this world championship event go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. CSTPriced at $178, $103, $63, and $38, not including applicable fees, tickets 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.

“The Crawford-Benavidez fight is an old-time grudge match. These are two elite fighters who don’t care for each other, to put it mildly,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “They will battle each other at a fever pitch. I can’t wait to watch the action.”

“This fight is the fight he has been calling for, and now he will get the chance to see what it’s like to be in the ring with a real champion,” Crawford said. I’ll happily give him his first L.”

“I’ve been wanting this fight for three years. I know I have what it takes to beat him, and I am going to beat him,” Benavidez said. “Crawford has been running his mouth and saying I’m a nobody. I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is a three-division world champion, a pound-for-pound elite who was recently named “Fighter of the Year” at the 2018 ESPY Awards. In his first bout of 2018, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he defeated defending WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn via ninth-round TKO. Crawford did not miss a beat against Horn despite a nearly 10-month layoff due to a hand injury. Prior to dominating Horn, Crawford became only the third fighter of the four-belt era to unify all the belts when he knocked out fellow unified 140-pound champion Julius Indongo in the third round. Crawford has drawn a total of 44,360 fans in four bouts at the CHI Health Center Omaha, including nearly 11,000 when he knocked down Yuriorkis Gamboa four times en route to a ninth-round TKO to retain the WBO lightweight title in one of the best fights of 2014. Five months after the Gamboa win, Crawford cruised to a wide unanimous decision against Ray Beltran, who went on to win that title more than three years later. In his most recent CHI Health Center Omaha appearance, Dec. 10, 2016 against John Molina Jr., 11,270 fans packed the building as Crawford battered Molina before stopping him in the eighth round. Crawford is 11-0 with eight knockouts in world title bouts and is ranked by many boxing experts as the world’s best fighter.

Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA interim super lightweight champion, turned pro in 2010 following a standout amateur career that included a 2009 National Golden Gloves gold medal at 141 pounds. His road to this career-defining fight has been anything but smooth, as he was shot multiple times in an August 2016 incident in his hometown of Phoenix. After a nearly 18-month layoff, Benavidez returned on Feb. 3, 2018 in Corpus Christi with an eighth-round TKO against Matthew Strode. It was before the weigh-in for the Strode bout that Benavidez confronted Crawford. Benavidez last fought on the Crawford vs. Horn undercard, knocking out the previously undefeated Frank Rojas at 1:23of the opening round.