On October 13th, this Saturday night, the return of WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford will take place, as he steps back into the ring in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to face off with former champion Jose Benavidez Jr.
Crawford (33-0, 24 KO’s) is without a doubt one of the top fighters in the sport and fans are dying to see him against the best of the welterweight division. Benavidez (27-0, 18 KO’s) may not be as big of a name, but it’s a fight that Crawford thinks makes sense.
“Oh, why not? Why not?” Crawford stated during a recent conference call. “You know, talk is cheap. We’re in the same division, same promoter. It’s an interesting fight. He’s always saying that I’m fighting smaller guys, so this is a chance to see what you are made of.”
Benavidez was once a highly-touted prospect, yet his career hasn’t gone the way many expected in recent years. There has even been talk about Crawford possibly facing off with former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao in the future.
Pacquiao stopped Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in viscous fashion in July, scoring a seventh round knockout to capture the WBA welterweight title. Still, it’s a belt that Crawford doesn’t recognize, as the “super” champion is still technicality Keith Thurman.
“He’s not a champion in my eyes,” Crawford said of Pacquiao. “He don’t have the super belt. That’s the champion in my eyes. I look at the number one champion in the division. I don’t look at the WBC Silver and the interim belts and all that. I look at the super and the actual champion of the division.”
Crawford is indeed near the top of the pound for pound rankings, as some debate him and WBA lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko for that honer. Either way, Crawford feels blessed to be in the conversation.
“Well, it depends on who you ask,” said Crawford. “Some people rate me number one, some people rate me two. I can’t complain. I’m in the top two and almost everybody is rating me, so I’m just blessed to be in the top two.”
The fight many in the sport want to see is Crawford vs. IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Spence’s name is hot, and Crawford’s trainer Brian McIntyre recognizes the kind of challenge it is.
“Right now, the biggest name in the welterweight division is Errol Spence,” he said. “So, what we would do is, and I’m glad Todd on this call, they just put the pressure on ESPN as a leader in sports. They want to be the leader in boxing. If they want to be a leader in boxing, they’re going to go out and make those fights happen. And so that’s what Terence wants. They want Terence to be the number one fighter in the world.”
Whether it’s Benavidez, Pacquiao, Spence, or anyone else, expect Crawford to be ready. Tune in to ESPN this weekend to check out the action.