Terence Crawford says title unification bouts can happen if other beltholders man up

Anthony Cocks

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WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 35-0 (26) has hit back at claims he will never fight a unification bout due to his promotional alignment.

The undefeated 32-year-old American is promoted by Top Rank, while WBA champion Manny Pacquiao 62-7-2 (39) and WBC and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr 26-0 (21) are both promoted by PBC. All three beltholders are southpaw.

Fights between boxers from the rival organisations do happen, but they are a rarity.

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“Deontay Wilder is about to fight Tyson Fury and you never hear about any ‘sides of the street’,” Crawford said ahead of his third 14-pound title defence against mandatory contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas 21-0-1 (17) at New York’s Madison Square Garden this Saturday night.

“It’s just something people say when it comes to Terence Crawford.

“You don’t hear ‘wrong side of the street’ with any other fighter but Terence Crawford. Why do all these other fights get made, but when it’s Terence Crawford, it’s about the ‘wrong side of the street’?”

The Omaha, Nebraska native says he enjoys the notoriety that comes with being recognised as one of the best boxers pound-for-pound in the world and insists it’s a position he wants to maintain.

“It’s a blessing because it motivates me and adds fuel to the fire. I like proving people wrong. That’s more joy for me,” he said.

“[New York] is one of the big stages. Vegas is a big stage. I do my thing in the ring, and every time I fight, I send a message to all the welterweights out there.

“Everyone poses a threat. [Kavaliauskas] is a good fighter. He is a two-time Olympian for a reason. He’s undefeated, strong and hungry.”

Kavaliauskas, 31, is aiming to become the first world champion from Lithuania.

“This is a great opportunity for me against the world’s best fighter. When I win, I will be considered one of the world’s best fighters,” Kavaliauskas said.

“Terence Crawford is a great fighter, which is why I wanted this fight. I am ranked number one for a reason. I am here for a reason, and I can’t wait for Saturday night.

“The way to win a title is to fight the best, and Terence is the best welterweight in the world. I want that title, and I will be the first Lithuanian-born boxer ever to win a world title.”


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