After a crazy post-weigh-in confrontation, Crawford KO’s Jose Benavidez, Jr. in spectacular fashion, drawing comparisons to the game changer.
Saturday night, Terence Crawford showed why he is currently the best boxer on the planet when he defeated Jose Benavidez, Jr. via TKO in the 12th round.
Crawford (24-0, 25 KOs) outclassed Benavidez, Jr. throughout the fight before scoring a beautiful left hook to right uppercut combination that made the brash Mexican hit the floor with an awkward lean reminiscent of a dope fiend.
Terence Crawford controlled José Benavidez the entire fight, landing a devastating knockdown in the 12th round, with Benavidez having no answer when he gets up, resulting in a TKO victory. Crawford retains the Welterweight world title.
The knockout was Crawford’s second as a welterweight and helped him retain his 147-pound title for the first time before a raucous crowd of 13,323 at the CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The crowd was the largest that Crawford has drawn to date and he gave the hometown fans a show to remember.
Crawford landed more punches than Benavidez (186 to 90) and essentially skipped over the jab to focus on power punches, which he landed with brutal effectiveness and efficiency (131 of 302 thrown, 43%).
To his credit, Benavidez fought through a knee injury suffered from a 2016 late night shooting where he was targeted while walking his dog and was able to counter well through the first six rounds. But Crawford’s agility, power, and footwork proved to be too much for the game Benavidez.
So what’s next for the rising welterweight star Terence Crawford? Boxing fans will recognize his skill, style, and talent, drawing comparisons for Crawford to “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather. I didn’t say “Money” Mayweather, because Crawford is only a world champion in three weight classes to Mayweather’s five and talks way less than the Flint, Michigan native to sell a fight. Crawford has held the WBO welterweight title since June 2018 and previously held the WBO, Ring magazine and lineal lightweight titles from 2014 to 2015. He also held the title belts as the unified WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, Ring and lineal light welterweight champion between 2015 and 2017.
Crawford now has 34 wins, and when Mayweather was at the same point in his career he became a three-division world champion with a corner stoppage over the legendary Arturo Gatti. It was Mayweather’s 21st stoppage; last night was Crawford’s 25th.
In the post-fight interview, Crawford said he wants all titleholders in the welterweight division and pointed to Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, charging him with creating the matches. Boxing politics aside, the division is stacked with everyone from Errol Spence and Keith Thurman to Shawn Porter and, potentially, Mikey Garcia. With Crawford dismantling yet another opponent last night, he has proven that he has what it takes to be a true champion both in the ring and in the all-important crowd draw factor, another strength of the mighty Mayweather.
As we all know, Mayweather went on to hold multiple world titles in five weight classes, and the lineal champion in four weight classes (twice at welterweight), retiring with an undefeated record of 50-0.
That took him twelve years after his victory over Gatti.
When you consider, at this point in their careers, Mayweather was three years younger than Crawford, went on to become a champion in two more weight classes and changed the entire game of boxing through his promotional and financial genius, the comparison might seem a little far-fetched.
But, looking at the fact that Crawford now draws a crowd regardless of the city or venue, and is learning how to create some excitement during the pre-fight lead up to his fights, the comparison becomes even stronger.