Amir Khan to face Terence Crawford on April 20 at MSG


By Mike Smith: In huge news that is still developing, Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will be challenging WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) for his title on April 20 at Madison Square Garden, in New York, according to Boxingego. It’s still not official that Crawford will be defending against Khan. Until Top Rank makes the announcement for the fight, boxing fans still need to take this as just a rumor.

This is an interesting fight. Since Crawford is the champion, and his management at Top Rank are the ones with the money offer for Khan, it means this fight is going to be on ESPN PPV, and not on SHOWTIME or FOX. 

Crawford defending against Khan is a huge, huge fight for the boxing public, even though it’s not necessarily the best fighting the best at 147. Errol Spence Jr. is considered to be the top guy at 147 right now. Crawford is a newcomer at welterweight, and he’s got a lot to prove still.

Earlier on Friday, ESPN reported that Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank revealed that he’ll be fighting on April 20 in a “very interesting” fight. Arum says the negotiations are close to being finalized. However, he didn’t want to reveal the name of the opponent, but Khan’s name was mentioned by ESPN as the guy that Crawford will likely be facing next if the negotiations are finalized. 

Khan hasn’t done anything to earn a title shot against WBO champion Crawford. Khan struggled in his last fight against Samuel Vargas, and before that he beat a journeyman in Phil Lo Greco. Khan hasn’t beaten anyone talented enough for you to say that he deserves a title shot right now. Khan is ranked #4 WBO, #5 WBA and #8 WBC. This will be a voluntary defense for Crawford. It would have been nice to see Khan beat a good contender or two at 147 to earn a title shot against Crawford, but that’s not happening. There would be too much risk involved right now if Khan were to face a good quality contender at welterweight like Josh Kelly, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Kerman Lejarraga or Kudratillo Abdukakhorov. That’s not say that Khan couldn’t beat those guys, but it wouldn’t be easy. He could lose to one or even all of those fighters. That goes back to the belief that Khan doesn’t deserve the title shot, given that his two wins over Lo Greco and Vargas were against lesser opposition in what were supposed to be showcase fights. 

If the Crawford-Khan fight takes place on April 20, it won’t be a good deal for Khan’s Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who had been hoping that Amir would face Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) next in a large stadium fight in March or April in the UK. Hearn says there’s more money for Khan to make fighting Brook, 32, than there is for him to fight Crawford. Khan is rumored to be getting $3 million for the Crawford fight. This is on top of what could be $10 million to fight Brook. If Khan just takes the Brook fight, he would get the $10 million, but he wouldn’t make the extra cash from fighting Crawford. A loss for Khan against Brook would make it pretty much impossible for him to face Crawford, as Top Rank would likely be interested in giving him big money with him coming off of a loss. If it was a sure thing that Khan could beat Brook, then it would be no big deal for him to fight him first followed by Crawford, but appears Amir lacks the confidence to take that risky fight first. Eddie Hearn is going to be an unhappy camper once he hears from Khan that he plans on fighting Crawford next instead of Brook.

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