Khan: ‘Crawford making mistake talking Spence fight’
By Trevor McIntyre: Amir Khan sees Terence Crawford as making a huge mistake of thinking of making a fight against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. next instead of focusing on their April 20 fight. Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) says he’s not just another one of Crawford’s typical opponents that he faces. He’s coming to win next month and take his WBO welterweight title from him.
Khan has a real chance of winning this fight, because Crawford hasn’t been put in with fighters that had anywhere close to the same talent or pedigree as him. If you wipe away the soft opposition from Crawford’s resume, you’re left with just Viktor Postol as the only somewhat talented fighter that he’s faced. However, Postol isn’t a major player at 140. He’s just another one of the contenders.
The 31-year-old Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) will be defending his WBO 147 lb title in the biggest fight of his career against former IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Khan, 32, on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York. Compared to some of the fighters that Crawford has been facing in the last five years, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Khan stands head and shoulders above them. Crawford has cruised through the first 34 opponents he’s faced since turning pro in 2008, but the perception by the boxing public is that he’s been spoon-fed beatable opposition by his promoters at Top Rank for those 11 years.
In looking at Crawford’s resume, there’s no one that stands out among that them that you could call the best or even close to the best in any of the weight classes he’s fought in. Khan is another example of Crawford facing less than the best, but he’s still considered better than the fighters that the Nebraska native has been padding his record against since 2008. Crawford could be another Mikey Garcia, a fighter with a lot of wins over weak opposition, who was exposed when he finally fought a good opponent in Errol Spence.
“I’m not just a number, when I turn it on I turn it on,” Khan said to the mirror.co.uk. “I know I haven’t looked my best in my previous fights but that’s because I belong at the level above. If Crawford is talking about the Spence fight and he’s overlooking me then he’s in for a big shock,”Khan said.
It’s in Crawford’s best interest to try and make the fight with Spence, 29, as soon as possible before he gets much older. Unlike Spence, Crawford’s game is based on his hand and foot speed, as well as his reflexes to counter his opponents. Once Crawford starts losing speed, he’s going to be vulnerable against all the top welterweights in the division, not just against Spence. But if Top Rank is going to continue to match Crawford carefully by putting him against selective opposition that has been well vetted as deemed as beatable by him, then he might be able to take his unbeaten streak a lot longer. Ideally, to take advantage of what’s left of Crawford’s youth, Top Rank needs to make the fight with Spence now rather than later. Even if Crawford loses the fight, he might perform well enough to gain some fans that never heard of him and/or paid much attention to his fights due to the less than impressive opposition that Top Rank has been feeding him all these years.
Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing says he’s interested in putting together a unification fight between Terence and Spence in his next fight after he deals with Khan. Arum thinks it’ll be an easy task of putting that fight together once he sits down with Spence’s adviser Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions. Whether Arum is just talking to get attention from the fans on the Crawford vs. Khan fight on April 20 is unknown. That would be a smart tactic from the American promoter Arum to talk up a potential fight between Crawford and Spence right now in order to drive up the interest in the Crawford-Khan fight on ESPN PPV, which needs as much attention as possible right now.
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