Ward previews Crawford vs. Khan

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By Dan Ambrose: Andre Ward says WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) has a ton of pressure on him this Saturday with him fighting former two-time light welterweight champion Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) on ESPN PPV at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Although Crawford, 31, is the favorite to win the fight, if he looks bad in winning or in losing the fight, then all the critics will come out in force to rip him apart, according to former two division world champion Ward. 

The Top Rank promoted Crawford is in a no-win situation in taking on Khan, because the British fighter has been beaten four times in the past, and suffered bad knockout losses to Danny Garcia, Breidis Prescott and Saul Canelo Alvarez. There’s no upside in Crawford fighting a guy with a lot of KO losses like the ones that Khan has suffered. The only thing Crawford can try and accomplish in fighting a fighter like Khan is to impress casual boxing fans, who might not be aware of Khan’s past knockout defeats.

Crawford can impress those types of fans, and he might be able to wow the hardcore fans if he knockouts out Khan faster than Garcia and Canelo Alvarez did. Crawford can’t top what Prescott did in 2008 in stopping a prime Khan in the first round. There’s no way of Crawford doing better than that at this point in Khan’s career. Even if Crawford were to KO Khan with the first punch of the fight, the fans would just say that he beat an older fighter, who was over-the-hill, and no longer in the prime of his career. Despite the fact that Khan, 32, and the 31-year-old Crawford are essentially the same age, they’re far apart in terms of where they’re at with their respective careers. Khan has been fighting part time off and on since 2013, and he’s suffered some bad knockout losses during his career in fighting punchers. Top Rank has been careful with the way they’ve matched Crawford by choosing not to put him in with sluggers other than Breidis Prescott and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Crawford staggered by Gamboa in 2014, but that was the last time Top Rank matched him against a puncher.

“Amir Khan has always been known as a great boxer offensively,” Andre Ward said to Fighthype in discussing Khan’s fight against Terence Crawford this Saturday night on April 20 on ESPN pay-per-view. “His weakness is defensively and having mental lapses, and getting caught with certain types of punches; not just punches, because we all get hit, but certain types of punches that knock you out. Give up a shot here and there, but let it be a grazing shot, nothing flush. That’s going to be his biggest thing, staying focused for the 12 rounds, and executing the game plan,”Ward said. 

Despite Khan’s history of being knocked out, his fights are arguably more entertaining to watch than Crawford’s. With Khan, he makes it exciting the entire time with his blazing fast hands, and tendency to throw a lot of speedy combinations. Khan’s occasional chin problems keeps his boxing fans on the edge of their seats in his fights, because they’re never quite certain whether he’s going to get knocked out or his opponents. In contrast, Crawford’s fights are often dull affairs with him fighting on the outside, switching stances needlessly, moving around, taunting his opponents by sticking his tongue out at them, and generally playing it safe.

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