Saturday night, boxing heads to PPV when Terence Crawford (34-0; 25 KOs) defends his WBO Welterweight (147 lbs.) title against Amir Khan (33-4; 20 KOs) in the first Top Rank on ESPN PPV. Crawford vs. Khan takes place this Saturday, April 20 and airs live with a fight time of 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.
- Pound for pound greatness – Ring Magazine has him at #2 on their pound for pound list, and you’re likely to find some that call him #1 (not me, though – Lomachenko keeps that spot on my card). He’s been rising up those ranks for the past few years, and should Loma fall, he’ll be a lock for #1.
- Dominating multiple divisions – Right now, Crawford is a world champion at Welterweight, and ranked #2 in the division behind Errol Spence. Prior to that, he was the undisputed king at 140 lbs., unifying all the titles there before leaving the division. Prior to THAT, he became the undisputed king at Lightweight. Every division he has been to, he’s become the king. Except one.
- Where are the Welterweights? – Welterweight is a seriously stacked division, with Spence, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao, and Danny Garcia joining Crawford. This is just Bud’s third fight in the division, and that lack of longevity as a Welterweight is why he’s ranked #2. He’s fought Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez, and now Khan. None of those are bad fights. But none are great either, and certainly not the fights people wanted when they envisioned Crawford coming to Welterweight. If he’s truly the world’s #2, he needs to get in there with the best.
- Beating opponents up – There’s a certain pattern that has emerged to Crawford fights. He often starts a little slow in the opening couple rounds, then starts getting more loose, starts switching stances, and slowly turns up the pressure. As the fight goes on, he becomes more aggressive, more vicious, typically putting opponents away in the middle to late rounds. It’s been a brutally effective strategy so far.
- 55,000 – That’s how many buys Crawford did the last (and only) time he was on PPV when he faced Viktor Postol. That’s truly dreadful. But both Fury vs. Wilder and Spence vs. Garcia performed well, each topping 300,000. We’ll see if Crawford’s 2nd shot gets him in their company.
- Potential – That’s the word that has defined Khan for his entire career. Potential. He came to the sport as a Silver medalist Olympian, and was much hyped as the future of British boxing. But in his 14 year career, he’s never quite seemed to reach that full potential, always just falling short of greatness. And at this point, is that likely to change? A win here certainly would flip his story considerably.
- Speed and skill – Khan is a very skilled technical boxer, with nice hand speed. He’s been able to use that to outwork opponents throughout his career, even without big power punching capability.
- The chin – The biggest knock on Khan is, and always has been, his chin. Of his 4 career losses, 3 are by knockout, and typically pretty violent knockout. Witness his nasty fall at the hands of Canelo in 2016. When Khan gets hit clean he goes down hard, and he generally has lacked the needed element to get back up.
- Waiting for the big one – So much of Khan’s past few years has been defined by waiting. He saw himself as the right opponent for Pacquiao or Mayweather at their heights, and was sure a huge PPV showdown with one was coming. It never did. So he moved up to fight Canelo, and, hey, credit to him for taking the shot. But after that, he sat out two years, again, waiting for what he thought was the right money fight that he so deserved. And, lo and behold, he managed to get himself back on PPV. It may not be Mayweather/Pacquiao, but he’s here against one of the world’s best, live on PPV, again.
What else is on the card?
- A pretty good set of fights actually, including the latest from must-watch prospect Teofimo Lopez. See my full prelim card preview here.
This feels an awful lot like a rerun of Canelo vs. Khan. Crawford’s pace in the early rounds will allow Khan to have some early success. Not enough to hurt Crawford, but maybe enough to win some rounds. But by, oh, the third round, Crawford will be heating up, he’ll be landing more, he’ll start hurting Khan, and he’ll eventually find the combo that puts him away.
Prediction: Terence Crawford, KO, R5
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