Pound-for-pound superstar Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KO’s) makes the first defence of his WBO World welterweight title against the similarly undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr (27-0, 18 KO’s) in his home state of Nebraska, this Saturday night.
In February, the two fighters became embroiled in a heated confrontation at a Top Rank weigh in, and have since cultivated something of a rivalry after exchanging taunts on social media.
This June at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, ‘Bud’ claimed the title on his welterweight in a dominant display, comfortably dismantling and stopping Australian champion debut Jeff Horn in nine rounds of thoroughly one-sided action to become a three-weight World champion.
Meanwhile, Benavidez – fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona – has the opportunity to fulfil his early promise and emulate younger brother David in becoming a World champion, after the latter won the vacant WBC super middleweight title last year with a split-decision victory over Ronald Gavril, before defending it more convincingly in a rematch.
Benavidez has most recently come off a destructive first-round stoppage victory over undefeated Frank Rojas, on the Crawford-Horn undercard. However, his most prominent scalp to date is Mauricio Herrera – someone who he controversially outpointed in 2014 – and his fight against Crawford is generally seen as a significant step-up in quality.
Indeed, Benavidez will have to produce something special in order to inflict Crawford with his first career defeat, who last time out treated fans to a masterclass in dethroning Jeff Horn; showcasing punching power, in addition to a physical strength that belied his wiry, lean frame and seemingly surprised Horn on the night.
As the saying goes, “someone’s 0 has got to go” – and as talented a fighter as he may be, it is exceedingly likely to be the challenger’s, who simply will not be able to cope with the razor sharp hand speed and surgical counter punching dished out from a spiteful champion.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________