Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Garden big room for Crawford-Diaz will be scaled under 10,000

Photo by: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Terence Crawford’s first foray into the big room at Madison Square Garden on May 20 against Felix Diaz won’t be as daunting as it first appeared.

The venue will be scaled down from a roughly 20,000-seat capacity to between 9,000 and 10,000 for May 20, Top Rank President Todd duBoef told on Tuesday. And lightweight contender Felix Verdejo could be in play for a slot on the undercard. However, that won’t be worked out until Verdejo meets with Top Rank brass in the coming days to discuss his upcoming plans, which could also include an appearance at the Garden on June 10, duBoef said.

“I don’t know if he’s going to come on the show (May 20),” duBoef said. “We also have a show on hold on June 10. So, we’re going to figure all that out.” What is certain is that Crawford, the Ring/WBC/WBO 140-pound champion will be headlining the big room at MSG for the first time after he was initially slated to appear at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

“We’re cutting down the big arena, I think it will be like, 9,000, just under 10,000, something like that, which we’ve done before,” duBoef told RING. “I did it with (Miguel) Cotto and (Gennady) Golovkin did that. It’s the type of building (Crawford) plays at. It’s the type of event I want associated with him and I think it works great for the overall picture and the overall marketability for Terence.”

Shakur Stevenson, the 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, who is from Newark, New Jersey, is expected to appear on the May 20 card after he makes his pro debut on April 22 in Carson, California. “There’s a natural fan base for him out of that area,” duBoef said of Stevenson. The move from the Prudential Center to the Garden happened quickly.

The Garden had various holds and commitments in the large room for its franchises but was able to clear the date after talks kicked off at Michael Conlan’s pro debut on March 17. Garden officials approached Top Rank to see if there was interest in moving Crawford. “Would you be open to figuring out something if we can get that date available?” duBoef said he was asked by Garden officials. “We’re like sure. Obviously, we’d love to.”

duBoef described the relationship with the Prudential Center in Newark for May 20 as a “hold” with nothing formal tethering the venue to Top Rank. “I think we were just in a hold the date (mode),” duBoef said. “And they kind of just told us, ‘Hey, here’s the date. We have it available; here’s the deal structure and let us know if you want it.’ The synergies between Newark and Crawford were not as synergistic as Crawford and New York, obviously.”