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Terence Crawford quietly continues building his legacy

Photo / Mikey Williams-TOP RANK
17
May

Terence Crawford is among the very best in the business of throwing hands, maybe the best. Some think so, though I think more might if he were a self promoter in the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vein. Or, not even in the Mayweather vein, but if he were a bit less the Nebraskan and a bit more the typical New Yorker, say.

Crawford is not about bluster, not about s__t talking. He’s not that much about talking, really, as you can hear on this Everlast podcast, or you know if you were in the room on Tuesday at Modell’s in Times Square, when we did a live taping and glove giveaway and Q&A.

Oh, Crawford has a personality, it’s just more so that he is comfortable enough and inclined to show it with his crew. Media, not as much. This age of coverage, the style of coverage, it isn’t to his liking. He’s been bitten a few times and is thus shy with some media who he thinks take a decidedly negative slant when a “juicy” story pops up. They will print the allegations but won’t go out of their way to pursue the other side of the story, his side.

It happens—a celeb gets in a kerfuffle and, of course, it gets blown out of proportion, to match the size of their public profile. For a guy from Nebraska with a tendency to insularity, to keeping it tight with a trusted crew, it is off putting.

But…

All this is somewhat immaterial if we shift our gaze toward the ring. Toward what Crawford does inside the squared circle. There, there is less conflict, the goal is clear, the motivations of the principals are clear. There is no surprise gotcha element, or the likelihood that a hit job will come out of nowhere. It is Bud in there with a guy who wants to knock his head off, and he wants to knock that guys’ head off, and it doesn’t get much clearer than that.

On Saturday, once-beaten welterweight fringe contender Felix Diaz will be the one trying to knock Crawford’s head off and earn THE RING, WBC and WBO 140-pound titles in an HBO-televised main event from Madison Square Garden.

On Tuesday, Crawford and me were on a beautiful stage setup, and he gave away signed gloves and then we chatted some, before the 30-0 (21 KOs) junior welterweight ace did some selfies with adoring fans and took fan questions.

The 29-year-old champ gave us a scouting report on Diaz, a 33-year-old Dominican who won gold at the 2008 Olympics, and is 19-1, though he might have won that “L” fight.

“He’s a southpaw, short, pretty fast, tough, Olympic gold medalist,” he told us, in a quiet, soft-spoken style. (Crawford really lit up and shared copiously when he introduced all the members of his camp crew.) “He may or may not be the best guy you’ve fought,” I told him, but noted that Diaz does good work inside against guys who don’t move like Crawford does. Crawford does! He combines movement and getting angles and punch placement and the whole nine to the point that he is in the mix to maybe be the best pound for pound. We touched on that..

Are you the best in the biz? “Of course. Why would I think somebody else is better than me,” he asked rhetorically.

And is there a fight out there to prove to one and all that he is No. 1? “Anthony Joshua,” he cracked, making clear that there will always be doubters.

Everlast made a glorious banner which featured Crawford as “A Legend In the Making.” I asked about that. He said that every fighter really wants to leave that majestic legacy behind. Is he 50 percent there? 75 percent?

“I never look at it like that. I just continue to do my thing,” he said, refusing an opportunity to engage in some lobbying, and maybe peel off some of the doubters, who maybe lean Andre Ward or Vasyl Lomachenko or whoever as P4P No. 1.

I asked about the digital series “Camp Life” done by Top Rank, and he talked about his five kids. He says he likes having them around camp, because “my daughter comes first with anything and everything.”

I’m supposing Bud beats Diaz, what might be next?

“I’m not even speaking about (Manny) Pacquiao, if it happens it happens. I don’t feel I need Pacquiao to cement my legacy,” Crawford stated. And hey, what about Crawford v Lomachenko? Loma said after winning his most recent fight he wants Bud.

“Tell him to come up to 140,” Crawford said. “Then they gonna criticize me and say, ‘Hey, you beating up on little guys,’” Crawford pointed out. “People want you to fight Godzilla, and after you beat Godzilla, then fight King Kong,” I stated. “Fortunately, you are well compensated, so you can tell the people to shut up.”

What after this, someone asked. Julius Indongo holds the IBF 140-pound strap, so maybe him. “Mikey Garcia is at 135, but if he comes to 140, that’s a fight, too,” Crawford said. “That would be absolutely one of the most anticipated fights of the year,” I said. Would Garcia want that, though? I pointed out that Freddie Roach said Robert Garcia asked Roach if Manny would fight Mikey, Freddie said yes Manny would, so we shall see.

During the fan Q&A, someone asked if Crawford maybe would fight Canelo Alvarez, who is a middleweight. Crawford laughed. “It’s too far a gap, my friend,” I answered. “It’s alright, I beat him, and crush your heart,” the Nebraskan said while chuckling.

Danny Garcia? Want that? “Of course,” said Crawford. He’d take that next fight, he told us.

He finished allowing fans to come up and grab a selfie and then it was a wrap.

Focusing on the in ring deal, let’s touch on Diaz, and the scrap which screens on HBO.

In tight, he can work. Feet and hands, not as fast as Bud. Not as good at getting angles. Smart, composed, he has fun. Real good counter puncher. Peterson wouldn’t move and slide that much, Bud will. Diaz has looked good against less mobile guys, Saturday will, I think, be a rude wake up call for him. As Bernard Hopkins said on his “The Fight Game” segment… Crawford “hypnotizes” foes,  is “an elite talent at the height of his powers” and “no one is as cool under pressure.”

I concur. I expect Diaz to taste defeat via stoppage for the first time. Your thoughts, friends?

  • DRE

    I like Crawford a lot and clearly regard him as among the top 3-5 fighters. But he needs to step it up. We already know he so easily beats guys like John Molina and Felix Diaz. And we don’t expect him to fight King Kong and Godzilla back to back. Don’t expect him to fight Pacquiao either who obviously is not interested. But even if it’s not the Spence-Brook winner an outing with a top 5 guy in the 140-147 pound divisions would be good right now. Time to crank it up Bud.

    • maxx

      Felix Diaz can fight, he is an Olympic Gold medalist and I thought he clearly beat Lamont Peterson.Kudos

      • Mauro Hermida

        He lacks power though. That would make it interesting. I think a really hard shot could put Crawford on his bicycle, if he gets hurt, who knows. Diaz does not have that as part of his skill set. Still, I agree that his resume has been lacking.

        • maxx

          I think a real hard shot brings out the warrior in Crawford, remember when Gamboa tagged him, Crawford wanted to knock his head off his shoulders, the same thing in the Beltran fight, Beltran landed a cracking left hook which may well have dropped a lesser fighter yet Crawford went after him like a possessed man, that “I want the last word(punch)” attitude is what excites me about Crawford, the man is a killer.Kudos Mauro

        • Kevin Perry

          Diaz has good power, backed up and pretty much beat upp Sammy Vasquez. He doesn’t have one punch KO power, but he doesn’t need that versus crawford. You need pressure and volume, and has they style to make him uncomfortable, I might be wrong, but I think Diaz has a real good shot. Not sure if he;ll get the nod if it’s close, but I view him as a legit opponnent, Not a big name, but quality title defense.

  • Ruben Reyes

    Am I the only one that thinks that Crawford is being given too much credit for an abbreviated career? His two best wins are a lop sided snooze fest against Viktor Postol and an old blown up featherweight Gamboa (who managed to outbox and hurt Crawford at times), but yet he is being touted as P4P top ten. I know he passes the “eye test,” but I can think of at least 15 current fighters with better resumes

    • Fist_ti_cuffs

      You could make that same argument about almost every current fighter not named Pacquiao. Of course he’s a work in progress…….and we won’t really know how good he is until he starts fighting at 147, but rest assured he beats Mikey and Lomo soundly. Not so much with Thurman, Spence, Porter and PacMan, although I think he’d have a solid chance against anyone around his size.

      • Bob D

        I think he beats all but Spence at WW.

        • Fist_ti_cuffs

          Time will tell. They’re all around the same age…….so we should get some excellent WW fights over the next 5-7 years.

      • Ruben Reyes

        Yes, but not ever other fighter not named Pacquiao is NOT in the top 10…I’m saying that Crawford is in the top10 P4P because of his potential, not accomplishments…I, for one, was not impressed with the Gamboa win since the difference in size, age, and activity was tremendous, but HBO was talking him up like some sort of mini-Tyson. It feels like people are trying to FORCE me to like Crawford while he fights decent, not A level, opposition…I’m not a Canelo fan, but his wins over Lara, Cotto, Austin, Mosely, etc, are way better than anything Crawford has done

        • Fist_ti_cuffs

          I agree with his Canelo having a much better resume, but he’s also had many more fights in general and he’s GB’s #1 fighter……where as Bud is Currently 3rd or 4th in his stable. Bud will have a chance to really prove himself at 147. On a side note…….Canelo will really struggle with guys like Jacobs, Charlo, Andrade if he ever gives those guys the time of day which I’m sure won’t happen.

  • Abraham E. Hernández

    I don’t think he needs to fight indongo to prove he is elite talent. He is so tailor made for 147, and we all know how deep thay division is at the moment.

    • Rosalino Sanchez Felix

      WW is a deep division, with mostly haymon fighters, and arum doesn’t do business with him

  • Michael Woods

    Hey guys, I should have clarified…When I said the thing about Godzilla and King Kong, I should have made clear I was stating what I perceived his belief to be. Not mine. I think he needs that coin flip fight to take the next step to truer stardom. My bad.

  • Michael Woods

    And, I wasn’t as good as I coulda been in making my point about being well compensated while dealing with heckling. It would have been better for me to say that luckily, while he’s dealing with fans or haters who are impatient, he’s being well paid. And yeah, it’s a new age, and it comes with the territory.

  • Michael Woods

    Next time, better.

  • Charlie U.

    I just checked Ticketmaster this morning and good seats for this fight can be had for $35. Great seats $65. Crawford does not seem to be drawing well at the main MSG. Probably should have put him back in the theater.

    • Bob D

      You’re a dolt. lol

  • Michel Desgrottes

    Crawford is a unified champ who can do what he wants, let him walk to his own beat, if he wants to be undisputed, let him, he doesn’t have to chase manny or loma or Garcia, they wanna fight….let them come to him, he’s chasing the belts

    • FLOMATARD

      Floyd vs Bud? who wins?

  • kiowhatta

    If this indeed truly a proper and fit ‘litmus’ test, in which Crawford demonstrates his dominance, with a 3 inch height and reach advantage, as well as a guy with a 40% KO record.
    Then further unification bouts should follow, aim high, aim hard and by next decade instead of four major belts to try and hold up, it will be at least five or six. IBO is the new WBO.
    Undisputed champ is quite a feat these days. WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO. I wonder how much in sanctioning fees that would cost an undisputed champ?
    Clean up Burns then Indongo, rest then there are some mouth-watering possible match-ups at 147. But that’s asking a lot.

  • Rosalino Sanchez Felix

    good big guy beats good little guy….bud takes this.
    does arum work with haymon fighters? the top dogs in WW
    are mostly pbc…pac is the most logical fight

  • Thomas Browning

    To me, it seems that Crawford always finds a way to adapt and fight in a different gear. I think he gives all of the welterweight champions and contenders a tough time.

  • John Grady

    At the end of the day, history will consider a fighter’s performances, significant fights, and quality of opposition when estimating his legacy. MP would be a great name on any resume, even at this very late stage of his hall of fame career, but he isn’t a required one.