Terence Crawford: ‘Amir Khan’s very talented. He’s at the top tier of the fighters I’ve ever fought’
“Because he was the next best welterweight to choose from being that everyone else has fights,” sighed Terence Crawford, again explaining why he meets Amir Khan on April 20 in the U.S.A.
Crawford is the multi-gifted welterweight champion who wants to rule the 147-pound division and victory over Khan will do nothing to support or discredit his claims.
During the press conference to announce the event he was asked whether Khan was a top five welterweight. “Top six, top seven,” he replied.
“Who are the top five?” he was asked.
“You know the top five,” he smiled, a hint of boredom in his response.
Khan is not in The Ring’s top 10, and Errol Spence, Crawford, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Manny Pacquiao fill the top five positions.
“They’re all fighting,” ‘Bud’ continued. “Everybody is fighting. The welterweight division is on fire right now. We all got upcoming fights, starting this weekend with Pacquiao-[Adrien] Broner, you got Danny Garcia, you got Shawn Porter fighting [Yordenis] Ugas, you got Errol Spence fighting Mikey Garcia, you’ve got me fighting Amir Khan – so everyone is fighting right now and I can’t ask for more.”
Crawford is 34-0 (25 knockouts) and the 31-year-old reckons Khan is one of the best he has faced. “He’s up there,” added the man who counts Yuriorkis Gamboa, Julius Indongo, Ricky Burns, Viktor Postol and Jeff Horn among his victims as he’s seamlessly tracked titles at lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight, where he now holds the WBO belt.
“Amir Khan’s very talented, he’s very explosive, fast hands, fast feet. He’s at the top tier of the fighters I’ve ever fought.”
As rapid as the lightning-quick Gamboa?
“I don’t know until we fight, because Gamboa had real fast hands and [Jose] Benavidez had fast hands, too.”
Will Khan present him with anything he has yet to encounter? Crawford is not convinced.
“We have to see on fight night because a lot of fighters they do certain things that you might think pose you a threat and then when you get in the ring it doesn’t work. So we just have to wait and see.”
Khan has been stopped in three of his four losses and dropped on multiple occasions in 37 pro fights, but he also withstood bombs from Marcos Maidana and has not been hurt or troubled by a string of decent 147-pound opponents.
“Well he always got up,” said Crawford when asked about Khan’s punch resistance. “The only one who kept him down was Canelo (Alvarez). The other times he got up, including with the Danny Garcia fight [not so against Breidis Prescott], so I don’t go in there looking at it like he’s got a weak chin or I’m going to do this or I’m going to do that. I’m just training 110 per cent, looking for the best Amir Khan come fight night.”
Crawford believes he might box twice more in 2019 (“it depends on the fight”) and then, when asked whom he would like to fight in those two fights, he said “two of the champions.”
“It’s all about the champions,” he continued, adding that welterweight is likely the end of the line for his rise through the divisions. “I want to become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world, and that’s what I’m aiming for.”
So his eyes will be on his 147-pound rivals over the coming weeks, starting on Saturday when he tips Adrien Broner to overcome veteran Filipino Manny Pacquiao.
“It’s going to be an exciting fight, two great fighters fighting each other and Pacquiao showed that he had a lot left in the tank from his last fight against [Lucas] Matthysse, and Broner ain’t never been in a dull fight so I look forward to seeing it,” he stated. “I’m going for Broner.”
On March 16, possibly the most-talked about fight of 2019 at welterweight sees Mikey Garcia moving up to challenge the formidable Spence.
“He [Mikey]’s only jumping up one weight class. He’s got a title at 140. A lot of people are saying he’s jumping up two weight classes when he’s not. He won a title at 140. He’s jumping up one weight class, he’s got a lot of skills, he’s a puncher. It’s going to make for a good fight. I’m interested to see how he takes Errol’s punch and if he takes Errol’s punch and pressure then it’s going to make for an interesting fight.”
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