Terence Crawford brushes off Spence inquiries, remains focused on Amir Khan
On Tuesday afternoon, Top Rank bossman Bob Arum presided over a conference call to hype the April 20 Madison Square Garden/PPV showdown pitting Terence Crawford against underdog Brit Amir Khan.
Khan hopped right in, and said that he’s psyched to be back with Virgil Hunter, after two fights with Joe Goossen. “I know that Terence is a great fighter and I respect the way he fights,” said Khan, who said he’s “not taking this fight just to be a number.” He declared he is coming to win and make a big splashy upset. He performs best as a “big underdog,” he said, and he stated he feels at his career peak, right now, at age 32. He said he could have fought Kell Brook, but this scrap, “stylistically, is a better fight for me.”
Being on ESPN, Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) continued, will help his visibility.
Then, Khan and Arum took press queries…
Why Crawford and not Brook, Dan Rafael asked Khan? Because I love to fight in America, he said. His team maybe didn’t fully agree with him, he admitted, because Bud is very skillful. “This is going to be like a game of chess at times,” he said. “I’m probably the physically the bigger guy in this fight…I think that’s going to be an advantage for me.”
He said in his last fight against Samuel Vargas he wasn’t his best, because at this juncture, it’s not as easy to get up for a less than A grade foe.
Arum then spoke: “I’ve always been an Amir Khan fan,” the 87-year-old dealmaker told media. He said that he liked Khan when the Brit sparred with Manny Pacquiao. “I know what makes a good fight, and what’s a competitive fight,” he said, with verve. “Styles makes fights, this is the first PPV we’re doing with ESPN and we value tremendously our relationship with ESPN,” he said.
Back to Amir…The Brit said Bud is an ace, called him durable and said he moves well. “For me to win the fight, I have to be on my A game, I can’t make mistakes,” he told press of the 34-0 (25 KOs) hitter from Nebraska. “My skills are what’s gonna win the fight, not size or power.”
Arum was asked why this one went to PPV. The matchup warrants the PPV set up, the Brooklyn-raised Las Vegan said. “This is professional boxing and the fighters have to be compensated because it’s such a big fight.” The networks can’t be asked to put out big, big bucks all the time, so the fans are asked to fork over…and maybe sometimes they say no.
Khan brought up the chatter regarding Crawford vs. Spence…Not so fast, said Khan. He gets up for big fights…and this is one of those. “If Crawford is talking about that and over-looking me, I think he’s in for a big shock,” said Khan, noting that he can crack better than a lot of Bud’s previous foes. “I’m coming to win this fight,” he reiterated.
And if he beats Bud, would he fight Spence? No need to look past this one, he said. Spence, sure. Kell Brook? “It depends on how long I wanna be in the game for,” he said.
Arum maybe won the call when he was asked if he did his own tweets: “Yeah, I work Twitter, I think it’s a great, great service. You can say a lot of things on Twitter and people, fans read them and respond. Sometimes they like ’em, sometimes they don’t like ’em, and sometimes they say the most horrible things in response to them but I think it’s a lot of fun…and it’s the modern way to educate fans and to reach fans.
“I’m a big Twitter fan myself and I use it very often, I like to do at least 3 or 4 Tweets a week. So yeah, I plead guilty to writing my own Tweets.” And so that might be the first time he agrees with Mr. Trump? “Well, that’s really true, but I use it better than (President Trump) does.”
@ErrolSpenceJr said that he is ready to fight @terencecrawford. We are ready to do that next, once Bud is successful against @amirkingkhan on April 20. It’s what fight fans want. Al, should I call you or will you call me? @premierboxing
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) March 25, 2019
Terence Crawford then took press queries, after Arum offered a preamble. The promoter said that 40 years ago he promoted Sugar Ray Leonard and these days he has the honor of promoting “the successor to Sugar Ray Leonard.
“I believe that Terence is the best welterweight in the world and certainly a contender for the best pound for pound fighter in the world,” he stated.
Dan Rafael spoke first. The ESPN fixture was corrected by Crawford after he said this was his first PPV (he fought Viktor Postol on PPV in 2016), and Crawford’s tone got sharp. Rafael said he’d move on to another question and Crawford waited, but Rafael disappeared from the call.
Bud said he watched the Spence vs. Mikey Garcia fight but he’s focused on his own fight, not that one.
And what about Khan’s chin and people saying he’s chinny. Khan has never lost at 147, “he’s real fast, he’s crafty, this is gonna be a tough fight,” he declared.
Rafael then popped back up, and posed a query to Brian Mcintyre, the trainer/manager to Bud. Where does Mac see Khan now? Khan looks determined and they are not taking him likely, he told press. “I rate Khan in the top five Terence has faced…he’s got good ring IQ, good ring generalship,” the tutor said.
McIntyre didn’t want to speculate on Spence vs. Crawford, saying they are focusing on Khan. Then, after fights are done, hopefully everyone can get on the same page to make the fight between Texan and the Nebraskan.
Bud admitted he didn’t look down the line and think he’d face off versus Khan. “I thought he would be at 154, we here now and I’m excited to share the ring with him,” he said.
After Bud came back on the line after he switched lines, Rafael tried another question. Will his power speak loudest? “I wouldn’t say that,” Bud said. He said his whole skills set will lead him to the win, not just power. He said he isn’t thinking that yes, his power will wreck Khan’s chin. “We’re prepared to go twelve hard rounds,” he said.
Then Dan pressed about a Bud vs. Spence fight. “Of course it’s makeable, I believe it’s the biggest fight in the welterweight division,” Bud said…and after the Khan fight they will get more into that.
And will he want to do more buys than Spence did versus Mikey Garcia? “I’m not worried about that,” he said, he just wants to fight well and get the W. “The number should be good,” he said.
My three cents: Crawford is not the most enthusiastic fan of doing media so you got the feeling he’d be glad to end the call. Khan is a good talker, he offers a good mix of insight into self and self confidence that might be more than merited at this point in his career. Arum of course is still A grade but he was pretty muted on this outing. He worked hard to note that Khan has a chance to win and put his rep on the line. The Trump line regarding Twitter was his best. Let’s see how this promotion plays out – there won’t be animus between he fighters and so the edge that helped seal Garcia vs Spence won’t be in play, possibly. Also, Kahn’s perceived chinny-ness makes him a heavy ‘dog in many minds. Still, Arum’s gut is often right in these matters…so we have to see how it plays out.
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