Since becoming a world champion in 2014, Terence “Bud” Crawford has been fighting at an elite level that few in boxing ever reach. Unbeaten titlists and solid challengers have barely tested the Omahan.
Top Rank President Todd duBoef, whose company promotes the WBO welterweight champ, dropped a college football reference when discussing Crawford’s ring superiority during a conference call last week.
“When Terence Crawford gets in the ring, it’s like Alabama in football,” he said. “He is that dominant.”
A mid-1990s Nebraska football comparison may have been more applicable locally, but duBoef’s remark resonated nonetheless. Crawford has been at the top of his game and hasn’t been truly pushed to date.
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The three-division champion (33-0, 24 knockouts) is an overwhelming favorite for his first welterweight title defense, which comes against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs) Saturday at the CHI Health Center.
Crawford enters his 12th championship bout ranked first or second on nearly every pound-for-pound list. He and lightweight champ Vasyl Lomachenko share the honors as the top fighters in the world.
“Some people rate me No. 1, some people rate me 2,” Crawford said on Thursday. “I can’t complain. I’m in the top two and almost everybody is rating me. I’m just blessed to be in the top two.”
Crawford’s consistent dominance is what has gotten him to that lofty position. He’s knocked out eight of the 10 opponents he’s faced since winning his first world title. And the two fighters who lasted all 12 rounds with the Omahan — Ray Beltran and Viktor Postol — were nearly shut out on judges’ scorecards.
Challengers not only have trouble staying competitive in bouts with Crawford, they have a hard time winning single rounds against him. By the midpoint of his fights, the final outcome is all but inevitable.
Crawford had won every round of his welterweight debut against previously unbeaten Jeff Horn before eventually stopping the then-champion in the ninth round of their title fight in Las Vegas in June. The Australian boxer, who had taken the title from Manny Pacquiao, had only fleeting moments of success.
That’s pretty much how all of Crawford’s foes have fared. Only Yuriorkis Gamboa and Thomas Dulorme remained relatively competitive with him early. Both fighters finished the night as knockout victims.
Crawford steamrolled through the junior welterweight division after stopping Dulorme, successfully unifying the division before vacating the four titles to move up to boxing’s deepest weight class. Truly big fights may be waiting on the horizon for the WBO champion if he continues the path that he’s on.
To get them, Crawford needs to solidify his status as one of the top fighters in the sport. He hasn’t overlooked any opponent in the past. And he’s said he’s not thinking beyond his talkative foe Saturday.
“My main focus is on Benavidez,” he said. “He’s been doing a lot of talking. But while he’s talking, I’m working. I’m not worried about nothing that he’s saying. ... I’m focused and I’m ready to go next week.”
Photos: Terence 'Bud' Crawford's path to world champion
Over the last decade, Omaha native Terence "Bud" Crawford has developed into one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet. Check out these pictures following Crawford from his time as an amateur to his current position as world champion.