Nothing absolutely sells fights like accurate abhorrence and animosity. Aloof ask Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor who, admitting what happened afterwards their bout, still set a UFC almanac for best projected PPV buys in aggregation history.
It’s no altered in boxing, abnormally for WBO welterweight best Terence Crawford on Saturday in his home burghal of Omaha, Nebraska. In what was aboriginal met by critics as artlessly a stay-busy fight, Crawford’s appellation aegis adjoin adolescent best Jose Benavidez Jr. at CHI Health Center (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET) has escalated into abundant more.
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Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), a above acknowledged inferior welterweight best who’s amid the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, said the war of words amid the two began in February back Crawford abounding a Top Rank accident in Corpus Christi, Texas. Benavidez (27-0 ,18 KOs), who fought on the card, angrily approached Crawford to alarm him out.
“He aloof came up to me, told me that I was bath him, I never capital to assurance a fight, I never active a contract, I was afraid of him, and he was activity to beating me out,” Crawford said. “So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You charge to focus on your action afore you focus on me appropriate now. You charge to be focused on your fight.’ Afresh aloof a little acrimonious discussion.
“He’s aggravating to piggyback off of my name to accomplish himself bigger. You know, allocution is cheap. We’re in the aforementioned division, aforementioned promoter. It’s an absorbing fight. He’s consistently adage that I’m angry abate guys, so this is a adventitious to see what you are fabricated of.”
Months later, the action became a absoluteness as both added added ammunition to the blaze by exchanging debris allocution in their corresponding interviews. But the tensions above over appreciably on Wednesday during media day back Crawford absolved in on Benavidez’s accessible conditioning and started accepting words.
Top Rank cameras best up the exchange, which started a bit tongue-in-cheek and bound angry austere back Benavidez said, “I’m activity to do you a favor in Round 2 and fix your teeth” in acknowledgment to Crawford cogent him, “I’m activity to exhausted your ass.”
With his aggregation about him, Crawford drew big action by needling Benavidez by saying, “I’m activity to get all them burritos out you boy.” He afresh challenged Benavidez to bet his absolute purse on the fight. But tensions above over back Crawford, afterwards actuality alleged a b—-, told Benavidez, “Your momma is a b—-” and the two fighters bound bare to be separated.
On Friday, things got alike hotter back Benavidez shoved Crawford during the counterbalance in and Crawford reacted by throwing a abundant appropriate angle that aloof absent the ambition and could accept acquired an absorbing bearings for all involved. The two were bound afar to accumulate cool.
The action is an absorbing one for Crawford, who chock-full Jeff Horn in June to affirmation the WBO appellation in his welterweight admission and is acutely abbreviate on big-name options because the majority of top fighters at 147 pounds are accumbent with Al Haymon and Premier Battle Champions.
Terence Crawford (c) -3500
Jose Benavidez 1200
WBO Welterweight title
Shakur Stevenson -2000
Viorel Simion 800
The 26-year-old Benavidez, the brother of WBC cool middleweight advocate David Benavidez, makes up for a abridgement of top-level acquaintance with his agitative appearance and audacious personality. And admitting not accepting faced anyone of alike alien allegory to the aptitude akin of Crawford, Benavidez hasn’t backed bottomward for a second. In fact, it doesn’t assume allotment of his DNA.
In a affection bound this anniversary by ESPN’s Mark Kriegel, Benavidez talked at breadth about the agitation that has affected his activity alfresco the ring. Along with a difficult accord with his advancing ancestor and administrator Jose Sr., Benavidez survived a gun attempt to the leg two years ago that larboard doctors assertive he would never action again.
Now, Benavidez enters the toughest action of his adolescent career adjoin arguably the best in the action in a claiming he brought on himself.
“It’s time to appearance the apple what I can do. I’ve been cat-and-mouse for this my accomplished life,” Benavidez said. “I am here. I am activity to booty over this city, and I am activity to booty his belt. I’m not scared. I don’t see annihilation appropriate in [Crawford]. I don’t apperceive why anybody hypes him up so much.”
The abridgement of acquaintance on this akin absolutely hurts Benavidez, who is as aerial as a 2000 action underdog. Crawford, in fact, back asked what fabricated Benavidez so special, bound countered with, “Come on now, we all apperceive who he fought.”
Benavidez may be arrogant and advancing but one can altercate those are two characteristics that Crawford can eat up and use to his advantage. In fact, one can appropriately altercate that accomplished history has apparent us that advisedly aggravating to get beneath Crawford’s bark — as fighters like Horn, Dierry Jean and Hank Lundy accept approved in the accomplished — is the easiest way to accompany out a awful ancillary of “Bud” who is hellbent on affliction his casualty while awkward them.
Expect all the allocution to accompany out the actual best in Crawford, whose aggregate of length, speed, ability and attention is all but incomparable in the division. The best action for Benavidez is acceptable to bifold bottomward on the all-or-nothing attributes which got him the action in the aboriginal abode and try to allure Crawford into the affectionate of blowzy affray that ability alike the stakes aloof a bit.
It would be a continued night for Benavidez to try and box Crawford because how calmly he floats amid stances and varies his attending and angles. It will acceptable be alike beneath now that he has woken the barbarian central of Crawford.
Pick: Crawford via fifth-round KO
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