Amir Khan vs Terence Crawford: Terence Crawford isn’t the most fortunate among the welterweight champions as it pertains to TV network and promotion, but even still, he has a marquee defense of his WBO title lined up on Saturday.
The Crawford-Khan showdown is a very interesting matchup of two elite fighters, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said. Khan, when fighting at welterweight, is as good as there is, but he is fighting the division’s best fighter and a pound-for-pound great. It will be an entertaining and competitive fight.
There are plenty of reasons to watch Crawford—who is a -1600 favorite, meaning you’d have to bet $1,600 to win a measly $100—face Khan. Here are three of them.
Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) will take an important step forward in terms of his brand when he headlines the inaugural Top Rank on ESPN pay-per-view card (9 p.m. ET) at New York’s Madison Square Garden against British star and former unified junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs).
After fans initially balked at Top Rank chairman Bob Arum’s suggestion that Crawford might return against aging former champion Luis Collazo, the substitution of the 32-year-old Khan instantly presented much more appealing style possibilities for Crawford, who joins stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko atop most pound-for-pound lists.
While the dark cloud of his vulnerable chin is always in play regardless of opponent, Khan presents legitimate size, speed and experience challenges for Crawford that he has yet to face rolled up into the same opponent professionally.
Amir Khan is a great fighter. I can’t take nothing away from. He’s done a lot in the sport of boxing. He has a big name. He’s undefeated at the welterweight division. So why not take another step up.
Khan also said he is well aware of the issues Crawford had in the first four rounds against Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014 when the Cuban boxer, who was fighting above his natural weight at 135 pounds, used his hand speed to frustrate Crawford before a turn to southpaw eventually led to a ninth-round knockout win.
I’ve been watching that fight. [Crawford] still won that fight but I saw that he had some problems,” Khan said. “We aren’t going to copy what Gamboa did in that fight but we are going to use my speed because speed is what I have. I feel that I am a lot faster than Gamboa was and a lot more accurate. I’ve been in the game a long time and have fought better opponents than Gamboa has. I’m also a lot bigger and more physical.
Khan knows it will take more than speed, however, and is cognizant of Crawford’s ability to read his opponent and make adjustments. Because of that, Khan has worked hard in camp alongside trainer Virgil Hunter in preparing a flexible game plan built on variation.