It’s official: WBO welterweight champ and pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford will make the first defence of the belt he ripped from Australian warrior Jeff Horn on October 13, against unbeaten contender Jose Benavidez. Once again Crawford, 33-0(24) will be fighting in his home town of Omaha, Nebraska. Benavidez, four years younger than “Bud” at age 26, is currently 27-0(18).
ESPN.com confirmed the fight is a done deal, and Dan Rafael’s piece also reported on Crawford renewing his contract with Top Rank. Crawford, who said he is the best fighter in the world, is happy being with Top Rank, quite clearly, and he will stay with them for the coming years. But will Crawford be able to get the big, career-defining fights at 147? Rival welterweight champions/fighters Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman are with Al Haymon and PBC so who knows if this will make fights between them and Crawford a tough nut to crack.
Benavidez aims to ruin Crawford’s march to greatness and the unbeaten challenger from Phoenix is talking a great and confident fight. Crawford will start as a big betting favourite, and rightly so, but Benavidez is both hungry and talented. The October fight will, however, represent one big, big step up in class for the man known as “Merciless.” A pro since January of 2010, Benavidez’ most recognisable wins came over Mauricio Herrera and Jorge Paez Junior.
Benavidez has been active this year, with two bouts won, one in February and one in June, but he had no fights in 2017 and just one fight in 2016. But this is the big chance for Benavidez and he says he is ready for it. Still, as complete a fighter as Crawford is, with zero apparent weaknesses, only strengths: speed, timing, switch-hitting ability, a superb defence and a nasty streak at times, it’s tough to make a case for ANY fighter beating him, Benavidez included.
The upcoming fight is interesting, but what we fans really want is to see Crawford fight Spence. That fight, if it can be made, will be one of the biggest and most eagerly viewed fights in all of boxing.