This Saturday – Terence Crawford’s Sole Ring Appearance Of The Year

12/05/2022 - By James Slater - Comments

For a fighter who many experts say is either the number one pound-for-pound best in the world or Top-3 at least, Terence Crawford sure has had a most disappointing year, one in which his formidable skills have been left to go rusty. Indeed, aside from the gym work, he has put in, Crawford has had no work here in 2022. But it shouldn’t have been this way, not for a special a talent as the reigning, undefeated WBO welterweight champ.

We last saw “Bud” in action in November of last year, this when he faced the tough Shawn Porter in what was looked at as a meaningful fight for Crawford after he had spent another 12 months idle, with the Nebraskan not having fought since November of 2020 when Crawford easily did away with a faded Kell Brook. You see the trend? Over the last three years, Crawford has boxed just twice, with Saturday’s fight with David Avanesyan to mark his third fight in as many years.

As crazy as it may sound, we are still waiting for Crawford to box his defining fight. As a career-inactive fighter might be how Crawford’s final few years in the ring will define him the way he’s been going. We should have seen a massive fight, a potentially defining fight for both men, in the form of a Crawford-Errol Spence unification showdown this year, and the fact that the fight crumbled (through whoever’s fault it may have been) makes Crawford’s year all the more barren-looking.

Again, it may not have been Crawford’s fault that the Spence fight didn’t happen, but the bottom line is the fight didn’t happen. And maybe it won’t ever happen. What’s really worrying is what Crawford had to say on the matter, insisting that he is still Hall of Fame material without the Spence fight. Maybe Crawford’s accomplishments – titles won at three weights, a perfect 38-0 ledger, almost certain to improve to 39-0 on Saturday night – will see him into the HOF.

But it cannot be denied that Crawford’s fans and supporters have deserved better from their hero. Terence Crawford should have and could have faced better opposition than he has been fighting, and he could certainly have been more active. It’s an interesting question: how will Crawford be remembered when he’s gone? Imagine, for example, a Thomas Hearns without his big fights with Leonard, Duran, and Cuevas (those all wins for Hearns). Imagine a Sugar Ray Leonard without his big fights with Hearns, Duran, and Hagler. The list could go on here.

Crawford’s skills are exceptional, but who has really, genuinely, absolutely put them to the test? Which brings us to Saturday’s fight. Avanesyan, 29-3-1(17), is a good fighter, he is tough, hungry and he has competed with some decent fighters (an old Shane Mosley, Lamont Peterson, and common opponent Egidijus Kavaliauskas probably being the best names Avanesyan has faced, and he lost to two of them). But can the Russian really give Crawford a hard time of things?

The pay-per-view offering will likely be bought by Crawford diehards only, and the star fighter will almost certainly win with comparative ease. All we can then hope is Crawford steps it up a few notches in 2023 and beyond, this as he closes in on retirement. It really would be a shame if Crawford left the sport, never having shown us all that he really is capable of in a fight.

Ask yourself, have we yet seen Crawford’s greatness in any fight; this after the 35-year-old has spent almost fifteen years in the pro ring?