Terence Crawford Meets the Press

By Robert Ecksel on October 9, 2018
Terence Crawford Meets the Press
Jawboning isn’t Crawford’s thing. He gets surly when he’s told he needs to follow a script.

On Saturday, October 13, Terence Crawford will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight title against undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr….

On Saturday, October 13, in a fight televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes from the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Omaha’s favorite son, Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight title against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs), the undefeated young gun from Phoenix, Arizona.

In anticipation of the bout, Crawford met with the press via teleconference call and dismissed the rumor that the fight is a grudge match. When asked about the ostensible bad blood between him and his opponent, Crawford said it was “Pretty much nothing. He just came up to me, told me that I was ducking him, and I never wanted to sign a fight, I never signed a contract, and I was scared of him, and he was going to knock me out. So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You need to focus on your fight before you focus on me right now. You need to be focused on your fight.’ Then just a little heated discussion.”

A little heated discussion is nothing new. It meets expectations and keeps things interesting.

“That comes with the territory,” Crawford said, “when you’ve got people that, you know, want your spot. They want to get the opportunity or the chance to prove their worthiness, to make a name for themselves. So that’s how I take it. He’s trying to piggyback off of my name to make himself bigger.”

Jawboning isn’t Crawford’s thing. He gets surly when he learns he has to follow a script.

For example, Crawford was asked about his new contract with Top Rank/ESPN, which appears to exclude future fights with Errol Spence, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman, all of whom are aligned with PBC/Showtime.

“Can I answer this for him?” asked Todd duBoef on behalf of Top Rank. “I just want to make this crystal clear. We have said this following our recent announcement of re-signing Terence. Regardless of your affiliation, we will take on all comers. That’s it. We don’t care where you are, what you do. We will go and take on all comers, right? Terence is an elite fighter. He is at that class. In fact, when there was a big welterweight fight, a nice welterweight fight in early September, all they did was talk about Terence Crawford.”

Crawford is worth talking about. He is a thinking man’s fighter, one of the best of the best. But the praise can be distracting.

“I don’t pay attention to it,” he said. “My main focus is on Benavidez. As you can see, he’s been doing a lot of talking, but while he’s talking, I’m working. So, I’m not worried about nothing that he’s saying or that he’s trying to hype up. I’m focused and I’m ready to go next week.”

That should have been that. But a single-minded journalist is like a pit bull with a bone, so Crawford was asked again about his challenger’s head games. 

“He’s confident in himself and his abilities,” Crawford said about Benavidez, “and on top of that, I feel as if he’s trying to boost his confidence up even more by telling himself these thoughts in his head that he’s one of the best. But like I said, talk is cheap. Come next week, all the talking and all the answers that everybody want to ask about the fight will be answered. I really don’t have nothing to say about the guy. Come fight night, you know I’ll be ready. Come fight night, all that is going to be out the window and we’re going to have to fight. And then it’s going to be put up or shut up.”

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