Terence Crawford scores TKO over Felix Diaz, calls for fight with Manny Pacquiao
The unified junior welterweight champion continues to stake claim as one of P4P best
Terence Crawford continued to prove why he's one of the truly great fighters in the sport on Saturday. Now it's up to his promoter, Top Rank, to find him an equally great opponent.
In what had the potential to be his most difficult test to date on paper, Crawford simply made it look easy. He dominated Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz to defend his junior welterweight titles by 10th-round TKO at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs), already recognized among boxing's pound-for-pound best, took Diaz's best shots and answered with stinging combinations to swell both of his eyes. Naturally an orthodox fighter, Crawford also put on a boxing clinic by opening as a southpaw and controlling distance brilliantly behind his stinging jab.
"I cam out southpaw because I do what I want in there. It's my ring," Crawford said.
Considering he has had difficultly finding consistently tough opposition, Crawford was quick to call out the biggest name within his promoters stable after Saturday's victory: Manny Pacquiao.
"[I want] Pacquiao. That's the only fight out there that we are really looking for," Crawford said. "If not, [Julius] Indongo is here. He came to my fight. Let's get it on, Indongo, wherever you are at. Keith Thurman? Whoever. I'll fight anybody."
A fight against Pacquiao would have instant passing-of-the-torch connotations and, in theory, would be easy to make considering they share a promoter. But Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight titleholder, has avoided a fight against Crawford of late, choosing instead to face unknown Jeff Horn on July 2 in Australia.
Crawford, 29, was asked directly whether he believes Pacquiao would consider facing him at the age of 38.
"Who knows? Hey, that's not up to me," Crawford said. "I'm a fighter. That's up to my promoter, Bob Arum. [Pacquiao] has a fight that he's preparing for right now so he's more focused on that than anything else."
Crawford gave any future opponents plenty of reasons not to fight him with how easily he dominated Diaz (19-2, 9 KOs). Not only did Crawford have his way with the native of the Dominican Republic, he displayed his growing nasty streak inside the ring as well, taunting Diaz and viciously stalking him until trainer Joel Diaz saved his fighter by throwing in the towel after Round 10.
"It's a fight, you can't be nice in there," Crawford said. "My dad always taught me as a little kid: 'Don't go in that ring to play or you're going to get hurt.' So you got to be mean in there."
Crawford outlanded Diaz, 193 to 69, according to CompuBox, and landed an incredible 59 percent of his power shots.
The victory will only boost Crawford's claim as one of the P4P best while he continues to wait for an opponent who can truly push him.
"Of course, [P4P respect matters], that's what we all do it for," Crawford said. "That's why we bleed, sweat and put our life on the line to be remembered in the sport of boxing."
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