Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan fight picks, prediction, odds, date, card, ESPN PPV
All eyes will be on New York City this weekend when a pair of top welterweights collide
Terence Crawford may not be the most highlighted among the welterweight champions in boxing, but event still, "Bud" is considered to be the pound-for-pound best that the sport has to offer in the ring. The unbeaten Crawford has continually proven to be one of the most exciting fighters walking the earth, and the time has come for him to show the world yet again just how dominant he can be.
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.
"I don't believe [any] fight that I fight is just another fight for me," Crawford said. "I believe that all fights that I fight from here on out are for my legacy. That's why I want the biggest fights out there. Amir Khan's name came up because he was the next best welterweight in the division. I could've easily took Collazo. [Khan] could've took another fight with Kell Brook. I could've took Collazo, but that wasn't the job that I really wanted to take.
"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 enters the, regardless of whether Crawford turns southpaw, decides to box from the outside or looks to attack in the early rounds.
"If this goes down as a chess match, we are both good boxers, he is quick, as well, and sharp and experienced," Khan told CBS Sports' "State of Combat" podcast. "If he comes to box it will be a very tricky fight but if he comes to fight, I will be ready as well. I'll be ready for anything. If he wants to come forward, we will be ready."
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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.
From Crawford's standpoint, he's just excited about the chance at a victory that would leave critics of his resume short on ammunition to try and discredit.
"Sometimes it bothers me, but that just shows how dominant I am," Crawford said. "When you got undefeated gold medalists and world champions, where before the fight a lot of writers and fans think that they're going to steamroll me or they're too big for me, and this is going to be the toughest fight of my career. After the fight, they say, 'He wasn't that good,' or 'he was a stand-up fighter,' or 'he was slow,' or 'we knew you were going to do this, we just had to hype up the fight.'
"So they discredit me. When you look at the fighters I've fought, most of them haven't been the same after they've fought me. I just want people to respect me for my talent and the skills that I have, and the willingness to go in there and fight any and everybody that's available."
Also featured on this PPV event are a pair of rising prospects under the Top Rank banner in Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez. Stevenson (10-0) is coming off a pair of knockout victories in October and January while Lopez (12-0) has only seen the judges' scorecards twice in his three-year career.
Stevenson has also called out every top contender in the featherweight division, across all promotions, looking for a big name opponent. Lopez, meanwhile, believes another highlight-reel knockout will make it nearly impossible for Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to wait in giving him a shot at P4P legend Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Crawford vs. Khan card, odds
Terence Crawford (c) -1250
Amir Khan +600
WBO welterweight title
|Shakur Stevenson -1429||Christopher Diaz +650||Featherweight|
Teofimo Lopez -5000
Edis Tatli +1200
Felix Verdejo -225
Bryan Vasquez +175
The speed of Khan's jab and his ability to connect with clean combinations give this fight potential to be incredibly even in the early going. Regardless of how the fight ends, Crawford will need to respect Khan's dynamic offensive ability which likely opes the door for some high-speed chess in the first half of the fight.
But even though Crawford typically takes his time in downloading information before making key adjustments, rest assured he's a fighter who goes for the finish once he decides to start coming forward. That's where Khan's historically suspect chin will forever be a factor.
Even in his brutal one-punch knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez at middleweight in 2016, Khan outboxed him and was winning the early rounds. The problem for Khan is, the same can be said about his stay-busy win over journeyman Samuel Vargas last September when Khan, who was up big on the scorecards, got dropped late in a scenario he's all too familiar with.
Crawford has the power and accuracy to make sure Khan doesn't survive should history repeat itself. Some elite welterweights might leave the door open for Khan to linger but Crawford's old-school nature and natural finishing instincts don't bode well for his chances.
Pick: Crawford via TKO7
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