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Crawford Ends It Like A Champ

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  • Crawford Ends It Like A Champ

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    By Frank Lotierzo

    This past weekend WBO welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford 34-0 (25) retained his title stopping Jose Benavidez 27-1 (18) in the 12th round. Crawford was cruising along dominating the fight from the sixth round on, then came out hard in the last round and went for the kill against a tiring Benavidez. It ended abruptly when Crawford jarred and dropped Benavidez with a right uppercut to the chin. Benavidez beat the count but was immediately overwhelmed by Crawford as soon as the fight resumed and it was halted.

    Prior to the bout Crawford was considered the best pound for pound fighter in boxing by many. His performance against Benavidez more than likely further endorses that sentiment. Unless Bena videz being competitive during the first five rounds is enough to make some re-think their position? For those who weren't aware, Benavidez was the fifth undefeated opponent Crawford has defeated in a title bout over three weight divisions and he's now 12-0 (9) in world title bouts.

    The Benavidez fight was Crawford's first title defense since winning it from Jeff Horn this past June. And it started in typical Crawford fashion. For the first two rounds Crawford surveyed Benavidez (who may be the biggest and longest welterweight in the division) while Jose was looking to apply his physical advantages. Crawford fought from a conventional stance through the first round and then as it was winding down he reverted to fighting as a southpaw and stayed in that stance for the rest of the fight. In the second Crawford did a little of everything but was mostly trying to get a read on Benavidez's long jab. He tried leading and countering both on the move and in flurries but wasn't initially met with overwhelming success. Benavidez forced Crawford to work as Jose moved in from a slight crouch hoping to lure Crawford into going first, and he did. However, Crawford disrupted his plan by slamming him to the body. In return, Jose also went to the body but the difference over the first five rounds was Crawford's quicker hands and more imaginative offense.

    By the time the sixth round rolled around, Benavidez, who initially showed up to win, was reduced to accepting that he can't outfight Crawford. Thus, he was reduced to doing just enough to keep Crawford from brutalizing him and to save face. During the mid-rounds when Crawford was killing his body and then flurrying with right hooks to the head - the only thing Benavidez could offer back was a shrug of his shoulders. In other words Jose was trying to con the judges into thinking Crawford was fighting his rear off yet he couldn't do any real damage. Muhammad Ali applied the same con job against Joe Frazier during their first fight, and like Frazier, Crawford ignored it and kept working the body and mixing things up.

    By the eighth round, Benavidez was slowed to a walk and his punch output was reduced to just doing enough so Crawford couldn't go at him with total impunity. However, that was about to change. Crawford raised the rent in the 10th round and started to plant more and forced Benavidez to retreat after whacking him with straight lefts and counter right hooks to both the head and body. The more Benavidez refused to engage and shrugged his shoulders trying to convince Terence he couldn't hurt him - Crawford knew better and in turn stayed focused and kept going at Benavidez when he knew he really was done fighting and hoping to go the distance. The problem was the bad blood between them was something Crawford wouldn't let go of nor was he about to show his thoroughly drained and beaten opponent any's not in Crawford's DNA.

    Finally, after a pretty spirited fight, and winning all but maybe two rounds going into the 12th, Crawford had Benavidez where he wanted him - and that was right in front of him, tired and defenseless with little punch or resistance left. It was obvious as the fight wore on Crawford wanted a stoppage victory and wouldn't be happy until he separated himself from his lanky opponent and the only way to achieve that was by ending the fight inside the distance.

    “It was coming,” Crawford said. “It was just a matter of time. He slowed down tremendously. He was tired. That’s when I seen my opportunity to take my uppercut shot. Every time I’ll feint, he would pull back. So I was like, ‘Now is not the time.’ But once he slowed down, I seen that I can catch him with it and then that’s what I did.”

    Crawford met Benavidez, who attempted to stem the tide, at the start of the final round. Terence unloaded on Benavidez to the head and body, wasting few punches. Crawford worked with the intent to finish his younger and beaten opponent. Crawford landed a jarring right uppercut that had Benavidez go down, nearly in a half somersault. Once they resumed engaging, Crawford flurried and the bout was stopped with 18 seconds to go in the fight.

    The showing was impressive on Crawford's part because he was troubled early due to Benavidez's size and somewhat unconventional style. Jose had his moments and found moderate success with his jab and a few right hands he landed when Crawford retreated sometimes moving back in a straight line with his hands low. But other than that the fight wasn't close and the fact that Benavidez realized he couldn't win by the fifth round, he did what he could to prevent Crawford from beating him up but not much else.

    Due to the fight going almost the entire distance, some observers feel Crawford was underwhelming; I don't. And the reason is, Benavidez is better than most thought and he is the bigger man and it was pronounced seeing them in the ring together. In beating his bigger foe Crawford emptied his toolbox. He boxed during the periods he was devising an attack strategy, he moved and forced Benavidez to use his legs and work.....and then countered when Jose tried to be assertive. Crawford's body punching to both sides was impressive and truly paid dividends down the home stretch. And the right uppercut that dropped Benavidez shows that although Crawford isn't a life-taker when it comes to power, he consistently lands clean shots that his opponents never see coming.

    Crawford closed the fight like the champ he is and once again exhibited why he's the most diverse and stylistically versatile fighter in boxing. He answered mostly all of Benavidez's punches with his own which is a staple of his style. Terence showed he's capable of fully concentrating while fighting mad and seems to have an answer for anything and everything he's confronted with. Crawford has no real weakness other than him not being a big welterweight.

    There isn't one welterweight in the world on his level as a fighter and technician. For Errol Spence, Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter to beat him - they have only one option. They better hope and pray that their physicality along with the ability to apply it can be a game changer...because if they can't overwhelm him physically, they'll be picked apart and totally outfought and out-thought starting around the third or fourth round when they eventually meet.

    Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at

  • #2
    Andre Ward said we can't discredit Crawford for taking a full twelve rounds to dispose of JB. After a good start Benavides just didn't engage and seemed to be running on fumes.

    Ward said sometimes these things are just inexplicable and can't be explained. It's only takes a few milliseconds, centimeters, and the ability to burn a few more calories (and of course skill) that separate most winners from the KO'd loser....same as with all sports .

    Ward should know. ...he went from putting in a dreadful performance against Alexander Brand, to putting on a clinic against the much better Sulivan Barrera to knocking out an even far more superior Krusher Kovalev.

    And now the online community seems to have split into 2 camps, Crawford is a bum (dosser) or boxing savant that even dwarfs the former Pretty Boy F.

    Crawford IS VERY GOOD, I just hope that I get to see how good he is.

    I think just Spence is better ... He gets hit more, way more. But he's far more relentless and gains strength the longer the fight goes.

    Arum had officially stated that Porter, Thurman and Garcia dont meet the criteria to face Crawford and that only Spence passes muster. Ok lets put that fight together.
    The Next Superfight!!!!!


    • #3
      Also JB had only had 8 or 9 rounds in 2 years before the fight and had been shot in the leg...
      (previous to that his Mercedes was burned to a crisp) and his brother David recently turned in a positive test for some blow.

      Ma​​kes me wonder what's going on in the southwest.

      My daughter lives in phoenix and says the southern border is rife with criminal activity from south of the border. ..
      Which she avoids with a purpose.

      Not taking away from Crawford...he did his job well.
      but some lively competion would surely further expand his appeal into transforming Crawford into a bonefide household name, ....just saying.

      Hopefully he can build upon the exposure.


      • #4
        Unfortunately the truth is not always easy to perceive

        ....even though Crawford, BoMac and Arum has bombarded the web for the last 4 weeks with how badly they wanted a piece of Spence....and a buzzed Spence got more attention after the Porter vs Garcia event than the main event fighters did when it appeared Spence held or was given his own press conference (postfight) to answer questions about a potential fight with Crawford.

        Spence took the oportunity disparage Crawford for 15minutes with his slow, polite Texan delivery ...."who has he beat?"

        Unfortunately after JB was dispatched all we get is Crawford vs Elidijus Kavaliauskus, whose name was mentioned as the next opponent two weeks before Crawford even fought Benavides.

        And after the fight Crawford doesnt even mention Spence's name. But TC and his team have left close to a dozen videos on you tube calling out the PBC Prince.

        Listening to these fighters constant contradicting statements and watching their behaviors is misleading and as damaging to their credibility as listening to Anthony Joshua, Hearn, and Kyane West at the same time.

        I know the owness is not on Crawford.....the responsibility lies with the Big Money who is pulling the strings from the shadows.

        Boxing sure can be very frustrating for us "regular" guys who just want to watch the fights.