The fight is tomorrow night. Allan Cerf writes up about it
Particulars: At Madison Square Garden, it’s Amir "King Khan" vs. Terence "Bud" Crawford, April 20 on ESPN pay-per-view. (Boo!) Crawford’s various belts are on the line.
This should be a fascinating fight, revealing a lot about both fighters. If Khan looks good in losing, then Errol Spence becomes the strong favorite to defeat Crawford. Khan winning shakes up the division - but good.
If Amir Khan, who has fought very infrequently, is still as fast as at his absolute peak, this could be a superb affair. His punches from both hands are not feather-fisted; Crawford cannot simply walk through them. Amir is fearless – yet lacks completely a defining fight. Mayweather’s fans were asked to select a "final" opponent and selected Khan, but no dice. Pacquiao, who used to train with Khan, was never pitted against him. Reportedly the peak Khan owned Manny in the gym.
Crawford is rightly regarded as one of, or the best fighter in the game and has amazing versatility.
As The Ring’s Doug Fischer notes: top welters fight twice a year, maximum. Crawford and Khan are not exceptions.
No mistake – Khan’s elite hand speed means Crawford, for the first time, could be subjected to an opponent with (one) pure athletic advantage. At 32, however, while Khan’s speed of fist may not have declined, his speed of foot likely has. There are few Michael Jordan’s, who at 32, had lost 1.5 of vertical to his 22 year old self. Also, at 32, the elder M.J. was far more experienced.
Khan too is more experienced than years ago and in my opinion has a much better CV than Bud. But the first thing to go for these fast-twitch guys, are the legs.
At 31, no spring chicken himself, Crawford has far better fundamentals and crucially, a three inch reach advantage. By no means slow, Bud has an extraordinary, herky-jerky style and can switch hit effectively. The battle of the intangibles seems to strongly favor the Nebraskan.
Fighter’s Grades: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Terence Crawford: B B+ B+ B B- B+ B+ (Average of all) B (3.1)
Amir Khan: A, B+ B- B- C B- A (Average of all) B (3.1)
Reality check: Neither Khan or Crawford have exactly taken on endless challenges – particularly Khan. A persistent British rumor is that Khan’s family were worried about brain health after his KO losses and insisted on, in some cases, years of inactivity – which is more dangerous still. Crawford, for his part, is simply not worked often by adoring Top Rank Patriarch, Bob Arum, 87 years young.
The great irony is that say, Mayweather, was bombarded with criticism about challenges - yet he was both far more active than these two and his resume is at least twice as glittering as both Khan and Bud’s together. Crawford and Khan may one day look back with considerable regret that their prime fell in an era like the present day.
Fight and prediction: I see Khan winning rounds one-four and staying even in five and six, but from seven on, it’s Crawford’s fresher legs that seize the day. Props to both pugilists for taking the fight. In the unlikely event that Khan is a narrow winner after 12, expect Crawford to get the ‘W’ where it counts – on the judge’s cards.
I see a late Crawford stoppage or methodical breakdown and win, 12, as the Bolton man becomes ever more discouraged. Worst case, his famous chin is clipped and it ends deep within regulation. If he loses clearly, he should probably call it a day.
Crawford TKO Khan 11