Champ Ter­ence Craw­ford plan­ning to si­lence Be­navidez in ring

Watchmen Daily Journal - - Sports -

OMAHA, Neb. — Chal­lenger Jose Be­navidez Jr. has been dis­play­ing lots of bravado in ad­vance of his fight with Ter­ence "Bud" Craw­ford. The WBO wel­ter­weight cham­pion ex­pects Be­navidez to re­spect him by the time things are set­tled in the ring Satur­day night.

"I don't see any­thing spe­cial in him. I don't know why ev­ery­one hy­pes him up so much," Be­navidez said of one of the world's top pound-for­pound fight­ers.

"I'm just go­ing to go out there and shut him up. That's it. That's all," Craw­ford said.

There has been fric­tion be­tween Be­navidez and Craw­ford since Fe­bru­ary, when Be­navidez ac­cused the champ of duck­ing him.

Both ap­peared at a me­dia work­out Wed­nes­day, and two heated con­fronta­tions erupted be­tween the fight­ers' camps, the last one end­ing with Craw­ford be­ing pulled away from Be­navidez. The bick­er­ing con­tin­ued Thurs­day at a news con­fer­ence.

The sched­uled 12-round fight will be Craw­ford's first de­fense of his WBO belt. Craw­ford (330, 24 knock­outs) last fought June 9, stop­ping Jeff Horn in the ninth round in Las Ve­gas. Be­navidez (27-0, 18 KOs) fought on the Horn-Craw­ford un­der­card and knocked out Venezue­lan Frank Ro­jas in the first round.

Be­navidez is only the 10thranked 147-pounder by the WBO, and Craw­ford didn't have to take this fight. Top Rank Inc. pro­motes both.

Be­navidez will be fight­ing for the third time since be­ing shot mul­ti­ple times in Au­gust 2016 in his home­town of Phoenix.

"I've been want­ing this fight for three years," Be­navidez said. "I know I have what it takes to beat him, and I am go­ing to beat him."

Craw­ford said Be­navidez re­ally doesn't de­serve the op­por­tu­nity.

A win Satur­day would al­low Craw­ford to con­tinue seek­ing matchups with fel­low cham­pi­ons Er­rol Spence Jr. (IBF), Keith Thur­man (WBA) and Shawn Porter (WBC). The ob­sta­cle to mak­ing any of those hap­pen, how­ever, is that those three box­ers are pro­moted by Premier Box­ing Cham­pi­ons. Top Rank fights are tele­vised by ESPN; PBC fights are on Show­time and Fox.

"I'm just gonna keep do­ing what I've been do­ing, and that's win­ning the fights and look­ing spec­tac­u­lar each and ev­ery fight," Craw­ford said. "Ev­ery­thing else will fall into place."

The un­der­card fea­tures 2016 U.S. Olympic sil­ver medal­ist and top feath­er­weight prospect Shakur Steven­son (8-0, 4 KOs) in a 10-rounder against Viorel Simion (21-2, 9 KOs) and Mikaela Mayer (7-0, 4 KOs) against Vanessa Brad­ford (40-2) in a su­per feath­er­weight bout.

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