Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing compared Terence “Bud” Crawford’s upcoming HBO debut to the understudy in a stage performance finally getting a chance to become the star.
The unbeaten Omahan opens Saturday’s 9:15 p.m. telecast with a scheduled 10-round junior welterweight (140 pounds) bout against hard-hitting Breidis Prescott at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The fight will be followed by the main event, a rematch of last year’s explosive slugfest between fellow junior welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado.
Facing Prescott is a high-risk, high-reward venture for Crawford. The 25-year-old, ranked 11th in the world at lightweight (135 pounds) by the International Boxing Federation, is 19-0 with 15 knockouts as a pro. But he hasn’t faced a world-class contender like Prescott.
Still, Crawford appeared calm and confident at the prefight press conference this week.
“I’ve been working hard for a long time,” he said. “I’m just ready to go in there and put on a show.”
Crawford, who has never been in a 10-round bout, accepted the fight with Prescott late last week. Crawford was slated to meet Robert Osibe (14-5) in Saturday’s untelevised undercard until Prescott’s original opponent, World Boxing Association junior welterweight champion Khabib Allakhverdiev, injured an elbow and had to withdraw from the event.
The spot on TV was offered to Crawford, who jumped at the opportunity.
“He’s labored on so many of our undercards, off the televised portion,” Arum said. “And now he has the opportunity to be seen by the vast public, which is the HBO audience, and to make a name for himself.”
Less than five years ago, the 29-year-old Prescott (26-4, 20 KOs) took a similar chance, going to England to face highly touted Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan. The Colombian, then 19-0 with 17 KOs, brutally knocked out the future world champion in 54 seconds in what famed U.K. announcer Ian Darke called “one of the biggest stunners in the history of British boxing.”
The victory gave Prescott both a nickname (The Khanqueror) and immediate credibility. He’s fought for a pair of minor titles since and had a memorable 2011 bout with Alvarado, which he led on all three scorecards before being stopped in the final round.
Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, Prescott’s promotional company, was thrilled to keep his fighter on the televised card as he continues to work toward a shot at a world title.
“We believe Breidis is one of the top 140-pounders in the world,” he said. “Everybody knows he knocked out Khan. Everybody knows he was beating Alvarado until he got knocked out in the last round. We think we’re a hair away from being the headliner on one of these shows.”
Prescott, through an interpreter, credited Crawford for stepping up to the fight on short notice. He then added that the unbeaten Omahan “put his foot in the wrong hole.”
Crawford co-manager Brian McIntyre said his boxer, a former top-ranked amateur who finished second at the 2006 National Golden Gloves in Omaha, is ready for the challenge.
“You guys are going to be amazed about what this kid can do, the confidence he has in himself and the ability he can display on the national level,” he said.
Locals to nationals
Second-ranked 114-pounder Abel Soriano and Uriel Valdovinos of Jackson Boxing Club will be competing in the USA Boxing National Championships in Spokane, Wash.
Soriano is fighting in the new amateur division for elite men, which features bouts with no headgear. Valdovinos is in the 123-pound weight class for youth men.
The USA National Championships are Monday through next Saturday.
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