Staff Predictions: Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez, Jr.
LIVE on ESPN, TOMORROW at 10:30 p.m. ET
Undercard Streaming on ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET
Crawford-Benavidez and Stevenson-Simion will air live and exclusively Saturday on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET with undercards streaming live in the United States at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
This WBO Welterweight title fight didn’t have much fanfare up until the last 48 hours, until things caught aflame at Wednesday’s media workout for the Benavidez team. The tension caused by the harsh words from Wednesday carried over into Thursday’s press conference and into today’s weigh-in where a punch from Crawford almost connected. Now that we have a fight, let’s see how the Bite Down Boxing team has the card’s main event playing out Saturday night.
Lazy Lefty Boxing, Staff Writer
I’m picking Bud by KO. With so much animosity between the two Benavidez will come out trying to prove a point. Although Bud is usually a slow starter. and likes to pick his opponents apart, I think he’ll catch Benavidez early because of Benavidez aggressive approach. That’ll slow Benavidez down for a while and Crawford will begin to take over. My official prediction is Bud KO5
Prediction: Crawford by KO5
Eric Duran, Staff Writer
Not only did things get heated between Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez at Wednesday’s media workout, they got personal as well.
What does that mean for the actual fight?
Personally, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Crawford this amped up for a fight. He is usually calm, collected and all about business. However, this rivalry has been brewing for months and this isn’t the first heated altercation between both fighters.
Could we see Crawford lose focus and abandon his game plan, throwing caution to the wind and running into some things he doesn’t see? Maybe but highly doubtful. However, it could lead to an exciting showdown and exceed any expectations that you had of this fight.
Look, Benavidez understands the opportunity he has in front of him. He’s coming for blood and one of the biggest names in the sport. He’s coming for his respect and his lottery ticket, there’s no doubt in my mind that Benavidez is going to leave everything in the ring.
Unfortunately for Benavidez, that will not be enough. I think Crawford was looking to win in spectacular form before the latest confrontation. Now, I believe he tries to embarrass Benavidez and and punish him. It’s simple, Crawford is respected throughout the boxing world for a reason, he’s a special kind of talent. I am not taking nothing away from Benavidez but there are levels in this game and Crawford is head and shoulders, better than Benavidez.
Look for Crawford to stop Benavidez late in the fight.
Prediction: Crawford by KO
R.L. Woodson, Editor-In-Chief
Terence “Bud” Crawford seems to find himself a winning formula each time out, and he’s quickly adjusting to a variety of different challenges presented with each forthcoming opponent. Despite Crawford’s historical supremacy at Junior Welterweight, and his comprehensive beatdown of reigning WBO Welterweight champion Jeff Horn in his divisional debut, whispers remain concerning Crawford’s true greatness.
This bout versus Jose Benavidez, Jr. tomorrow night in Omaha probably doesn’t sway any detractors’ opinions about Crawford’s elite status or P4P ranking, but the outcome will be pleasing to the champion’s hometown following.
Crawford’s typical mean streak in the ring will show early. Benavidez’s antagonist role boiled over this week during his open media workout when Crawford and his trainer BoMac crashed the event. Crawford probably never looked at this fight as the rivalry Benavidez believed it to be, but now that it’s lit, Benavidez’s best win versus Mauricio Herrera four years ago doesn’t suggest he’ll be able to counter Crawford’s varied attack.
We just saw Crawford chop down taller opponents in Viktor Postol and former world champion Julius Indongo, so the height advantage and any of its perceived benefits will vanish quickly for the Arizona native. As soon as Crawford gauges Benavidez’s punching power, expect him to begin to break down the challenger with his ring IQ and quickness or by unleashing a balanced power-punching attack that shuts down Benavidez’s game plan.
Crawford isn’t a safety-first fighter, so Benavidez may land a few good shots in the early rounds, especially if he’s grown in confidence coming off of a KO1 win versus Frank Rojas. But, as Crawford begins to assess and nullify Benavidez’s strengths, the Cornhusker and proud family man will gradually start to make Benavidez pay for the harsh comments directed at the champion’s family.
Cornhuskers fans haven’t had much to cheer about in Lincoln, but they’ll get the season’s first victory in a blowout this Saturday in Omaha.
Prediction: Crawford by KO7
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank