With Floyd Mayweather officially retired from the sport, a vacuum is created for the position as boxing’s next major superstar. One week after Roman Gonzalez and Gennady Golovkin thrilled boxing fans with their star turns at Madison Square Garden, two-division world champion Terence Crawford will make his own claim. The undefeated Crawford faces Dierry Jean Saturday night, in front of a hometown crowd in Omaha, Nebraska.
Terence Crawford is a highly intelligent fighter with great physical gifts and an outstanding amateur background. So far, he has been untouchable as a professional and he’s a good bet to be involved in some of the biggest fights of the next decade.
Last year he was the Boxing Writers Association of America’s choice for Fighter of the Year. He claimed the WBO lightweight title in March 2014 by defeating veteran champion Ricky Burns. In June, he turned in one of the year’s greatest performances by stopping previously unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa in Round 9. Gamboa was himself viewed by many as a pound-for-pound, top-10 talent. Crawford capped off 2014 by defeating the very tough Raymundo Beltran.
Last April, Crawford was again outstanding, knocking out the hard-punching Thomas Dulorme to seize the vacant WBO light welterweight belt. In Jean, he has an athletic and experienced opponent. But realistically, this is a fight Crawford should win by fairly wide margins.
Terence Crawford’s long-term future will clearly involve another move up, to welterweight. At 5’8” and with a 70” reach, he’s got the frame to successful at 147 pounds. In the next few years, Crawford vs. young welterweight stars like Kell Brook, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. should be superfight events.
As a potential heir to Floyd Mayweather’s status, Terence Crawford makes an interesting contrast in personality. I’ve interviewed him and been on media calls with him and he is a businesslike, straight shooter in his approach to the press. “I don’t feel the need to be showman,” he said in a call before his fight with Dulorme last April. “I’m a showman in the ring.”