Terence Crawford vs Jose Benavidez Prediction
Terence Crawford defends his WBO welterweight title tonight against Jose Benevidez Jr. This was a fight that pretty much came out of nowhere and then kind of flew under the radar before sneaking up on us.
Benevidez makes a great story. The young fighter was seen as a prodigy growing up, winning plenty of youth titles and by the time he was 17yrs old, he was a professional. He was also getting plenty of enviable experience for a young fighter by sparring some of the biggest names in world boxing including world champions such as Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley.
The apple cart though was upset by a shooting which could have killed the young Benevidez – many thought he would never fight again but against all the odds he made his return to the ring some 18 months after being shot.
The fight with Crawford is just his 3rd bout since returning – the question is has he stepped up in class too soon to fight someone many regard as the world’s best pound for pound fighter?
Amongst all the accolades at the amateur level, between all the sparring against world champions, there is a resume which doesn’t hold any big names, only the most hardcore of boxing fans will recognise some of the names who have fallen foe to Benevidez. Yes Benevidez is currently still an undefeated fighter with 27 career wins, but in Crawford he is taking a step up in class against an elite fighter the likes he has never come close to fighting in the ring before – this is not sparring Manny Pacquiao or Shane Mosley with a headguard and 16oz gloves, this is no head guards and 8oz gloves. Benevidez did comment “I don’t see anything special in Terence Crawford. I don’t see why everyone’s scared to fight him,” he said. “I’ve been sparring Manny Pacquiao since I was 16 years old, [I sparred] Timothy Bradley, I sparred Amir Khan, Shane Mosley, Shawn Porter. To me, Terence is really not that special. He’s beatable, and I’m going to show him.
“Everyone always doubts me. It’s nothing new. It just gives me more motivation to show them what I’m capable of. This fight, I’m glad I’m the underdog because everyone thinks I’m gonna lose. I’m not gonna lose. I didn’t come to Omaha to leave empty-handed. I’m gonna leave with that belt.”
It’s hardly surprising Benevidez has that level of confidence when he is unbeaten and has sparred with so many great fighters, you understand a fighter has to have that mindset where he is the best and can defeat anyone standing infront of him, he has also come back from being shot and being told it would take him years to walk again and that he would never fight again, he is already a champion and a warrior by all accounts to come out on top against that but it could be debated that he wasn’t yet deserving of a title shot against the world’s number one pound for pound fighter. Crawford certainly shares that sentiment when asked the question….”No. Not at all,” he said. “But that ain’t the point. The point is we’re here now, and we’re fighting on Saturday. Come Saturday, all the talking will be out the window.
“He just wants to promote the fight. He just wanted the fight. Now he got the fight. He’s gonna eat his words.”
Crawfords comments should come as no surprise, there really wasn’t any interest in the fight earlier in the year and it would not have been one that was in anyone’s minds either, but Benevidez has gone out of his way to chase Crawford the whole time trying to instigate a fight, getting under Crawfords skin just enough to let Crawford give himself the opportunity to shut Benevidez up himself and shutting people up is something Crawford is well known for.
Now the fight is here, Benevidez will have to back up everything he said and all the insults he hurled at Crawford. In a pro career devoid of any defining moments, this is his chance to put the whole world on notice. Benevidez was always seen as one of the top young prospects in the world, he might be thinking that where Terence Crawford is now, that is where his career should have been by now if it wasn’t for the shooting.
Terence Crawford is a boxer who when you hear the term ‘slick’, you immediately think of him. Crawford can do it all and just always bring his A game on fight night. He is one of those fighters you can imagine doesn’t always look impressive in the gym or in sparring, but when he crosses those ropes and when those bright lights come on, Crawford switches on and just has that ‘It’ factor and no one can look as impressive as him. Crawford also has a very sharp ring IQ as well as being able to fight out of both stances and can switch levels about as good as anyone else in the game – something Benevidez Jr himself is also very adapt to doing.
The best chance of victory for Benevidez would be to try and make this a scrap – it’s possible he can win the fight if he somehow manages to force Crawford to fight outside of his usual style, but that is far easier said than done. Crawford is a calm and calculated fighter who picks his shot precisely and very accurately. Benevidez also has the advantage in size being the taller fighter with longer reach but Crawford’s best performance was arguably against the taller Julius Indongo so I do not expect the size difference to have any impact on the result.
Something tells me Crawford will take this fight late but something also tells me Benevidez won’t let himself be stopped in a fight, he will fight to the end but I am expecting a comfortable win for Crawford. This is just a step too far too soon for Jose Benevidez Jr, whom I expect to one day lift some version of the welterweight title.