Bud is back.
Terence Crawford returns to the ring following a year-long layoff to defend his WBO welterweight title against David Avanesyan in a BLK Prime Pay-Per-View main event Saturday night before a hometown crowd at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. This is a fight that no one wanted, but given his recent string of inactivity, Crawford could use the rounds before heading into 2023 with some momentum.
Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs) is on what some call a “hot streak” with six consecutive knockout wins over non-contenders. It's a nice way of saying the opponents are unlikely to win a world title or even come close. Kerman Lejarraga was the first victim of this streak, succumbing to Avanesyan via ninth-round TKO in March 2019. Six months later, the 34-year-old Russian decided to face Lejarraga again because why not? In the rematch, Avanesyan wiped him out in the first round. He has since followed up with knockout wins over Jose Del Rio, Josh Kelly, Liam Taylor, and Oskari Metz.
For context, Del Rio has since bounced back with two victories over opponents with a combined record of 10-133-8. Amazing stuff. Kelly is an overhyped prospect with an accent; Taylor has spent 68 percent of his professional career fighting people with losing records, and Metz got eviscerated by Avanesyan in the first round after fighting opposition with losing records in eight of his first 16 pro bouts.
Now we got that out of the way, let's talk about the winner of Saturday's bout. Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs), a southpaw, has not fought since November 20, 2021, when he scored the most significant victory of his career, a 10th-round TKO of former 147-pound titleholder Shawn Porter, becoming the first man to stop him in the process. Since then, Crawford has sat on the sidelines following his departure from Top Rank and attempted to land an undisputed fight with three-belt titleholder Errol Spence Jr. Ultimately, that failed to materialize, and fans are left to watch Crawford in a stay-busy fight.
🚨𝐈𝐓’𝐒 𝐅𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓 𝐖𝐄𝐄𝐊 – #CrawfordAvanesyan🚨
— BLK PRIME BOXING – A NEW ERA OF BOXING HAS BEGUN (@BLKPRIMEBOXING) December 5, 2022
This fight has the potential to be competitive in the early rounds. Crawford will have some ring rust to knock off, and Avanesyan should test him right out of the gate. Will it work? No. Avanesyan is too predictable and doesn't have the skills to test Crawford. His best chance is to get aggressive and get to Crawford early, but that could also spell trouble. Crawford is typically a slow starter, but he can turn it up whenever he pleases, as he exemplified against Amir Khan. Once Crawford makes his initial adjustments, this fight will be over.
This is an example of a great all-around fighter against an average pressure fighter. Imagine if Crawford wasn't a three-division world champion and the former undisputed junior welterweight king. That win over Porter is better than Avanesyan's entire résumé. His claim to fame is that he beat Shane Mosley in the Hall of Famer's final fight back in 2016.
Significant win? No. A name? Yes. Mosley should have retired years before that fight took place. I expect Crawford, who will make a career-high $7 million for the sixth defense of his 147-pound title, to carry Avanesyan to get some rounds under his belt before turning out the lights in the sixth round. Hopefully, we get the Spence fight after, but I'm not keeping my hopes up.
As for the PPV buys, we have written extensively about it, and virtually nothing has changed, with the exception of a few commercials/promos that resemble low-budget porn.
TERENCE CRAWFORD VS. DAVID AVANESYAN PREDICTION
Terence Crawford TKO 6 over David Avanesyan.