The weigh in promised fireworks, but instead, two smart and sane boxers collided in the main event Saturday night at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
The joint held 13,323 and most all were thinking Terence Crawford would get his pound of flesh from Jose Benavidez. But Benavidez proved to be smart and the owner of a sneaky quick right hand. Bud respected that weapon and therefore didn’t choose to open up as much as we’ve seen from him. Until late in the 12th…a right hand, a hookercut, sent Benavidez to the mat.
He got up, but was buzzed.
Some flurrying from Bud, about eight shots, and the ref hopped in to stop it.
The end: 2:42 of the last round.
That was on point for the home towner, sending the patrons home happy…
Good thing, because this was tactical scrap without much ebb and flow.
Bud went 186-579 to 92-501, according to CompuBox, so his accuracy wasn’t top grade for him.
Crawford said after that he knew Jose was trying to get in his head this week and look to tempt him into a firefight. He said once he figured out his distance he was good.
Nope, no named call outs; Bud said he wants “them all” but will leave it to Top Rank and Bob Arum to book bouts.
After, Benavidez said Crawford is “the best of the best” but he hurt his right leg in round nine. He thinks that Bud didn’t believe he could perform so well.
The WBO 147 champ Crawford, age 31, entered with a 33-0 mark; the buzz for this fight went from tepid last week, to so-so when him and Jose jawed at their media day, to hot, when Bud swung on Jose at the weigh in after being shoved. Top Rank promoted the event, portions of which ran on ESPN.
Crawford has been faced with a difficult situation, in that he’s well paid and well treated by Top Rank, but Al Haymon works with most of the top talent at welter. So, Bob Arum has had to work hard to find opposition that is reasonably stiff for the ultra talented swinger from Omaha. Fans hoped coming in that Benavidez on Saturday would revert back to the form that made him a super prospect at age 17. He’d been humbled since, lived a bit hard, been shot in hazy circumstances, and has had to claw back to this space, to his credit.
Fans have become that much more interested in Bud because journalist Mark Kriegel has worked hard to delve into his psyche, and upbringing. We heard Bud’s mom admitting she wasn’t keen on saying “I love you” and admitting that at age 13, Terence told her he’d not be taking any more belt whuppings. Yes, ESPN and Top Rank are doing a good job making us care about the fighter, and caring about more than just the fight.
In the first, the ex champ at 135, and 140, and current titlist at 147 Crawford wa spatient. His jab was working as Benny stalked him. Benny stood his ground, worked his own jab and didn’t look scared in the leats.
In the second, the 27-1 Benavidez, age 26 looked to stick that lead hand out, and bother Bud. Lefty Bud popped a jab, kept measuring. Rights to the body worked some for the underdog. They exhcanged but both slipped well to end the round.
In the third, Bud started to up the volume. He edged closer, his choice…His body work was stinging. He was now dialed in, had done his homework, saw what he needed to see up close.
In the fourth, we saw Bud eat a right, as he backed up. A sneaky quick right landed again on Bud. Then Benny went lefty, for a short spell.
In the fifth, a five punch combo from Benny looked sharp. Then Bud got busy; he was moving more, circling more. But he wasn’t pulling away, Benny was standing his ground and not giving off a fear vibe. To 6; Benny was right in Bud’s face. He wasn’t put off by power or volume. Benny’s right hand was as quick as anything Bud had seen as a pro.
In round seven, we saw Bud finding the right lane to punch in. A right hand on the way out punctuated the round for Bud and he grinned as he walk to his corner. In the eighth, Bud was really in a mode, he was now ready to rock. Bud was now the fresher man.
In the ninth, we saw Bud look so energized. Jose wasn’t firing much at all. Was he looking to thrive or survive? To 10; a lead left clanged on Benny. He then stood back to the ropes and invited Bud to fire but Bud didn’t, he backed off. They traded late and Benny had luck with quick counters. To 11; Bud was busier. A four punch combos had the crowd jazzed. More movement from Bud worked because the right knee of Benny wasn’t all the way back, after being shot a couple years ago. To round 12; after trainer Brian McIntyre told him to be smart, Bud was. He didn’t take risks until he did. Bud closed that show, props to him.