Terence “Bud” Crawford: The Hit Man 2.0
Ain't another like me in this solar system damn it/ my mindset is granite- I'm the best on this planet/ you come and try to take me for granted I'll take you off it/ bitch pick out cha coffin/ sure you should plan it/ you dead walkin'
Somewhere he lurks.
Ready to kidnap Jeff Horn and ‘whack a welterweight'. Unafraid of Errol Spence Jr with an avowed desire to put a hit on Keith Thurman, former undisputed super lightweight champion Terence ‘Bud' Crawford has but one New Year's resolution for 2018:
Annihilate the champions of 147.
Given the business of boxing and its factionalized bureaucratic tendency wrapped in red tape, this would be difficult to manifest outside of some miracle related to the World Boxing Super Series. That is, if he could do it at all.
Last week at Madison Square Garden (sight of Miguel Cotto's swan song w/ Sadam Ali and next week's Vasyl Lomachenko V Guillermo Rigondeaux megabout), Yuriokis Gamboa was resurrected at 130 against Jason Sosa. During this bout, thoughts of “One-Time” regarding Crawford resurfaced a second. Appearing at an Oct. 14 press conference at Barclays Center, the WBC/WBA welterweight king was flanked by IBF boss Errol Spence and open for questions.
I asked both alphas about the divisional arrival of Crawford, with a prevailing notion in many circles that “Bud” is the world's best fighter. In typical fashion, Spence merely shrugged his shoulders in Crawford can-get-it fashion. Thurman, however, took the opportunity to grab the mic and choke the notion of Crawford being the best welterweight– let alone the best pound-for-pound fighter.
“He needs to whack a welterweight first before he's even relevant in this division. Let's see him do that,” observed Thurman, before citing Bud's career best win came over a bloated 135 lb Gamboa. After listening to the long-winded Thurman, it could've been easy to dismiss Bud's June 2014 breakout performance via 9th round TKO.
That win featured an uneven Crawford with an aluminum defense, as a later dominant UD win over former Manny Pacquiao sparring partner Raymundo Beltran showed some spotty mechanics. More than anything, it just seemed he needed to get out of 135.
After heading north to 140 and blitzing Thomas Dulhorme, Crawford dissected and broke a stubborn Dierry Jean with a gritty 10th round stoppage in October 2015. Since Jean was a 29-1 hellraiser during Pacquiao's camp for Floyd Mayweather, boxing's elite took notice.
In February 2016 at MSG, I watched Crawford nail and halt “Hammering” Hank Lundy in the 5th round from balcony press seats. Impressive though he was, there still remained a raw and unrefined quality to Crawford's game that needed retooling. Enter the very dangerous Viktor Postol and July 2016.
Postol had taken on the look of a bionic, Russian styled Alexis Arguello, as the then 28-0 enforcer was widely rumored to have forced Danny “Swift” Garcia out of the division. In a masterful display of ring generalship and craft, Crawford slowly froze “The Iceman” over 12 ‘easy work' variety rounds.
This year, he embarrassed an Olympic gold medalist and solid pro Felix Diaz before unveiling a completely finished product against Julius Indongo. As we head into 2018, its difficult to locate a more superior fighter outside of Vasyl Lomachenko, which means Top Rank possesses the two best fighters in the world.
Overall Grade: 96
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At around 5'8, Crawford is not nearly as tall or as long as Thomas Hearns, but he fights like it, getting maximum leverage from both the orthodox and southpaw stances seamlessly. This is extremely difficult to do. He is not Pernell Whitaker defensively, but has become adept at taking a fighters best “anything” away, while incorporating some of Sweet Pea's subtlety. Irascible and determined to win pace, Crawford now controls the space and distance of virtually every minute of every round.
Jeff Horn is a big, tough, advancing Rugby-like WBO champion who will find himself brutally kangaroo'd and titleless when he faces Bud in March 2018. We know Keith Thurman mentioned Bud needs to whack someone. He'd most likely get Tony Soprano'd by Crawford. Only Errol Spence, probably made even better from mixing it up with a huge super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, would ask further questions of Crawford. Lomachenko is special, but if I'm asked to name the most complete fighter in the sport– the answer is Crawford.
Fans are wild. An ace of mine isn't really sold on Crawford at all, while Twitter and Facebook has me running into fans who actually believe old kings Pacquiao and Mayweather (both in China recently discussing God knows what) could still beat Crawford. I'm like, “Really? You guys still ain't over Manny and Floyd?”….maybe marijuana shouldn't be legal after all. Both would face editions of old legend from a very new perspective.
Mayweather knows better, and the only fight that would make sense for Floyd -ever again – is Pacquiao. But the Filipino icon just might be crazy enough to go Evil Knievel against Crawford.
During an L.A. visit to the Wild Card Gym, just before Pac-Man was bullied by a very Rugbyesque Jeff Horn, all Freddie Roach would say regarding a potential Pac/Bud ruckus was “…I don't like that fight.”
I don't like it either. In fact, I hate it, because as the biggest Pacquiao fan in America, I know what would happen to Manny in that fight. As for Mayweather, I would be overjoyed if he fought Crawford, because I'd finally get to see Floyd get KTFO. Just the thought of that is better than the most illicit sex with Rihanna I can imagine.