Terence Crawford on Gamboa, Ray Beltran and More
by David P. Greisman
It’s been about a month since Terence Crawford’s scintillating win over Yuriorkis Gamboa. Crawford was in New York City on July 26 to watch Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Geale, and he chatted briefly with BoxingScene.com.
BoxingScene.com: We’re a handful of weeks past your big win over Yuriorkis Gamboa. What have these past few weeks been like for you?
Crawford: “I’ve kinda been busy making an appearance here, making an appearance there.”
BoxingScene.com: What kind of an impression do you feel your win made on fans? How have they acted toward you since then?
Crawford: “Well a lot of them have told me that I was their new favorite fighter and they were very impressed with my performance that night.”
BoxingScene.com: Last year you did something that not a lot of prospects do: You took a fight on short notice and went up in weight to face Breidis Prescott, and it paid off because you impressed HBO. You also went overseas earlier this year to face a titleholder in Ricky Burns.
Crawford: “I feel like you take the risks, you get a big reward. As I was coming up, I wasn’t given a shot, really, so I had to go take it. I had to fight the fights that sometimes wasn’t, I should say, the best, but in my heart I felt I could beat anybody.”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think you weren’t getting the opportunities that other guys were?
Crawford: “I think it’s just where I was from. I feel like if I was in a bigger city and I would’ve won an Olympic gold medal or something like that, then it would’ve been different. But people didn’t know who I really was because of Omaha, Nebraska.”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think people didn’t respect a fighter from Omaha, Nebraska, or the Midwest??
Crawford: “Because who comes out of the Midwest? They look at it like ‘Whoever came out of Nebraska that was worth anything?’ When you go to tournaments, Omaha would always be the first team out the first day, besides me. They never cared to either think of Omaha having great fighters like myself.”
BoxingScene.com: You took criticism following your win over Andrey Klimov last year, some of it unwarranted because of the way Klimov fought. How did the criticism you took affect you, whether mentally or the way you fought from there on out?
Crawford: “It didn’t affect me at all. I wasn’t worried about it. I wasn’t worried about what somebody else has to say about me, because they’re not in there fighting. They’re not the ones that’s going to be in there taking punches. They’re not the ones that’s going to go to the hospital if something happens to me. So when they criticize me and say all the negative things, I just don’t even pay no attention to them.”
BoxingScene.com: Yet there also was a big difference in the way you fought Klimov, who was tentative against you, and the way you went to war with Gamboa. Did you alter your style?
Crawford: “No, I just feel like I showed my versatility. Like I always said, I could fight in many ways. It’s just somebody might bring that out of me.”
BoxingScene.com: What kind of problems was Gamboa presenting in the first few rounds? What was he doing that you had to then adjust to?
Crawford: “I don’t feel he posed no problems in the first couple of rounds. I felt like I was more trying to figure him out and set my distance than to go in there and just throw punches.”
BoxingScene.com: That’s fair. When you were figuring him out, what was he doing that you then adjusted and changed?
Crawford: “One thing I adjusted is stepping in a little more, using my jab a little more, a little more upper body movement because I was coming up a little short every time I was trying to counter. So I thought stepping in a little more, swiping more at the chest instead of going for the day.”
BoxingScene.com: You brought a big crowd to Omaha. The pinnacle for a lot of boxers is Madison Square Garden or Las Vegas. Is that also your preference, or would you prefer to keep having the shows in Omaha?
Crawford: “There ain’t no place like home, but I wouldn’t mind coming into Madison Square Garden to fight.”
BoxingScene.com: What’s next for you? How long do you want to stay at 135?
Crawford: “I’ll leave that up to my manager and my coach. Probably a few more fights and then I’ll go up to 140.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you walk around at?
Crawford: “It depends. About 155.”
BoxingScene.com: Who do you want to face at 135?
Crawford: “Whoever. I always told them, ‘Y’all pick ‘em, I’ll fight ‘em.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you think of Ray Beltran?
Crawford: “He’s a good fighter. I’ve seen him more than a few times. He’s very tough. He’s very hungry. He’s my mandatory. If we got to get it on, we’ll get it on.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]