Terence “Bud” Crawford said he’s eager to make unbeaten challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. eat his words when they meet in the ring at CHI Health Center on Oct. 13.
A heated confrontation between Benavidez and Crawford in February was the starting point of their rivalry. Crawford got riled when Benavidez approached him at a boxing event in Corpus Christi, Texas, and accused Crawford of ducking him out of fear.
“That comes with the territory when you have people who want your spot,” Crawford told reporters. “They want any opportunity to prove their worthiness, to make a name for themselves. That’s how I took it. He’s trying to piggyback off my name to make himself bigger.”
Crawford (33-0, 24 knockouts), a three-division world champion, makes the first defense of the WBO welterweight title. He won the belt by stopping Jeff Horn in the ninth round in Las Vegas in June.
Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA interim super lightweight champion, was shot in an August 2016 incident in his hometown of Phoenix. Benavidez returned in February to stop Matthew Strode in the eighth round in Corpus Christi. The exchange with Crawford came the day before at the weigh-in.
Benavidez knocked out Frank Rojas in the first round in his previous fight, which was on the Crawford-Horn undercard.
“When Terence Crawford gets in the ring, it’s like Alabama in football. He’s that dominant,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. “He’s going to have his hands full with a guy who will not back down.”
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum expects a high impact fight.
"There are some matches that you particularly look forward to. This welterweight championship.... Jose Benavidez, who we started with when he was about 16 or 17 years of age... now, he has grown into a man. Terence Crawford, all of his fights or most of his fights we promoted, certainly in the last four or five years all of his fights. To see these two great warriors, Jose challenging and Terence 'Bud' Crawford defending, it's, for me, a real honor and a privilege. It's wonderful to be here," Arum said.