David Avanesyan was never the priority for Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford but was always on the list of welterweights he’d have to potentially face one day.
That day arrived the moment the unbeaten three-division and reigning WBO welterweight titlist was in need of an opponent for the sake of getting in at least one fight this calendar year.
“He hasn’t been an opponent I targeted, but he’s been on my radar since I’m aware of everyone in my division,” Crawford told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve taken notice of him for quite some time now.
“This is not something that’s new to me, his fighting style. But I’ve kept my eye on him for a while, preparing for the day if I had to fight him.”
December 10 is now that day for Crawford (38-0, 29KOs), who will end a career-long 55-week layoff with his title defense versus the streaking Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17KOs). The two meet this Saturday at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska (BLK Prime Pay-Per-View/PPV.com, 9:00 p.m. ET, $39.99).
The bout comes in lieu of an industry-wide preferred undisputed championship showdown with unbeaten and unified WBA/WBC/IBF titlist Errol Spence, Jr. (28-0, 22KOs). Talks dragged out for months, long enough to leave Crawford without a fight since a tenth-round knockout of former two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter last November 20 in Las Vegas. Once it was realized that a Spence fight wasn’t going to happen in 2022, Crawford—among other reasons—moved onto the next one.
Avanesyan enters the ring armed with a six-fight win streak—all inside the distance—since a sixth-round knockout loss to former Crawford challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. The 34-year-old Armenian-Russian based out of the United Kingdom has bumped off previously beaten Kerman Lejarraga and Josh Kelly along the way, rebuilding from former secondary WBA titlist and opponent status to returning contender as he guns for his first major title.
“We know what he brings to the table,” noted Crawford, who is 16-0 (13KOs) in major title fights as he attempts his sixth defense of the WBO 147-pound strap. “I don’t look too much at how he’s fought the guys he beat because I don’t fight anything like that. But I do know he’s going to bring his A-game and I just got to elevate it to another level to make sure he don’t get that [seventh] straight win.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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