By Keith Idec
OMAHA, Nebraska – Terence Crawford has heard all this before.
Just four months ago, in fact. Jeff Horn’s size and strength advantages were supposedly factors Crawford would need to combat during his first welterweight fight.
Crawford proceeded to nullify the taller, heavier Horn’s supposed strengths almost immediately and dominated the previously unbeaten Australian on his way to a ninth-round, technical-knockout victory June 9 in Las Vegas. At 6 feet even, Jose Benavidez Jr. is about three inches taller than Horn, four inches bigger than the 5-feet-8 Crawford.
The undefeated Crawford still isn’t the least bit concerned about Benavidez’s size as their 12-round, 147-pound championship match nears.
“He tries to walk his opponents down, which I don’t believe he’s gonna be able to do that to me,” Crawford said before they weighed in Friday at CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha. “I think he’s underestimating my size and my power. But come fight night, once he feel it he’s gonna know that he’s not gonna be able to just walk in, with his hands down.”
The unbeaten Benavidez is convinced Crawford won’t be able to handle his power and pressure. The Phoenix native has criticized Crawford for “running,” yet Crawford is confident Benavidez will quickly realize what Horn learned early in their scheduled 12-rounder at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Come fight night, we’re gonna see. You know?,” Crawford said. “Everybody made a big issue about Jeff Horn was one of the bigger welterweights in the division, and we seen how that played out. So I’m not worried about how he fares in size against me and what he thinks. Come fight night, we’re gonna see.”
The 31-year-old Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) and the 26-year-old Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs) will square off in the main event of a card ESPN will air from Crawford’s hometown. The telecast is set to start at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT and will include a 10-round battle between featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (8-0, 4 KOs), a 2016 Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, and Romania’s Viorel Simion (21-2, 9 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.