Terence ''Bud'' Crawford stopped previously unbeaten Jose Benavidez with 18 seconds left in the 12th and final round to retain his WBO welterweight championship on Saturday night.
Crawford had knocked Benavidez to the canvas with a powerful uppercut with 46 seconds left, and then Crawford finished him off with consecutive right hands.
After referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the fight, Crawford stuck out his tongue at his fallen opponent, who had made this a personal grudge match with insults he's directed toward Crawford for months.
Next up for Crawford? He would like a unification bout with IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., something promoter Bob Arum has said he would like to make happen sometime in 2019. The only problem is that Spence is managed by Al Haymon and fights exclusively on Showtime and FOX, but Arum has said that would not be an insurmountable problem.
The 31-year-old Crawford (34-0, 25 knockouts), ranked first or second on the world's top pound-for-pound fighter lists, put on a workmanlike performance for the first half of the fight in front of a hometown crowd of 13,000 that included Crawford friend and billionaire Warren Buffett.
Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs) began tiring in the seventh after taking body shot after body shot from Crawford, who started out in an orthodox stance but worked most of the fight as a southpaw.
For much of the contest, Crawford was breaking Benavidez down with hard shots to the body.
“We knew that he wanted to get in my head and make it a firefight,” Crawford said. “I saw him in his corner taking deep breaths and knew he was done.”
Crawford kept coming in the 12th, and Benavidez could take no more of the steady punishment the three-division champion doled out in his first title defense at welterweight.
Said Crawford’s trainer/manager Brian McIntyre: “I told Benavidez he was going to get his ass kicked. And that’s what Bud did.”