Terence Crawford rejects the notion that David Avanesyan is some kind of tomato can.
Crawford will put his 147-pound WBO title on the line on Dec. 10 in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, against the England-based Russian. The fight will be distributed on pay-per-view through a hitherto unknown platform called BLK Prime.
The bout was greeted with a collective groan by the boxing world because it had hoped to see Crawford meet Errol Spence Jr. in the ring for the undisputed welterweight championship.
But in an extended monologue last week, Crawford offered his take on why negotiations tanked, essentially blaming Spence and his advisor Al Haymon.
Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs), in the meantime, has had to battle the perception that, by fighting Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs), he is taking on an opponent unworthy of his caliber. Despite being a three-division titlist, Crawford has been roundly criticized for his lackluster résumé at 147.
“A lot of people don’t know him, but the boxing diehards [do] know him,” Crawford said on The DAZN Boxing Show. “They just act like they don’t because they’re kind of disappointed in the way negotiations went with me and Errol Spence, so of course they’re gonna try and throw shade on the fight. Like, ‘Oh he’s fighting this guy (bum).’
"But this guy that I’m fighting is a real guy. He’s a real challenge. He’s dangerous because he’s got everything to win — I mean, those guys right there that have nothing to lose are the most difficult guys to fight, with a lot of passion, a lot of determination, and a lot of will to win to dethrone you”
The two share an opponent in common, Lithuanian contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Crawford stopped Kavaliauskas inside nine rounds in their bout in 2019, while Avanesyan lost to Kavaliauskas in 2018 via sixth-round technical knockout.
Crawford, 35, said he is tuning out any criticism regarding his choice of the 34-year-old Avanesyan, who is on a six-fight winning streak. In addition, Crawford claimed that “lots” of fighters had turned down an opportunity to fight the Russian.
“I’m not listening to all these guys, ‘Oh, he’s fighting a bum, a cab driver, this and that,’ Crawford said. “Because they don’t know boxing. There’s a reason why a lot of people turned this guy down to fight him and why he hadn’t gotten his shot.
"Me, personally, I’m gonna go in there and do what I’m supposed to do. I’m focused, I’ve been training tremendously hard like I would anybody else. I never take any opponent lightly.”