By Jake Donovan
Terence Crawford's upcoming 12-round showdown with Dierry Jean will play to another capacity crowd at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
"Tickets are virtually sold out," confirmed Hall-of-Fame promoter Bob Arum of the event, with the aforementioned super lightweight title fight airing live Saturday evening on HBO. "Because it's a big arena (upwards of 11,000 for a boxing event), we can accommodate everbody in the upper seats. The top ticket prices are gone."
It may seem like a given due to Crawford's popularity in his hometown, but this one comes with a level of apprecation considering the Nebraska Cornhuskers host Northwester in a nationally televised college football game just an hour away in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"We're lucky the Nebraska team is playing early in the afternoon so everyone can watch that game and then come over to the fights," noted Arum to BoxingScene.com after Thursday's final press conference.
"Omaha is very supportive of Terence. When you build a fighter and create a market demand in his hometown, the local fans respond.."
The event marks Crawford's third hometown appearance in his past four fights. His lone road appearance over that stretch came earlier this year, scoring a one-sided 6th round knockout of Thomas Dulorme to win a vacant super lightweight title.
The win came on the heels of a breakout 2014 ring campaign. Crawford began the year overseas, marching into Glasgow, Scotland to wrest away a lightweight title from local hero Ricky Burns.
His subsequent performances both played to sold-out crowds at CenturyLink Center, beginning with a thrilling 9th round knockout of Yuriorkis Gamboa in June. The win was followed by a 12-round decision over Raymundo Beltran last November, which earned Crawford recognition as the World lineal lightweight champion.
It was also his last fight at 135 lbs., though long enough to run the tables and claim Fighter of the Year honors in many circles. Just one fight has come in 2015 prior to this weekend - the aforementioned knockout over Dulorme - but ending the year with a home game is enough to ease the pain of a less active campaign than he and his team would have desired.
The fact that the local public has once again responded in droves helps provide motivation that the good continues to outweigh the bad.
"It means a lot," Crawford told BoxingScene.com of drawing the admiration of his boxing public, even on an active sports day in a college football-crazed region. "It means that my city supports me and that they are here for me."
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox