By Jake Donovan
OMAHA, Neb. --Terence Crawford couldn't have enjoyed a better return home, especially considering what was at stake long before the opening bell.
With a potential superfight with Manny Pacquiao suggested throughout fight week, Crawford aced his unofficial audition. The unbeaten super lightweight champion dominated Dierry Jean virtually every second of their HBO-televised headliner before scoring a 10th round knockout in front of a partisan crowd at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Crawford has now amassed more than 33,000 fans in his three sold-out homecomings. At no point among those rounds has the 28-year old disappointed his adoring public, this win coming at the expense of his determined but outgunned challenger from Montreal by way of Haiti.
Jean entered this promotion having won four straight fights since a title fight loss to Lamont Peterson last January. The insistence from the 33-year old challenger heading into this bout was that his career - and life - was in a better place, that he didn't travel 1,300 air miles just to play the role of opponent.
It never mattered to Crawford, who was determined to put on a show, regardless of what fights loomed overhead.
A boxing display came in the opening round, but was a matter of time before Crawford felt the juices of fighting in familiar surroundings. Jean grew comfortable enough to allow himself to get caught with a jab and straight left hand for the bout's first knockdown.
It was a clinic from there, as the defending super lightweight titlist never allowed his challenger a second to believe he had a chance of taking the lead. The rounds continued to pile up, with Jean unable to offer more than bravery to a fault.
A dominant round four had Jean befuddled to the point of waking to the wrong corner after the bell. Crawford was ever the gracious host, pointing his opponent in the right direction.
There was nothing gracious about the follow-up, going right back on the attack in round five and never slowing down.
The sold-out crowd of 11,020 was led to believe a knockout ending came prior to the end of round eight. Crawford issued a beating, but referee Tony Weeks moved in only because he mistook the 10-second warning for the bell to end the round.
It hardly discouraged Crawford, who dished out more punishment in round nine, capped by the second knockdown of the night. A right hook and left hand to the temple had Jean on the deck, his insistence that he was hit behind the head disregarded by Weeks who issued an eight count.
Jean was out on his feet in the early part of round 10, prompting trainer Marc Ramsay to climb up to the ring apron before reconsidering and allowing his fighter to continue.
He'd have been better off acting on his initial instinct. Crawford drilled Jean along the ropes, scoring the third knockdown of the night. There was no longer a need to let the onslaught continue, with Weeks jumping in to rescue the battered challenger.
The official time was 2:30 of round 10.
Crawford improves to 27-0 (19KOs) with the win; Jean falls to 29-2 (20KOs).
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox