By Ronnie Nathanielsz
WBO super lightweight champion Terence Crawford has downplayed the fact that his opponent Dierry Jean, whom he defends his title against in Omaha later tonight had sparred with eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao when Manny was preparing for his showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2 in Las Vegas.
Crawford dismissed Canadian challenger Dierry Jean’s sparring with Pacquiao saying “who cares if Jean sparred with Manny Pacquiao. That’s sparring.”
However, Crawford conceded that Dierry Jean “is a good fighter. I am not overlooking him. There is a lot at stake for both of us. One of the secrets to my success has been to never look past an opponent or train less than one hundred percent for a fight. Its all about focus and keeping the blinders on. If you don’t respect the talent of the man in the opposite corner, then you are asking for trouble.”
But the champion insisted “this will be my show. Jean will not dictate the fight to me.”
The 28 year old Crawford who is undefeated with a record of 26-0 with 18 knockouts and is being considered as one of five possible opponents to face Pacquiao in his planned return to the ring on April 9, won the vacant WBO title with an impressive 6th round TKO over Thomas Dulorme last April 18.
He earlier won the WBO lightweight title with a unanimous twelve round decision over Ricky Burns on March 1, 2014 and then successfully defended the title against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Ray Beltran and then stepped up in weight to win the super lightweight crown.
Crawford said that body-wise he feels “comfortable and much stronger at 140 than I did at 135.”
33 year old Haiti born Dierry Jean who has been fighting out of Canada most of his life has a record of 29-1 with 20 knockouts.
He won the vacant North American Boxing Federation lightweight title with an 8th round TKO over Mario Perez on June 13, 2014 and successfully defended the title with a 5th round knockout Carlos Manuel Reyes last March 14 before scoring a ten round unanimous decision in his last fight against Jerry Belmontes on June 22.