CHI Health Center, Omaha - Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) knocked out previously undefeated Jose Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs) in the final minute of the twelfth and final round. (photos by Mikey Williams).
Crawford captured the WBO title back in June, with a ninth round stoppage of undefeated Jeff Horn at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Benavidez, who had an unexpected layoff due to a gunshot wound to the leg, saw action twice this year with both bouts ending with knockouts.
Benavidez came out stalking in the first round, as Crawford was using the jab. Both boxers were getting their jabs and some follow up shots. The jab of Benavidez was dictating things in the second. Crawford came inside with several shots to the body. They traded hard shots in the final twenty seconds.
Both fighters were getting off at the start of the third. Crawford was being more active and landing good shots to the body. Benavidez landed a few solid counters to the head of Crawford in the fourth and was finding his rhythm. At the start of the fifth, Benavidez was doing very good work and getting off with accurate punches.
Crawford was doing the better work in the sixth, getting off with hard combinations. Benavidez was also finding hard shots when they were trading. Crawford's jab was starting to create issues for Benavidez in the seventh and was pushing him back. Benavidez was coming forward and stalking, but Crawford was unloading to the body and head.
At the start of the eight, Crawford was letting his hands go and unloading with big combinations. The ninth had Crawford using his skills and movement to outbox Benavidez.
Crawford was going for the kill at the start of the tenth, with Benavidez trying to get him to engage in a fire fight. Crawford was being too elusive and using his legs to get away from Benavidez's counters. They were trading shots near the end, but Crawford's punches were more effective.
In the eleventh, Crawford was still controlling the action with the more accurate punches. Benavidez was game and trying his best, but being outworked and outlanded. Benavidez was stalking forward at the start of the twelfth, looking to go for broke with a homerun shot. Crawford was getting away from him, and letting his hands go when Benavidez would get too close.
As they came together in the close moments, Crawford unloaded with a huge uppercut to send Benavidez down hard. Benavidez got up, was very hurt, and Crawford began to unload as the referee jumped in to wave off the fight.