By Jake Donovan
The main appeal in Terence Crawford and his team accepting Dierry Jean as an opponent was, simply, that the Haitian-Canadian simply wanted the fight. The unbeaten two-division champ will fight at home for the third time in his past four ring appearances when he and Jean collide in an HBO-televised clash October 24 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
Crawford and promoter Top Rank acknowledge the fact that Jean wanted the fight, that they didn’t have to go looking for him when searching for a next opponent.
Jean and his team don’t recall negotiations going quite as smooth prior to being offered the opportunity to face the man recognized by many outlets as 2014 Fighter of the Year.
“We were after Terence Crawford for a while,” manager Camille Estephan told BoxingScene.com. “I called HBO every day asking for the opportunity. We felt it was the best opportunity to put together.
“Bryan McIntyre (Crawford’s trainer and co-manager) was the one who told us, “Take a number and go back in line.” They can say what they want, but they didn’t want the fight right away.”
Jean (29-1, 20KOs) willingly moved back up in weight upon learning Crawford agreed to take him for the first defense of his super lightweight title. Prior to receiving the opportunity, Jean decided to give lightweight a test drive following a failed bid versus then-140 lb. titlist Lamont Peterson last January.
Four straight wins came at lightweight, but nothing in the way of a big fight that justified his dropping down one division north. With the chance to unseat one of the best fighters in the world today, came the revelation that adding five pounds back to his frame was in fact the right move to make.
“I can make 135 or 140, but we saw the great opportunity to return (to super lightweight),” Jean told BoxingScene.com. “We have a chance to unseat the best fighter in the world at this weight.”
Regardless of when the fight was accepted, the 33-year old contender is ready for the opportunity of a lifetime. A win may not immediately put him at the top of the food chain, but will give him one hell of a running head start.
“Terence Crawford is the darling of HBO these days. We want his spot,” Estephan notes.
The bout will mark Jean’s debut on HBO and just his second career fight in the United States. His previous trip south of the Canadian border resulted in the lone loss of his career.
That was then… and all that good stuff.
“This is my year,” vows Jean, who has two wins in 2015, including a 10-round decision over Jerry Belmontes in June. “I’ve never felt so strong. I will shock the world on October 24.”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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