Terrence Crawford’s dossier says he’s an undefeated, three-division crownholder who was once the unified, undisputed champion at 140, but his list of opponents are by no means heralded as a murderer’s row of foes.
The WBO welterweight champion Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), who fights Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) at the Madison Square Garden in New York, is unbothered that he’ll be fighting what many consider another soft touch Saturday on ESPN.
“There will always be critics. If they’re not criticizing you, then you are doing something wrong,” Crawford told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “Once a lot of people criticize you for being too good, as I say I am, that’s when you know you’re headed in the right direction. Nobody has done what I have done in the sport of boxing so far, conquering at 135, 140 and 147.”
Crawford’s said his resume speaks for itself, and that he doesn’t have to be brash or speak up about it for others to follow along and understand his position.
“I don’t need to act a certain way to get somebody’s attention,” said Crawford. “If you like who I am, if you like my personality and way of fighting, then you’ll support me. If not, so be it. I don’t want you to support something that is fake. I want you to support the real Terence Crawford, and not the one that is putting on a mask and acting like someone that he’s not.
“Whatever people think of me, or whatever they say, most of them really don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t like to elaborate. I like to let people think they know what they think they know, and that makes them look stupid at the end. I don’t really care what too many people think or say.”
Crawford still has six fights left on his deal with Top Rank.
When asked if he’d consider moving away from Bob Arum and company and instead sign with a rival like PBC to make super fights a better reality for him, he said, “I don’t know. I never thought of [signing with PBC] because I shouldn’t have to sign with somebody to fight one of their fighters. I don’t feel like that’s the right move, but you never know what the future may hold.”
Even the holiday season and unwrapping opponents masked as presents under the Christmas tree couldn’t get Crawford to call out the next name he wants to face in 2020.
“Whoever Santa Claus brings,” he said. “My career is still moving forward with or without them. I’m not going to wait around.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].