One of the sport’s very best fighters in the world is set to return to the ring.
A career-long inactive stretch precedes Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford’s lone fight of 2022, as the WBO welterweight titlist defends his crown versus veteran contender and former secondary titlist David Avanesyan. Both boxers made weight for their scheduled twelve-round welterweight contest, which headlines at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska (Saturday, BLK Prime Pay-Per-View/PPV.com, $39.99).
Crawford (38-0, 29KOs) sported his usual ripped physique, weighing 146.6 pounds for the sixth defense of his WBO welterweight title. Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17KOs) was 146.6 pounds in his first bid at a major title, having previously held a secondary version of the WBA welterweight belt.
The bout marks the first fight for Crawford since severing ties with Top Rank after more than ten years aligned with the Las Vegas-based promotional powerhouse. Saturday’s bout comes in lieu of an industry-wide desired undisputed championship clash with WBA/WBC/IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence (28-0, 22KOs). The fight was negotiated for months, only for Crawford to eventually bail from talks to instead join forces with BLK Prime.
Crawford fights for the first time since a tenth-round stoppage of former two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter last November 20 in Las Vegas. The 35-year-old switch hitter is a perfect 16-0 (13KOs) in title fights spanning lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight. Crawford has stopped his last nine opponents, including all six since moving up to the 147-pound division beginning with a June 2018 ninth-round stoppage of unbeaten Jeff Horn.
Avanesyan is currently riding a six-fight win streak—all inside the distance—since a sixth-round knockout loss to former Crawford challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. The 34-year-old Armenian-Russian based out of the United Kingdom began his run with a pair of stoppage wins over Kerman Lejarraga on the road in Spain. Most notable among his run is a sixth-round knockout of unbeaten Josh Kelly last February 20 at Wembley Arena in London.
The most notable win on Avanesyan’s resume is a May 2016 points victory over Shane Mosley to win the WBA ‘Regular’ welterweight title. He lost the secondary title in his first defense, dropping a twelve-round decision to Lamont Peterson in February 2017.
Below are the weights for the full PPV undercard, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Cris Cyborg (pro debut) Las Vegas via Curitiba, Brazil, 154 pounds vs. Gabrielle Holloway (0-2, 0KOs), Rhoadesville, Virginia, 154.6 pounds—4 rounds, junior middleweight
Arnold Khegai (18-1-1, 11KOs), Philadelphia via Lymanske, Ukraine, 126 pounds vs. Eduardo Baez (21-3-2, 7KOs), Mexicali, 125.8 pounds—10 rounds, featherweight
Jeremiah Milton (7-0, 6KOs), Las Vegas via Tulsa, Oklahoma, 250.8 pounds vs. Dajuan Calloway (5-1, 5KOs), Warrensville Heights, Ohio, 387.6 pounds—6 rounds, heavyweight
Steven Nelson (17-0, 14KOs), Omaha, 174.2 pounds vs. James Ballard (10-4, 3KOs), Detroit, 175.6 pounds—8 rounds, light heavyweight
Below are the weights for the preliminary undercard, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. local time.
Edel Gomez (6-0-1, KOs), Omaha, 175.8 pounds vs. Joseph Aguilar (4-1-1, 2KOs), Portland, Oregon, 175.6 pounds—6 rounds, light heavyweight
Boubacar Sylla (12-0, 7KOs), Cincinnati, 144.6 pounds vs. Javier Mayoral (4-2, 1KO), New Orleans, 144.6 pounds—6 rounds, welterweight
Alan Garcia (7-0, 6KOs), Ulysses, Kansas, 135 pounds vs. Eduardo Periera Dos Reis (24-10, 19KOs), Sao Paulo, 134.4 pounds—6 rounds, lightweight
Robert Rodriguez (10-1-2, 5KOs), Riverside, California, 121.6 pounds vs. Jose Lopez (3-2-1, 0KOs), Ridgewood, New York, 120.4 pounds—6 rounds, junior featherweight
Alton Wiggins (pro debut), Modesto, California, 155.4 pounds vs. Phillip Carmouche (2-3, 0KOs), Las Vegas, 155.4 pounds—4 rounds, junior middleweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox