Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan
Who Ya Got?
By Bill Tibbs
One of the most anticipated bouts of the year, Terence Crawford vs. former world champion Amir Khan, was recently confirmed for April 20 in New York City at Madison Square Garden. While the bout is still a ways off, the predictions, chatter and boxing banter will be coming fast and furious leading up to this fight.
There is going to be a lot of talk leading up to fight night. Both fighters know a win, at the most famous arena in the world, is a huge boost to their careers. However, a loss is an equally huge set back.
Crawford, one of boxing’s best fighters, has his eyes on some unification action in a super loaded
147-pound division, while Britain’s Khan is still very much relevant as a name and former champion. But, he does have some glaring losses and, while only 32, he does have some mileage on him.
Let’s take a look at the stats and see how things are looking for both fighters.
Feel free to chime in over the next couple of months with some of your predictions - love to hear them!
Amir Khan – Got dropped and stopped by then unknown Breidis Prescott in a home game in Manchester, England in 2008 in a huge upset. After several impressive defenses of his WBA super lightweight title he then racked up his 2nd loss in 2011 (in defense of his WBA and IBF world super lightweight titles) against Lamont Peterson in a split decision. Then 7 months later he got chin checked again, and failed, against Philadelphia tough guy Danny Garcia in a WBA/WBC world super lightweight fight. A counter left dropped Khan hard and the follow up assault ended the night shortly after.
Khan would string together 5 impressive wins over the next 3 years beating Carlos Molina, Julio Diaz, Louis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri. Then, in 2016, he was knocked out by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. However, he gained as much respect as he did criticism for taking on the naturally much bigger Mexican star; Khan was controlling much of the action until a huge counter right poleaxed him.
Terence Crawford – Vastly talented Crawford has yet to lose.
Trainers – The men behind the men
Khan, not shy about switching up the coaching ranks, turned pro under Oliver Harrison in 2005 and worked with him until 2008 when he switched to Jorge Rubio. After working with Rubio for 3 years he switched to famed American trainer Freddie Roach for 4 years. Then, from 2012-2018 he worked with Virgil Hunter
Khan was trained by Joe Goosen for his most recent fights, but decided to return to Hunter when the Crawford bout became official.
Terence Crawford – If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
Crawford has had one team for his entire professional run headed by longtime trainer (and manager) Brian “BoMac” McIntyre and trainer Esau Diegez.
Amir Khan – An excellent boxer with fast hands, if Khan can keep Crawford on the outside and work off his strong jab, he will prove difficult for the Omaha based star. While Khan doesn’t have one punch KO power, he does have a strong right cross and left hook and isn’t afraid to wade in the let them go. Khan also turned pro with the reputation as very slick boxer who had good feet and could move in the ring, and if he doesn’t get goaded into a slugfest, this is true. And, finally, Khan’s greatest strength is his heart. He is a pure fighter through and through who will take on any and all challenges out there. He wants to fight the best and he does every chance he gets.
Terence Crawford - Crawford up to this point in his career has shown to be a very versatile fighter in the ring. He has a very good ring sense, how to set up shots and he is not easy to hit with a combination. He is an offensive fighter but doesn’t sacrifice defense to land his business punches. Crawford has a very good chin but he also doesn’t get hit with a lot of punches. Despite not meeting a rumble he didn’t like, Crawford is a very smart fighter who might get clipped once but you’ll be hard pressed to land a 2nd or 3rd shot on him in the same combination and has shown a good chin in the rare occasions he does get hit clean. A fighter who can both box and bang, “Bud” can also fight from either the right or the southpaw stance. While Crawford possesses a very strong skill set, don’t kid yourself that he’ll be all flash and flurries in the ring.
If you wanna take it to the street, he’s got lotsa that in him and he’ll throw down with
anyone. Crawford, a very well-schooled fighter who breaks you down to the head and body, brings the whole package to the table and that is why his name is always in the mix when boxing’s elite are discussed. Crawford’s greatest strength might be his mental game. He is not intimidated by anyone, believes he can beat anyone and goes into the ring confident against any fighter. He is patient and calculating, and that is a vicious combination.
Amir Khan – The one achilles heel through Khan’s career that has plagued him has been his chin. If he gets hit clean on the button he can go.
Terence Crawford – “Bud” doesn’t appear to have any glaring weaknesses. He isn’t the fastest fighter out there and doesn’t really have one-punch power. But, in reality, I am searching here because while no fighter is perfect, Bud is very good overall. Other than perhaps having trouble with a real, quick slick-ster, he looks very good in most areas of his game. It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses in a fighter who has found a way to win every time out.
More at stake for?
Khan: A loss for Khan? He already has 4 and he always has the all-Brit Kell Brook fight he can turn to. But, there will be no selling this fight to Khan as having a soft landing should be lose; he wants to win and he wants to win badly.
Crawford: Lots more on the line for undefeated Crawford as a loss takes him out of the 147-pound unification sweepstakes with some other big welterweight names.
Resume review - Opponents of note
Khan: Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander, Saul Alvarez. Crawford: Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ray Beltran
Khan: Andriy Kotelnik to win the WBA world super lightweight title. Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrerea, and Zab Judah. Very impressive with 5 defences of WBA and IBF world super lightweight titles.
Crawford: Ricky Burns in a title winning effort to capture WBO world lightweight title. And, the 11
following title defences in guarding his super lightweight and welterweight titles.
Lots of impressive names on both fighters’ resumes.
While there is very little criticism of Crawford here, and perhaps it may appear as more so of Khan, the truth is I think this is a very good fight.
The reality is Crawford has passed every test put in front of him so there isn’t a lot of room for critique - constructive or otherwise.
While there may appear to more holes being poked in the career of British star Khan, the reality is he has faced some very tough competition. Yes, he does have a few difficult losses but he also has some very impressive wins.
Careers shouldn’t be judged solely on wins and losses so much as the body of work. Crawford is an unbeaten champion and Kahn is a former champion with a long list of impressive foes; in that sense both fighters are even.
Khan is a very skilled boxer and may equal Crawford in hand speed. However, Crawford’s timing is outstanding and as a result, his counter shots, and his ability to read a fight (and fighter) as it unfolds, make him hard to catch cleanly. So, often this nullifies any speed advantage from his opponents.
While Khan can certainly match Crawford in power, I think it will come down to who can land the
damaging shots. I think they are even in power but timing to land the power shots will be the key aspect of the effectiveness of the power.
Khan is well disciplined in the ring and will look to keep Crawford on the outside of a long, strong jab. Crawford will look to get his timing down and get inside to land hard body shots to bring Khan’s hands down so he can land shots upstairs.
I see the fight going the distance and I think both fighters will have moments of success. In the end, Crawford is disciplined, harder to hit and a very effective counter puncher. And, he seems to be able to figure out any style put in front of him. Things might change as the fight gets closer but right now I like Omaha’s one-man franchise by a unanimous decision in an entertaining fight.
Crawford UD 12