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Mancuso: Crawford Is The Choice

Credit" Mickey Williams/Top Rank

Madison Square Garden in the next month will be the Mecca of boxing. It begins Saturday night with Top Rank and ESPN Pay-Per-View highlighting welterweight title holder Terence Crawford defending against former two-time champion Amir Khan. In June, Saturday  June 1 and 8, heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has his United States debut and former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin main event the main arena.

That’s two of the main boxing promotions showcased at the Garden, Top Rank with Crawford and Matchroom Boxing with the DAZN streaming network highlighting Joshua and the fighter known as “Triple G” who recently signed with the promotion.

So the boxing fan in New York and around the globe, has a choice. Certainly the sport is not dead as the skeptics continue to say. Add another lucrative PBC deal with Fox and Showtime, headed to Barclays Center in mid May, that highlights Deontay Wilder the WBC heavyweight champion, and there is that choice on your menu.

New York has become the Mecca for boxing because this is where the promoters are obtaining top value with venues. This is also the media center and promoters are aware of that continued history to spread the word.

Boxing is not dead. And it all begins Saturday night with Terence Crawford. Fans with the knowledge, not from  a novice point of view, consider Crawford the top pound-for- pound fighter who holds the WBO welterweight title.

Errol Spence Jr, has a good argument as to being the best. Spence, under PBC control, will be observing Saturday night. He is also in that discussion as top pound-for-pound and that debate will eventually conclude if and when Crawford and Spence meet to unify the titles. That fight, one that fans demand, will be difficult to make with two different promoters and the streaming networks on opposing sides.

But, hey, this is boxing, And in the end they always seem to get it done. Remember 2015, Manny Pacquiao and at the time, Floyd Mayweather Jr. got in the ring and settled who was the best. Mayweather dominated and retained his claim as the top fighter in the world, as Top Rank with Pacquiao and Mayweather with the PBC also grossed a record pay-per-view number and at the gate in Las Vegas.

Back to 31-year old Terence Crawford.  Undefeated at 34-0, 25 KO’s, he made a name walking in a boxing gym in Omaha Nebraska,  He moved up to this elite division at 147, and that can’t be disputed with Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, WBC champion Shawn Porter and a ton of others. Danny Garcia looks to reclaim a championship with a significant fight also on Saturday night on Fox.

However, Terence Crawford is the prize. He generates revenue and handles his business with limited controversy. Most of all. Crawford does his talking in the ring as a technician with speed, adjusting when needed, and he has some power.

Khan will be a formidable opponent, though a major underdog and not many giving this veteran and former champion much of a chance. Bob Arum, promoter of Crawford, provides this analogy of his champion:

“I don’t have to talk about what the public is going to see from Terence Crawford. Anyone who knows anything in boxing knows a Terence Crawford comes along very seldom in a generation. I look at him {and the closest thing I can recall to him} is Sugar Ray Leonard. Terence reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard. I’m not going to get into who would win if they fought each other because that ain’t gonna happen. Terence is really something special.

Credit: Mickey Williams/ Top Rank

To which Crawford says, “ I don’t believe no fight that I fight is just another fight for me. I believe that all fights that I fight from here on out are for my legacy. That’s why I want the biggest fights out there. Amir Khan’s name came up because he was the next best welterweight in the division. I could’ve easily took {Luis} Collazo. He could’ve took another fight with Kell Brook”

Crawford said, “I could’ve took Collazo, but that wasn’t the job that I really wanted to take. Amir Khan is a great fighter. I can’t take nothing away from. He’s done a lot in the sport of boxing. He has a big name. He’s undefeated at the welterweight division. So why not take another step up?”

Khan (33-4-0, 20 KO’s)  at 32 years of age will make this a fight. He always does. But Terence Crawford is considered to be the toughest fight of his championship career. Of course, an upset would change the scope and complexion of this entire division and Khan knows where Crawford stands.

“This ranks at the top for me because fighting a world champion,” Khan said. “Terence is very high in the pound-for-pound rankings, maybe number one or number two. So, it’s just amazing for me to be in this position once again. That itself is a great motivation for me, to know that I’m fighting the best out there once again.”

So boxing fans have a choice and it begins Saturday night.  Crawford may not get this done early but should come out of the ring with his title. And the question will be asked who he wants next? That will ultimately be answered by the promoters.

It’s worth the pay-per-view buy. Because watching Terence Crawford is a part of boxing history and seeing a master at his craft.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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