Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz moved to MSG in NY on May 20
By Chris Williams: WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford’s next fight against Felix Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs) will be taking place now at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Crawford-Diaz fight was originally planned to be staged at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, but Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank were approached by officials from Madison Square Garden recently to offer them to stage the fight in their venue.
Top Rank made the venue switch, and they believe it should work out well for them. Diaz has a lot of his boxing fans in the New York area, and he can help bring in fans. With Crawford, it’s a different story because he’s from Omaha, Nebraska, and it’s not likely that he’s going to have fans from New York. However, 2016 Olympian Shakur Stevenson is on the undercard, and it’s possible that his fans will come see him. Stevenson is from nearby New Jersey.
“But for Crawford there was no magic to fighting in Newark,” said Top Rank preside Todd duBoef to ESPN.com. “We want Shakur to fight in Newark and we expect to have him fight there, but it will be bigger when he’s a more developed fighter. I think going to Madison Square Garden is a great platform for Crawford as well as for Shakur.”
If Crawford fought in New Jersey, it would have looked kind of strange, given that it’s Shakur Stevenson’s hometown. Since Crawford is fighting in the main event and is considered the star on the card, having the fight in Stevenson’s hometown would have been strange. Top Rank might have well as put Stevenson in the main event rather than Crawford. But with the fight now taking place in New York, it doesn’t look quite as strange.
Stevenson will still be the one bringing in most of the boxing fans from the area rather than Crawford. Omaha is over 1200 miles away from New York. Newark is around 14 miles away from New York. The venue still seems to be setup as a vehicle for Stevenson rather than Crawford. I’m not sure why Crawford would ever agree to that. I wouldn’t be comfortable with it if I was Crawford. We don’t even know if Stevenson will ever become a world champion or not. The last time I saw him fight, he was getting soundly beaten in the Olympics. He looked OK in getting beaten, but the fact is, he lost in the Olympics, and now he’s fighting in a venue that is next door to his hometown.
Diaz will be a good opponent for Crawford. He at least will try and fight. Crawford’s last opponent John Molina Jr. looked terrible. Crawford fought like he was carrying the guy by moving around the ring in wide circles and mostly jabbing. When Crawford finally started to throw punches in round 8, Molina Jr. folded immediately. In watching the fight, it made me think that Crawford could have ended the mismatch in round 1 if he applied himself instead of being so defensive.
Crawford wants to win all the belts at light welterweight before he moves up to welterweight. Hopefully, Crawford wins the titles soon so that he can start getting more important fights. You’d have to see Crawford wait until he’s in his mid-30s before moving up to 147, because he’ll probably be too old at that point to fight the top guys and have any chance of winning. If Crawford could move up now to the welterweight division, he has the chance of becoming a big star in boxing. If he stays at 140, I see him toiling in obscurity the same way Jermall Charlo was in fighting at 154. You’ve to move to the divisions where the big names are at. The last time I checked, the light welterweight division has only 1 big name in Adrien Broner, and I don’t see him ever fighting Crawford.