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Crawford’s trainer says Thurman more difficult opponent than Spence

Amir Khan Errol Spence Jr Keith Thurman Crawford vs. Khan

By Chris Williams: WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s trainer Brian McIntyre says he wants him to face the top guys at welterweight in Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. McIntyre says the 31-year-old Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) is getting older, and he wants to go after the other champions at 147 before he retires from boxing in the not too distant future.

Surprisingly, McIntyre rates inactive WBA Super World champion Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) as a potentially tougher fight for Crawford than the bigger and stronger Spence. McIntyre says Thurman’s movement and punching angles would make him a tougher opponent for Crawford than Spence.

What McIntyre doesn’t know is if Thurman, 30, will be the same fighter he once was when he makes a comeback after two years out of the ring to face fringe contender Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs) later this month on January 26 on Premier Boxing Champions on FOS & FOX Deportes at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Two years is eternity for an athlete to be out of any sport.

“Probably Thurman. Yeah, probably Thurman. [Spence], you see what size does to you — nothing,” McIntyre said to Fighthub. When he beat Benavidez, Benavidez was way bigger than him, taller than him, but that didn’t mean nothing. His punches didn’t even move Terence. So size don’t mean anything but Thurman, he mobile, good with his punches, punches from different angles.”

It’s interesting that McIntyre compares Benavidez with Spence, and puts them in the same boat talent-wise. Benavidez has never been viewed as having the same kind of talent as Spence, so it’s unclear why McIntyre is lumping them in the same class. The only thing that Benavidez and Spence have in common is both of them are tall fighters. The comparison ends right there. Before facing Crawford, Benavidez struggled to beat journeyman Mauricio Herrera in 2014 in beating him by a controversial 12 round decision. Many boxing fans saw Herrera winning that fight. Up until Benavidez fought Crawford, his best opponent of his career was Herrera. The rest of the guys Benavidez has fought have been lower level 2nd tier guys. If Crawford is listening to McIntyre in putting Benavidez on the same level talent-wise as Spence, he’s going to be in for a rude awakening if they ever. Unfortunately, Crawford and Spence will likely never fight. The same goes for Crawford against Thurman or Porter. Those guys are with Al Haymon, and Crawford is with Top Rank. Crawford fights on ESPN, and those guys on FOX and SHOWTIME. That’s pretty much all you need to know. Spence has more going for him than just size. He’s an excellent boxer/puncher, who is perhaps the best body puncher in boxing. Crawford has never fought a body puncher before. He’s a guy that uses a lot of head movement and running around the ring in his fights. Spence’s body punching would ground Crawford, and put him in a position where he would need to go down swinging or else he’d be chopped to pieces by Spence.

“Let’s hope he is because they going to say ‘you beat a guy who’s been out for a long time and he really didn’t fight nobody,'” McIntyre said about his hopes of Thurman being the same fighter he once was when he eventually returns from his two year layoff to fight Lopez on January 26.

McIntyre shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for Thurman to fight Crawford. With the way Thurman suffers injuries, he could wind up on the shelf for another two years after his next fight with Lopez. If McIntyre is counting on Thurman giving Crawford a fight one of these days, he could be waiting for a long, long time. Thurman has never spoken of wanting to fight Crawford, and that tells you that there’s no interest there. The only thing Thurman has been saying about Crawford is he doesn’t rate him because he’s never fought anyone good since he moved up to 147. Crawford is a new comer to the welterweight division, and he’s only fight flawed fighters in Benavidez and Jeff Horn.

There’s a chance that Crawford could face past his prime Amir Khan next. That’s a guy that’s on the same level as Benavidez. Khan was almost knocked out by fringe contender Samuel Vargas in his last fight in September.

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