Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan confirmed for MSG, NY on April 20
By Tim Royner: As expected, Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) and Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will be fighting each other at Madison Square Garden in New York on April 20. Crawford-Khan at MSG in New York was made official on Wednesday. This will make a lot of boxing fans happy on the East Coast, as now they have a chance to see the fight live.
Crawford vs. Khan is on ESPN PPV in the States. It’s unclear whether Matchroom Sport will place the fight on Sky Box Office PPV in the UK.
New York is a good venue for Crawford-Khan, but only if it’s a competitive fight, and only if Crawford stays in the pocket and fights. If this is a one-sided mismatch in favor of Crawford, it’s going to backfire on Top Rank, because they’re the ones that chose the past his prime Khan instead of a good welterweight. Crawford has enough talent to where he doesn’t need to run around the ring, taunting Khan for as long as it lasts. Crawford should take the fight to Khan and try and make it interesting for the New York fans.
Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum had spoken recently of wanting to have the Crawford vs. Khan fight take place in New York. Arum wants to turn Crawford into a star on the East and Wet Coast. Crawford’s fights have been taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada and his hometown of Omaha, Nevada. The result has seen glacially slow growth of Crawford’s popularity. Of course, the the less than ideal match-making for Crawford certainly hasn’t helped.
It’s going to take a consistent effort on Arum’s part to turn Crawford into the kind of star in New York like Gennady Golovkin. Arum can’t just stick Crawford in New York for a mismatch against Khan, and then put him back in Nebraska or Las Vegas, and think accomplished his goal. It’s going to take a lot of fights for Crawford, and importantly exciting fights. That means that Crawford has to resist the urge to run around the ring to evade his opponents all night long like he sometimes des.
Someone who will be watching the Crawford vs. Khan fight with great interest on that night is former International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Kell ‘Special K’ Brook (38-2, 26 KOs), considering that he’s going to be facing Khan later on this year. It doesn’t matter if Khan loses to Crawford. Khan already told Hearn that he’ll be fighting Brook later this year. That’s a match that Hearn wanted to take place next, but Khan decided he needed to face Crawford first. Top Rank gave Khan a financial offer that he couldn’t refuse.
It might be good money spent on Top Rank’s part if Crawford beats Khan in an impressive fashion, and his popularity rises after that. It’s hard to say that it will. Khan has done with his career since his win over Zab Judah in 2011. Its been one long free fall for Khan with his career. In the last eight years, Khan has lost to Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and Saul Canelo Alvarez. Khan’s wins have come against B-level fighters in Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, Luis Collazo, Chris Algieri, Carlos Molina, Julio Diaz and Devon Alexander. Khan has stepped it up three times in the last eight years, and lost every time. You can’t call the other fighters that Khan has fought during that time frame great fighters. They were all B-level fighters, so it’s expected that he would be able to beat them, because those are the type of guys that he’s thrived against during his career.
As for Top Rank’s money they’re putting into Crawford’s career by luring Khan to fight him, it probably won’t do much for Terence. To get a big bump up in popularity, fighters need to take on the best. The boxing public aren’t naive. They know who the good fighters are. Khan is not one of the talented guy at this point at 147, and he might not even be a top 10 guy. He’s just a fighter that briefly found success almost a decade ago. He’s mostly been fighting weak opposition since 2013. Khan stepped it up once in the last five years, and was knocked cold by Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2016.
Khan can’t continue to put off the fight with Brook. He’s at the point of his career where he’s vulnerable against even the bottom feeders in the 147 lb weight class. We saw that in his last fight when he was dropped by fringe contender Samuel Vargas in the second round. That was not an easy fight for Khan. He looked every bit as bad as WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman looked in his comeback fight against Josesito Lopez last Saturday night. Khan has a lot of money waiting for him to scoop up in a fight against Brook.
If Khan beats Crawford, it’s going to be a huge shot of adrenalin for Amir and for his promoters at Matchroom. In turn, it’ll help make his mega-fight with Brook that much bigger. As long as Khan can face Brook in his next fight rather than having to take an immediate rematch with Crawford, he can take on Brook and make loads of money before taking the rematch. The thing is, we don’t know how good Crawford is. All the guys that Crawford has beaten during his entire career are fighters that the current top light welterweights – Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Ivan Baranchyk, Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez – would all beat. There’s not a guy on Crawford’s resume that those fighters wouldn’t all beat. Khan is fighting a guy with an inflated record in Crawford, and that makes this fight somewhat intriguing. We’ve seen Crawford beat up lesser guys like Felix Diaz, Julius Indongo, Viktor Postol and John Molina. We haven’t seen Crawford fight the best, be it at 140 or 147. That’s why there’s always a chance that Khan could pull off an upset. He’s facing a guy that is for all intents and purposes smoke and mirrors in Crawford.