Khan: ‘I’d be undefeated if I faced Crawford’s opponents’
By Chris Williams: Amir Khan doesn’t think much of the opposition Terence Crawford has fought during his 11-year pro career to get to a 34-0 record. In fact, Khan believes that if he were fed the same opponents that the 31-year-old Crawford has faced since turning pro, he’d be undefeated just like him and a world champion today.
Khan and Crawford share a common opponent in Briedis Prescott. Crawford beat Prescott by a lopsided 10 round unanimous decision in March 2013. Khan was knocked out in the first round by Prescott in September 2008. However, five years had gone by since Prescott’s win over Khan by the time Crawford fought the Colombian knockout artist. During those five years, Prescott was beaten three times by Paul McCloskey, Kevin Mitchell and Mike Alvarado. Prescott had lost two out of his last four fights going into his contest with Crawford in 2013. Khan fought an unbeaten Prescott in 2008. Crawford got a different version of the same fighter when they met five years later in 2013.
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will be challenging the unbeaten Crawford for his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on April 20 on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York. Although the switch-hitting Crawford is viewed as the favorite by the bettors, there are many fans that see the fight as a 50-50 toss-up fight due to the weak resume of Crawford, who hasn’t been fighting the best during his career. Crawford’s best opponent was a small, and past his best Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014, and he was hurt by the the 2004 Olympic gold medalist during that fight.
“My resume is a lot better than Crawford’s,” Khan said to TMZ. “Okay fine, he’s unbeaten, but I’m sure I would be unbeaten if I fought all the guys he did.”
Khan makes a good point in talking about Crawford’s resume. If Khan had fought the top guys that Crawford has fought, there’s a very good chance he would be undefeated. Khan has faced guys that would likely destroy everyone that Crawford has ever fought. Khan fought Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2016, and that’s guy that is clearly better than anyone that Crawford has fought. Just having Canelo on Khan’s resume shows that he’s fought a guy that would slice through Crawford’s resume and likely beat him with ease as well.
These are the best fighters Khan has fought as a pro:
– Saul Canelo Alvarez
– Danny Garcia
– Lamont Peterson
– Paulie Malignaggi
– Chris Algieri
– Andriy Kotelnik
– Devon Alexander
– Marcos Maidana
– Zab Judah
– Julio Diaz
– Luis Collazo
– Samuel Vargas
Of those fighters that Khan has faced, 11 of them are former world champions. That’s pretty impressive.
The reader can make a decision on whether Khan could beat all the same guys Crawford has fought. Here are the top fighters that Crawford has beaten during his career:
– Yuriorkis Gamboa
– Jeff Horn
– Jose Benavidez Jr.
– Ricky Burns
– Raymundo Beltran
– Dierry Jean
– John Molina Jr.
– Julius Indongo
– Viktor Postol
– Felix Diaz
– Breidis Prescott
– Hank Lundy
– Andry Klimov
Only seven of those fighters are former world champions. As such, Khan has fought 11 former world champions and Crawford only 7. Just going by that, you have to conclude that Khan’s resume is clearly better than Crawford’s. Two of the names that Khan has on his resume, Canelo and Maidana, would likely beat everyone that Crawford has ever fought during his career. When Maidana was in his prime, he would have a major problem for Crawford’s best opponents Viktor Postol, Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Thomas Dulorme, John Molina Jr. and Felix Diaz.
Without question, Khan would likely beat all those guys if he fought them at the same point in their careers that Crawford did. Gamboa obviously would have been a problem for Khan when he first turned pro in 2007. Gamboa was an outstanding fighter in the first three years of his pro career from 2007 to 2010. But by the time Crawford fought Gamboa in 2013, he was 33-years-old, fighting two divisions above his best weight class of featherweight, and he had become a once a year fighter. Gamboa fought only once a year in 2012 and 2013. Gamboa moved up in weight to super featherweight and then lightweight, not looking impressive in either of those divisions in beating Michael Farenas and Darleys Perez. Farenas knocked Gamboa down in their fight in 2012, and gave him all kinds of problems. Gamboa barely beat Perez in 2013 at lightweight. It was clear from watching those fights that Gamboa wasn’t the same fighter at 130 and especially 135 that he’d been when he first turned pro at featherweight. Crawford fought Gamboa at the right time, and in the right division in facing him at lightweight. Crawford would have had a lot of issues with Gamboa if he fought him between 2007 and 2010 when he was dominating his opposition at featherweight, and fighting on a regular basis.
“We have a mutual opponent [Breidis Prescott] and he knocked Amir Khan out,” Crawford said to ESPN.
Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank Boxing have done an admiral job of match-making in bringing him a long, making him a three division world champion without putting him in with the really talented guys that could potentially beat him. You have to applaud the way Top Rank has matched Crawford. They’re now doing the same thing with Tyson Fury by putting him in with Tom Schwarz rather than the talented heavyweights like Deontay Wilder. We’re seeing the same thing with the way Top Rank is matching WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksander Gvozdyk. Instead of him fighting the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol or Marcus Browne, Top Rank is putting him in with Doudou Ngumbu and Mehdi Amar. Top Rank is an experienced promotional company that knows how to match their fighters to keep them unbeaten, and they’ve done an excellent job of bringing Crawford along without putting him in against dangerous fighters like Regis Prograis, Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Josh Taylor, Ivan Baranchyk, Miguel Berchelt, Vasyl Lomachenko, Shawn Porter, Amir Khan and Danny Garcia. The question is, would Crawford still be unbeaten if he fought all those guys? Probably not. He’d likely have lost four or five times fighting those guys, but that’s why you’ve got to give Top Rank credit for the great job they’ve done in keeping Crawford unbeaten by matching him against the right guys. At the same time, you can’t say for sure that Crawford will beat Khan, because he’s been matched against too many lesser fighters to know how he’ll do against the 2004 Olympic Silver medalist from Great Britain.