Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan Fight Preview
By Ronan McIlhennon: On the 27th September 1986, a British boxer was on America soil attempting to do the impossible, his name was Lloyd Honeyghan, his task was to defeat the seemingly invincible undisputed Welterweight champion. Critics allowed Honeyghan the proverbial two chances: hardly any, and none. Still relatively inexperienced at international level, he was matched against a boxer who, pound for pound was seen as on of the world’s best. Honeyghan succeeded in his mammoth task and fame and stardom was thrust upon him. Fast forward 32 years and another British boxer is on American soil faced with the same task, as Amir Khan (33/4/0) travels to New York City to Challenge WBO Welterweight Champion Terence Crawford (34/0/0) at the iconic Madison Square Garden.
Unlike Honeyghan, ‘King’ Khan has had fame and stardom from an early age. He came home from the 2004 Olympic games with a Silver Medal and a newfound fan Base. His star could not have shone brighter, as 6.3 million viewers tuned in to watch his final amateur contest with Mario Kindelan, which was shown live on ITV. Khan was the darling of the British public. However, long periods of inactivity, a number of heavy knockout defeats, and his refusal to fight British rival Kell Brook has left a sour taste in the mouth of many boxing fans, many who used to cheer for him cheer against him now. Khan though has given the boxing public some memorable nights, he has the heart of a lion, opting to stand and engage with his opponent to give the fans an exciting contest.
Like Honeyghan, Khan will face an opponent deemed by many to be the best in the game. Ranked number 2 in the pound for pound list, ‘Bud’ Crawford has not lost since 2007, and never as a professional. A tough kid with a good heart Crawford started boxing at the age of 7 at the C.W Boxing Club in his home city of Omaha, Nebraska. He had a glittering amateur career himself with a record of 58-12 , and holds wins over Danny Garcia and Mikey Garcia. Although it wasn’t until he had a near death experience in 2008 when he was shot in the head after a dice game that ‘Bud’ decided to dedicate himself to his craft.
Even though Crawford had the skills to pay the bills’, he has struggled in his career to raise his profile. In 2011, instead of being recognized as a real young talent he was forced to find pay as a sparring partner, helping out Timothy Bradley. Both fighters were managed by Cameron Dunkin. After their first sparring session, Bradley called Dunkin, “this dude is no sparring partner. This dude is a world champion.” Bradley continued, “if you can’t use him, tell me, because I’ll buy him out of his contract and I’ll manage him myself. This guy can fight.” Even with Bradley’s glowing recommendation, it still took Crawford until March 2013 to get his big breakout fight when he took on and defeated former Khan conquer Breidis Prescott.
From then on Crawford has went from strength to strength easing through the weight divisions dismantling opponents and collecting world titles along the way. Now a three weight world champion and only boxer in history to unify all four world titles at light welterweight, Crawford has seen and beat it all. Jeff Horn tried to smother him, Yuriorkis Gamboa tried to outbox him, Jose Benavidez Jr tried to fight him, though they were all dispatched with relative ease. Still Crawford’s name is not widely known outside of the boxing world. This fight with Khan will be only his second outing on pay-per-view after his 2016 Win over Viktor Postol which done 50,000 buys but lost his promoter Top Rank around $100,000, although Bob Arum said the fight was expected to lose a lot more money than it did.
Crawford is a switch hitter, who seems at easy fighting in either style. He processes a whip like jab and throws deadly combinations to head and body. He has a fabulous arsenal of punches he can call upon at any time and gets stronger as the fight goes on. His power has carried with him through the weights, although it’s his incredible hand speed which catches the eye, often knocking bigger opponents out with punches they just don’t see coming. Crawford’s head trainer Brian McIntyre said recently “there has never been a perfect fighter” and Crawford is clearly not prefect, but at times in the ring he looks it.
For this fight Khan will have Virgil Hunter back in his corner after the trainer recovered from a health scare last year, on working with Virgil again Khan said, “I have had my best performances in boxing with Virgil, great wins and I couldn’t wait to join with him again.” Others would say Khan’s best days are behind him and he was at his best under Freddie Roach, when he had wins over high quality fighters like Paulie Malignaggi, Marcus Maidana, and Zab Judah. Whatever trainer Khan has had in his corner be it Hunter, Roach, Joe Goosen, Jorge Rubio or Oliver Harrison he has never adapted his style, choosing to try and blitz his opponent with speed until the referee calls a halt. He can have some success in this fight, especially as Crawford can be hit and does swing wildly at times going for the knockout, but Khan will have to have a different game plan than the one he only seems to have.
This is the type of fight that makes boxing legend. Just like Honeyghan, Khan isn’t given much of a chance; just like Honeyghan, he’s facing one of the games best. Just like Honeyghan, he’s on American soil, on Saturday night we will find out if just like Honeyghan can Khan shock the world and cause one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.