Trout: ‘Crawford hasn’t fought a fast guy like Khan’
By Dan Ambrose: Former junior middleweight champion Austin Trout thinks it’s going to be a much tougher fight for the unbeaten WBO welterweight title holder Terence Crawford against the speedy former IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) than many fans think it’ll be on Saturday night in their fight at the Mecca of Boxing at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Unlike a lot of fans, who are completely sold on Crawford, Trout points out that the fighters that the Nebraska native has been matched against by his promoters at Top Rank weren’t fast guys and didn’t move around the ring. The fighters that Top Rank has been putting in there with Crawford has been stationary guys that stood in front of him, allowing him to pick them apart with his faster hand speed. What’s more; Top Rank hasn’t put Crawford in with fighters with any kind of hand speed, Trout notes, other than the tiny 5’5″ Yuriorkis Gamboa, who was a lot smaller than Crawford when the two of them fought in 2014. Whether be design or accident, Top Rank hasn’t matched Crawford against fighters with speed, size or movement. Now suddenly, Crawford will be dealing with a guy that has speed, mobility and size all in one package in Khan. This is a big step forward for Crawford to be facing at this advanced stage in his career.
“I don’t know why people think Khan is going to get dominated like that,” said former WBA junior middleweight champion Austin Trout to Mayweather’s Boxing Channel. “What I’ve seen from Crawford, he’s a monster. He wants to beat you, but Khan has got the hand speed and the movement that I haven’t seen Crawford in with, aside from Yuriorkis Gamboa, but he was tiny. So I think this is going to be interesting because of the hand speed and foot speed that Khan does have. I think Crawford will still pull it out, but I think it’s going to be real hard. It’s going to be much harder than everybody thinks,” Trout said.
In Crawford’s 10 fights since the Gamboa match, the closest that he’s come to facing a fighter with hand speed was his fight against Thomas Dulorme in April 2015. Crawford was getting hit a lot in that fight by Dulorme, who looked to have a slight hand speed advantage over him. Crawford came on strong in the sixth round to stop Dulorme. At the time the fight was halted, Crawford was up by the narrow scores of 48-47, 48-47 on two of the judges’ cards, and trailing 48-47 on the third. Dulorme was clearly giving Crawford all he could handle. If Dulorme had a good and defensive skills, who knows what would have happened in that fight. Since that match-up, Crawford has fought the following fighters: Dierry Jean, Henry Lundy, Viktor Postol, John Molina, Felix Diaz, Julius Indongo, Jeff Horn and Jose Benavidez Jr. All of them were slow, immobile, and easy to hit. Top Rank’s match-maker did his job well in putting Crawford in with guys that were perfect for his style. He didn’t have to worry about a fighter with hand speed or mobility. They set Crawford up with showcase fights to make him look good against the slower guys. Now that Crawford is about to fight his first fighter with size, speed AND mobility during his 11-year pro career in Khan, you can’t really say for sure that he’s going to win the fight, because there’s no one from Crawford’s past that has all the attributes that Khan possesses.
“When was the last time Crawford fought anybody that was fast and had good movement? Trout said. “Everybody is kind of right there in front of him, which is where he picks them apart. I’m still going with Crawford. He’s something special, and will find a way to win, but it ain’t going to be easy,” Trout said.
Gamboa was fast of hand, but he wasn’t moving well when he fought Crawford. Gamboa was standing in front of him and getting the better of him in the first four rounds. It look like Gamboa mentally deteriorated after he slipped on the canvas in the fifth round and was hit while he was falling. It looked like Gamboa was irritated at the referee for failing to call an obvious slip. The older referee failed to see what most boxing fans saw with Gamboa slipping, and getting hit while he was falling. Would Gamboa have continued to dominate that fight if the referee hadn’t made a bad call on the knockdown? Maybe. It’s difficult to know for sure. What’s important to focus on is how out of sorts Crawford was in that fight from the speed of Gamboa. It didn’t matter that Gamboa wasn’t moving around the ring. His hand speed and compact punches were doing a serious number on Crawford. In the third round, Gamboa landed a nice shot that staggered Crawford. It was a situation where Crawford didn’t see the punch coming due to the blazing hand speed of Gamboa, and he was hurt just like anyone would. That fight showed that Crawford’s chin is no better than any of the guys that he’d beaten during his career. His punch isn’t what makes him good. It’s his movement, and the size and talent advantage that he’s had against most of the guys he’s faced.
“It looks like a bit of fear. He looks a bit fleshy to me,” Kell Brook said to Fighthype about Khan’s physique at the weigh-in. “He didn’t look in the best condition I’ve seen him in. Crawford’s a man that is possessed on winning. You could see that Khan walked away. You could take something away from that. From the body language, he [Khan] didn’t look so confident, Khan didn’t to me. Sometimes fighters want to get that edge. You’ve got to try and win the weigh-in. To me, I think Crawford won the weigh-in. I believe he dominated the weigh-in. This is where I belong at the table.” Brook said.
Brook, 32, is talking nonsense here about Crawford winning the weigh-in, as if something like that were even possible. What transpired during the weigh-in was the two fighters have an unusually long stare down. Khan eventually got tired of the stare down and turned away after what seemed like eternity of staring Crawford down. When Khan turned around to walk away, Crawford kept staring at him, and some boxing fans saw that as a victory of sorts. It looked to this writer like Khan wasn’t going to stand there forever staring at Crawford. It was already a stare down that needed to be broken up, because it was forlorn. It was no longer interesting to watch due to the length of time. Neither guy was talking and it wasn’t interesting.
What seems to be painfully obvious is Brook is pulling for Crawford to win the fight. The reason why Brook wants Crawford to win is because if Khan gets the victory, then he’ll face Crawford in a rematch and/or face the other welterweight champions. Brook will be shutout of that equation by Khan, perhaps permanently. The only chance Brook has for a fight against Khan is if he loses to Crawford on Saturday night.