Can Crawford Conquer Canelo? Sugar Ray Leonard Weighs In on the Mega-Fight Talk

By Nationvegas - 01/20/2024 - Comments

Welterweight unified champion Terence Crawford is eager to accomplish the unthinkable by climbing three divisions in a single bound to dethrone undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.

If this fight happens, Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) could shock the world if he successfully defeats 168-lb four-belt champion Canelo (60-2-2, 39 KOs) on May 4th.

Boxing superstar Sugar Ray Leonard, who fought most of his career at welterweight, accomplished that feat, moving up to 168 and capturing the WBC super middleweight and 175-lb titles against Danny Lalonde by a ninth-round knockout in November 1988.

Believing in the Unthinkable

Leonard believes that Crawford has the kind of talent that would enable him to defeat Canelo, as long as he’s not affected by adding weight to his frame because he would need to bulk up to compete with the much heavier Mexican star.

Crawford, 36, has the boxing skills to defeat Canelo, but Leonard questions whether he’d be able to move around the ring with the weight that he packs on.

The Nebraska native Crawford is coming off a career-best win over Errol Spence Jr. last July, and he defeated David Avanesyan and Shawn Porter in his fights before that.

The Weighty Challenge

“Three weight classes? Well, you know what? If anyone can do it, he can do it,” said Sugar Ray Leonard to Fight Hub TV about Terence Crawford wanting to move up three weight classes to challenge Canelo Alvarez for his undisputed super middleweight championship.

Crawford might be able to stay at his normal fighting weight, and use his speed to try to defeat Canelo rather than packing on 15 to 20 lbs.

Of course, we saw 154-pounder Jermell Charlo look undersized and underpowered in his recent one-sided loss to Canelo last September, so it might be wise for Crawford to pack on weight. If his punches do not affect Canelo, he could be up the creek in a fight like that.

“That takes me way, way back when I was fighting. I always believed I could win when I walked into that ring,” said Leonard. “The fights that I did lose, I didn’t feel comfortable. It’s one of those things.

“The higher you go up, the harder it is because you don’t want to carry too much weight,” Leonard said about Crawford needing to move up from 147 to 168 to face Canelo for his four super middleweight titles if that fight happens.

Ideally, Crawford would move up to 168 to get his feet wet against one of the top fighters like David Morrell Jr., David Benavidez, or Caleb Plant before facing Canelo, but he’s not realistic.

Crawford isn’t going to put his hide on the line against those talented fighters and potentially get roasted, but if he were brave and serious about wanting to prepare himself for Canelo, that would be the way to go. Leonard would do it if he was fighting in this era, but he was a different talent than Crawford, very bold and unable to climb weight classes to fight the best.

“As long as it doesn’t prevent him [Crawford] from moving and slipping punches and just stay on the outside. Fight his fight,” said Leonard.

Spence Rematch: Round Two?

“Everyone deserves a chance. It may be a different story. We’ll see,” said Sugar Ray when asked if he’d like to see a rematch between Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. at 154.

“As we move up in weight, it gets tougher, tougher and tougher, but you have to know your body.  He’d hold his own, no question about that. I like that about him. Okay? I don’t always say that,” said Leonard when asked if Crawford would be able to fit in with the ‘Four Kings’ during his era in the 1980s. These were the 1980s ‘Four Kings’ of Boxing:

  • Sugar Ray Leonard
  • Roberto Duran
  • Marvin Hagler
  • Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns

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