The No. 2 pound-for-pound boxer on the planet Terence”Bud” Crawford is back in action, laying his WBO welterweight title at stake against undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr. that Saturday in the CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. The current champion is a favorite in this bout with the challenger coming back in +1000.
Crawford has been preferred in every one of the last seven conflicts with an average closing line of -1335. The smallest chances of the existing WBO titleholder were -402 when he defended his title against Viktor Postol. The fight went the distance with Crawford earning the success. Meanwhile, Benavidez was favored in his last two bouts with an average final line of -2646 and he won both of those fights by knockout.
Breaking Down Crawford vs Benavidez
Crawford (-2500) has been called the 2018 Fighter of the Year at the ESPYs at LA earlier this year, his second such award in his profession. The 31-year-old has a huge ability to switch from orthodox to southpaw, although he’s a natural orthodox fighter, keeping his rivals off balance as he peppers with his furious hands and power. Bud has a expert record with 24 wins in 33-0.
Not only does the Nebraska native possess supreme offensive skills, but his defensive movements will also be equally as striking, rarely absorbing hefty shots. This is Crawford’s first title defense of the belt, having only moved into this weight class in June when he knocked out Jeff Horn to assert the title in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Benavidez (+1000) has picked up back-to-back T/KO successes after having his career apparently ended. The California native was shot in the leg 2016 as he had been climbing the rankings to a championship battle and physicians warned that he could never walk again. Not only is Benavidez fighting again but he’s now taking on one of the very best boxers in the world.
The 26-year-old won the 2009 Golden Gloves in the light welterweight division to make him the youngest-ever Golden Gloves champion at 16 years of age. He trains with Freddy Roach, sparring with the likes of Manny Pacquiao, and he holds a perfect 27-0 record with 18 wins coming by knockout for its orthodox fighter.
Although Crawford is a three-division winner and is the most second-best pound-for-pound fighter on earth, Jose Benavidez Jr. is a legitimate threat. He’ll have a four-inch reach advantage over the winner and possesses comparable punching power. The biggest issue is when the 26-year-old can permeate that defensive wall the 31-year-old can install. Benavidez was compared to the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. prior to the shooting and if he can return to form from Crawford, this could be a hell of a fight.