Terence Crawford had plenty to say about his opponent Jose Benavidez Jr. and fellow welterweight Manny Pacquiao. He’s not impressed with either.
Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) prepares to defend his lightweight title against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0, 18 KOs) in front of his hometown of Omaha, NE on Oct. 13. During a media call on Oct. 4, Crawford had harsh comments for his opponent and fellow welterweight Manny Pacquiao.
Crawford is the unofficial king of the welterweight division. He holds the WBO title with the other three titles held by different fighters. Despite holding just a single title, Crawford is considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Crawford jumped up to welterweight in his last fight, stopping Jeff Horn in nine rounds to earn his title. Benavidez is Crawford’s first title defense.
Benavidez possesses an impressive undefeated record, but he lacks notable wins. His best victory came over Mauricio Herrera in 2014. Herrera is a masterful boxer who’s short on power. During Thursday’s conference call, Crawford criticized Benavidez’s quality of opposition.
When asked about Benavidez’s first-round KO in his last fight Crawford said, “Come on now, we all know who he fought.”
Benavidez defeated Frank Rojas in his last performance.
A certain level of bad blood exists between Crawford and Benavidez. In February at a boxing match, they were caught on camera arguing. When asked about the verbal exchange, Crawford described what was said:
"He just came up to me, told me that I was ducking him, and I never wanted to sign a fight, I never signed a contract, and I was scared of him, and he was going to knock me out. So I told him, I said, ‘Man, don’t you got a fight? You need to focus on your fight before you focus on me right now. You need to be focused on your fight.’"
When asked about other champions outside of the other big three title holders, Crawford seemed confused about who else could be considered a champion. He was asked specifically about WBA “regular” champion Manny Pacquiao. Crawford responded,
"He’s [Manny Pacquiao] not a champion in my eyes. He don’t have the super belt. That’s the champion in my eyes. I look at the number one champion in the division. I don’t look at the WBC Silver and the interim belts and all that. I look at the super and the actual champion of the division."
Pacquiao has long been represented by Top Rank Promotions who is also Crawford’s promoter. Recently, Pacquiao’s relationship with Top Rank has deteriorated. There were money issues in the promotion of his last fight with Lucas Matthysse.
Outside of Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, Crawford doesn’t seem to regard any other boxer as a legitimate threat. Benavidez will try to change his opinion on Saturday, Oct. 13. You can watch the fight on ESPN+.