Glynn Evans tells the story behind the brilliant P4P contender who defends his WBO and WBC Super-lightweight belts live on BoxNation this weekend.
1. Terence Allan Crawford entered this world on 28th September 1987. He was born and raised in a rough northern suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. He received his ‘Bud’ nickname from his mother Debra when he was an infant. His father, grandfather, uncles and cousins all boxed as amateurs. He has a son. Away from boxing, his hobbies are basketball and video games.
2. A hot tempered, street scrapping youth, classy Crawford began boxing at the age of seven, coached by the fabulously named Midge Minor. His 70 bout amateur career brought just 12 losses. His scalp list included future world champions Danny Garcia and ‘Mikey’ Garcia plus Diego Magdaleno who he beat three times. His ring heroes growing up were Pernell Whittaker, Shane Mosely and Floyd Mayweather Jr. After winning gold medals at three national amateur tournaments in 2006-7, ‘Bud’ became the number one rated US lightweight. However, defeats to New York’s Sadam Ali and Cleveland southpaw Miguel Gonzalez at the Olympic Trials thwarted his ambitions for Beijing 2008.
3. Turning pro in March 2008, the Nebraskan raced to 4-0 in just five months. However, he almost lost his career and his life on Labor Day of that year when a bullet grazed the right side of his head after a craps game went ‘belly up’. Remarkably, Crawford managed to drive himself to the hospital. Earlier in the day, TC had been maced and evicted by security from the city’s September fest. He had his fifth pro fight just two months after the shooting and won by second round stoppage!
4. Crawford remained unbeaten in his first five years and 19 fights but, despite his amateur pedigree, made nominal impact and, from 2011, worked as a spar hand to five-time, two-weight world champion Tim Bradley to secure additional funds. However, 2013 proved ‘Bud’s’ breakout year. As a short-notice underdog, he scalped Amir Khan conqueror Breidis Prescott in March, clattered 34-1-1 Mexican Alejandro Sanabria in six in a WBO eliminator three months after, then closed out the year by schooling then unbeaten Andrej Klimov in October. That fine hat-trick brought recognition as Sports Illustrated’s Prospect of the Year.
5. Since hypnotising Scotland’s Ricky Burns to capture a version of the world lightweight title at Glasgow’s SEC in March 2014, the masterful switch hitter has triumphed in seven successive WBO title fights. In 135lb defences, Athens Olympic champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, unbeaten in 23, was demolished in nine in a Fight of the Year contender while rock hard Raymundo Beltran was bamboozled over 12. Struggling to trim his 5ft 8in frame down to lightweight, he bagged a second world title at super-lightweight in April 2015 by torturing Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme for six rounds. The 29 year old has successfully retained on three occasions.
6. In his most recent gig last July, the sharpshooting slickster became a unified champion when he trounced 28-0 WBC counterpart Viktor Postol at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The Ukrainian hard case took two tumbles in round five and was hammered 118-107 (twice) and 117-108 on the scorecards. The showdown signified Crawford’s PPV debut, generated between 50-60,000 buys at almost $60 a pop, and saw the man from Omaha trouser a career high $1.3 million purse.
7. Crawford has transformed Omaha’s 18,000 capacity CenturyLink Center into his impregnable citadel. With nominal competition for the sporting dollar in the region, Crawford’s fans are prone to getting mighty rowdy come fight night. The $290m arena, opened in 2003, staged his clinics over Gamboa, Beltran and 29-1 Canadian Dierry Jean (rsc10) and will host Saturday’s showdown. It also serves as home court for the Creighton University basketball team and is used for professional wrestling promotions. Prior to Crawford rejuvenating the sport in ‘The Cornhusker’s State’, Nebraska’s only previous world title fight occurred in 1972 and saw heavyweight champ Joe Frazier flatten Ron Stander in five.
8. Honoured as Fighter of the Year by both ESPN and the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2014, Crawford has already mastered three world champions (Burns, Gamboa and Postol). Seemingly blessed with every desirable ring attribute and now 29-0 with 20 stoppages, he is presently placed at number five (behind Gonzalez, Golovkin, Ward and Kovalev) in Ring magazines pound-for-pound listing.
9. Meek to the point of being almost monosyllabic beyond the ropes, Crawford is nevertheless something of a philanthropist. In tandem with coach Brian McIntyre, he runs the B & B (Bud and Brian) Boxing Academy as a haven for troubled youths in his home city and he also promotes several anti-bullying initiatives. Additionally, he has embarked on two charitable missions with his 4th grade teacher Jamie Nollett to Rwanda and Uganda, where he has helped build houses for victims of genocide. Promoter Bob Arum dubs him: ‘The US equivalent of Manny Pacquiao!’
10. He’s good but not perfect! On April of this year Crawford was arrested in Omaha for taking his car off the lift at an auto body shop and pushing the shop owner, resulting in $5000 damage! The matter was resolved out of court.
11. Saturday’s scrap suggests a thawing of the cold war between promoters Bob Arum (Crawford) and Al Haymon who represents challenger John Molina Jr. The HBO slot unexpectedly became available due to delays in finalising the middleweight unifier between Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs. Regardless, another sizzling show from ‘Tel’ will set him up nicely for titillating tear-ups with the top talents in either the 140 or 147lb divisions in 2017. He is already embroiled in a Twitter war with WBC welter don Danny Garcia with whom he split a brace of amateur bouts. Long term, the champ states his goals are to completely unify divisions, secure recognition as the leading P4P operator and gain entry to the sport’s Hall of Fame. Music to the cauliflowered ears of us traditionalists!