Crawford Retains Titles With Pacquiao Next

Crawford Fight. Photo Credit:  Top Rank

Crawford-Diaz Fight. Photo Credit: Top Rank

By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor

Terence Crawford made his statement again at Madison Square Garden Saturday night and may be headed for a clash with Manny Pacquiao. After stopping a determined Felix Diaz who could not come out for the 10th round, Crawford said he was ready to take on Pacquiao or Keith Thurman or any of the other elite champions in the welterweight division.

Crawford, 31-0, 22 KO’s. took every round on two of the three judges scorecards prior to the end. But it was Diaz and his tenacity to compete that made this fight interesting. At no point did Crawford seem to have his WBO and WBC titles in jeopardy and when Diaz sustained a cut earlier in the fight it was a matter of time.

Diaz, a 2008 Dominican Olympic Gold Medalist, was a heavy underdog and during fight week  reiterated that made him more motivated in becoming the next fighter to achieve boxing history at the Garden. But from round one it was all Crawford who wanted to solidify his status as one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters,

In essence, this was a masterpiece and Crawford with his promoter Bob Arum, of Top Rank will eventually sit down and discuss the next move.

The final punchstat numbers showed Crawford landing 59 percent of his power punches and Diaz landed just 18 punches over the last punches in the final three rounds of the fight after landing 16 in the seventh round. From the beginning, Crawford also went to the southpaw approach that was also a major part of Diaz and his fight plan.

“I Wanted to prove that I was the better southpaw,” said Crawford about his strategy. He also displayed what has become a Terence Crawford boxing clinic by using foot speed and moving his head and waist to avoid the punches. Diaz threw a few good punches but it was not enough as the clinic continued before the fight was stopped.

The prevailing opinion is that Crawford,  at 147, in an elite division in the sport is ready to take that next step. Arum was on the defense and looks at Keith Thurman the unified champion as a possible opponent, however he is PBC promoted and that poses an issue as Top Rank and the PBC have not worked co-promotions.

Thurman  fights are televised on Showtime and Crawford, as was this one was, has become a popular draw on HBO. Arum, though refuses to think otherwise and said, “I am a promoter, I can make any fight I want.”

“If not Keith Thurman, whoever lets go,” said Crawford. “ Who knows it’s up to my promoter Bob Arum.  Of course that’s what we all look for in the sport of boxing pound for pound.”

Pacquiao is preparing for his upcoming WBO welterweight title defense against Jeff Horn, July 2nd in Australia.

Crawford has hardly looked at being best pound-for-pound as a priority but a fight with Pacquiao could determine where he stands among the elite. And there is no question that Crawford is heading to tougher competition now that it is known that he is headed to be an elite fighter at 147.

He said, “ That’s what we do it for and it’s why we bleed, sweat and put our lives on the line to be remembered in the sport of boxing.”

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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