Boxing

‘Remind the world that I’m the best’


Terence Crawford has a difficult task.

Not against David Avanesyan, his opponent in Saturday night’s pay-per-view match in Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford’s hometown. His burden is trying to sell the game to the fans.

Crawford is expected to face off against welterweight belt holder Errol Spence Jr. to win the next undisputed championship in a terrible event but negotiations failed. Instead, he’ll be up against a tough but limited boxer who doesn’t stir the imagination.

He did his best to promote the game we were struggling with.

“David Avanesyan is a good fighter,” Crawford said. “He was on a good winning streak and beat a guy in the UK Josh Kelly who everyone thought was going to be a star. I have to train like I’m facing King Kong on December 10th, because Avanesyan has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

“I know he’ll bring everything on December 10, so I won’t ignore him. This is going to be the best Avanesyan, so I have to be the best Terence Crawford.”

Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs) is really on a hot streak. He has stopped all six of his opponents since he was stopped by rival Egidijus Kavaliauskas for six rounds in 2018.

The problem is that he has never faced an opponent close to Crawford’s capabilities (38-0.29 KOs), who stopped Kavaliauskas the following year. Therefore, at least in theory, Saturday’s match is more of a champion showcase than a hottie.

Crawford, #1 on Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-pound list, is a 10-1 favorite (multi-store average).

“My goal is to remind the world that I’m the best boxer on the planet, so everyone needs to tune in on December 10,” he said.

Spence? That fight or a fight with another 147- or perhaps 154-pound person could happen next year. Crawford seems optimistic that the big fights will come.

“My job is to keep doing what I’m doing, which is to win brilliantly, and everything else will fall into place,” he said.

Meanwhile, Avanesyan, a Russian living in the United Kingdom, did not come to America with the intention of losing.

“I’m going to go into this fight with a lot to prove because no one has given me a chance to win,” Avanesyan said. “But he had a lot of work to do, he had a lot of distractions, and none of the interviewers asked him about me.

“It’s always about the war that didn’t happen or other things. I’m more focused than ever, and coming in as a much weaker underdog, that’s how I like it. … Winning over the 1st weight boxer would make me one of the biggest names in the sport.

“I will become a household name and a fifth-weight boxer. These are the driving forces, I have to take on everything Crawford has worked for, and I will.”

Fans will be pleased to see a good game and then hope for Crawford and Spence to return to the table.

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