Pound-for-pound king and WBO welterweight world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford returns to Madison Square Garden Saturday evening (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) as the headliner for the card of the year, a three-headed monster that will follow the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) will make the third defense of his welterweight crown against No. 1 contender Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs), Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) will defend his IBF lightweight world title against unbeaten sensation Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) and Michael Conlan (12-0, 7 KOs) hopes to gain revenge on former 2016 Russian Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin (3-0, 0 KOs).
The ESPN+ undercard (5:45 p.m. ET) will feature Bronx-born super lightweight Josue Vargas (15-1, 9 KOs) against Noel Murphy (14-1-1, 2 KOs) and Brooklyn-born knockout artist Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga (12-0, 12 KOs), who has never seen the second round as a pro, against the durable Cesar Nunez (16-1-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round super middleweight showdown.
At Tuesday’s media workout, this is what Teofimo Lopez had to say.
“If someone were to tell me I’d win my first world title at 22 years old at Madison Square Garden, I wouldn’t believe it. It’s huge. It’s happening, and it’s a blessing. We have the opportunity, and this is what we’re doing. Nine weeks in camp. I know ya’ll have seen the pictures. We’re ready, man.”
“Everybody is ready. We’re ready. He’s ready. Everyone will be tuned in for a reason. All I want is a great night for all the fans. When you have a great style fight like this, it’s going to be a short night.”
“We gotta get the job done on Saturday. We ain’t there yet.”
“I felt much happier than all my other camps. It’s a new me. I came back rejuvenated and ready to go. These last two fights, I missed that. I needed to go through these trials to make me the man I am today.”
“I have a great team behind me. I have everything I need.”
“We all saw what happened last year when I fought after the Heisman celebration. Look out.”