Crawford Stops Benavidez in 12
It was a wildly entertaining bout from start to finish. The buildup to this fight was so good that it was hard to believe that the fight would be able to come close to the actual anticipation of it. It not only met expectations, but it also exceeded them in many ways.
Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-1, 18 KOs) made the night pretty difficult for Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) from the very beginning. It was clear that both Benavidez Jr.’s six-inch height and three-inch reach advantage was causing his opponent some issues in there. Crawford found it hard to find his timing and rhythm on the larger man.
Those issues however did not last long as Crawford, like he always does, managed to adapt to opponent and adjust his game plan.
While the first half of the fight was more of a tactical one between the two, the middle rounds was where Crawford shined. He began to use his movement to make his man not only miss, but also pay for his transgressions.
For as good as Crawford began to look as the fight went on it was Benavidez Jr. who slowed down considerably. It was later revealed that he began to have trouble with his leg and it showed. Let’s not take away credit from Crawford though, as mentally he seemed to be wearing down the bigger man.
As the fight continued, scorecards around the arena and most likely around the world started to look the same. There was no doubt who was dominating the action.
Consistent body shots, overhand rights, left hooks, jab, jab, jab and of course more jabs were the story of the night. It seemed as though Crawford was cruising his way along to a unanimous decision.
For anyone else that would have been enough. A win is a win after all no matter how it happens.
Crawford, however wanted to give his hometown fans in Omaha, Nebraska a little something extra to cheer about.
Once the final round started, Crawford came out more aggressive. If you only tuned in to see the final round then you would have been under the impression that Crawford was behind on the scorecards and needed a knockout to win.
Both men engaged, but it was Crawford who landed a clean uppercut that sent his man to the canvas for the first time all night.
WHAT AN ENDING!
“We knew that he wanted to get in my head and make it a firefight,” said Crawford after the fight. “I saw him in his corner taking deep breaths and knew he was done.”
Benavidez Jr. managed to get up and fought valiantly for the final 30 seconds, but he was still clearly wobbled. A few more clean shots from Crawford prompted the referee to step in and call a stop to the contest.
Benavidez Jr. was game, but Crawford showed his class tonight. After the fight he made no call outs and mentioned no fighters as for who he wanted next.
There was no need for calling anyone out in particular. We all know that Crawford is ducking and dodging no one. The question is who’s going to give him a fight? A real competitive fight.
Hats off to Benavidez Jr., he performed much better than many expected, but Crawford is currently the pound-for-pound king.
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank