Terence Crawford needs to remind fans why he was named 2014 Fighter of the Year against Dierry Jean in Omaha on Saturday.
SAN DIEGO, October 23, 2015 – With Floyd Mayweather (theoretically) retired, one of the leading contenders as America’s best boxer is undefeated super lightweight Terence Crawford. Crawford (26-0, 18 KOs) will make his first title defense at home before his loyal Omaha fans against Haitian born Dierry Jean (29-1, 20 KOs) of Canada. The first will air on HBO Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET.
It is only the second fight in 2015 for Crawford, after he won his title by stopping Thomas Dulorme in the sixth round in his first bout stepping up to 140 pounds in April. It was an impressive, dominating performance. So far, Crawford has lived up to everyone’s expectations, being named Fighter of the Year for 2014 by most boxing writers (including this one) with one spectacular fight after another.
But where has Crawford been? This summer, Crawford made his second trip to Africa with his former fourth grade teacher, Jamie Fox Nollette, and the Omaha-based aid group Pipeline Worldwide to Uganda and Rwanda. While there, Crawford helped develop safe water supplies. Crawford says he doesn’t want to be known as “just a fighter.” “It’s life changing when you get to go over there and help people. It just made me appreciate things more. It kind of humbled me in a way to where I don’t want to take anything for granted.” Crawford reportedly returns from his trips without any of the clothing or shoes he takes, giving it all away to the people he met.
Now it’s time for Crawford to refocus his attention on the skills that pay the bills. Mayweather and other top names can get away with two fights a year. When you are a rising star in boxing, you should be fighting much more often.
A sold out crowd of over 11,000 is expected at the Century Link Arena to see Crawford face the tough Jean, who has won his last four fights since his only loss in January 2014 to Lamont Peterson. Jean is tough and will be no pushover for Crawford. But Jean is generally not the aggressor. He’s perhaps hoping Crawford is a little rusty and in a defensive, counter-punching mood. If Crawford employs the same game plan he did against Dulorme, he will spend the first few rounds patiently observing and sizing up Jean, then moving in for the kill.
Comparing CompuBox statistics for their most recent fights, Crawford has a significant edge in power punches and connect percentage over Jean. Combine this with Jean’s last four opponents landing 40 percent of their power shots, and it’s a TKO win for Crawford in the making.
Jean will be fighting outside his familiar home territory in Montreal for only the third time in his career. He’s not used to hearing the crowd cheer for the other guy. Crawford feels an obligation to support his home town fans by bringing top level professional boxing to Omaha. He insists the ticket prices be kept down so all fans can afford to attend, at the expense of his own purse.
Crawford needs to do more than just win. He has been named as a possible opponent in 2016 for Manny Pacquiao when he returns to boxing on an announced date of April 9 after rehabilitating his shoulder following the Mayweather fight. It could be the final fight of Pacquiao’s career. But there are other possible opponents under consideration, so Crawford needs to make his case if he wants the opportunity for big money under a big spotlight.
Prior to the Crawford vs. Jean fight, HBO will show an exclusive replay of the two title bout from Madison Square Garden last weekend between middleweights Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux, and flyweights Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Brian Viloria. If you missed the show Triple G and Chocolatito put on in New York, you need to be in your seat in front of the TV on time.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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