Brian McIntyre: ‘Terence Crawford wants to clean out the welterweight division’
Top Rank recently announced that current WBO welterweight world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford, 33-0 (24), has agreed to a new, multi-year contract extension with the company.
Armed with this new extension, the three-division champion Crawford made it clear in a recent interview about where he feels he fits among the other elite champions in the game and what his plans are in the 147-pound class.
“I am the best fighter in the world, hands down. ESPN is the biggest brand in sports and Top Rank is the biggest promotional company in boxing,” Crawford said. “This was a no-brainer for me and my team. All of the super-fights that the world wants to see will happen. Mark my words. Like I’ve said before, I want all of the champions in the welterweight division.”
After turning pro a decade ago, Crawford racked up 22 straight wins. Then he traveled to Glasgow, Scotland, for his 23rd fight and beat champion Ricky Burns to win the WBO world lightweight title in March of 2014.
He successfully defended that title twice before moving up five pounds and adding the vacant WBO junior welterweight title to his trophy case in April of 2015.
Crawford then made two successful defenses of his new belt before adding the WBC junior welterweight title to his collection by beating champion Viktor Postol in July of 2016.
Crawford would make two defenses of the unified titles before beating Julius Indongo in the summer of 2017 to add the WBA and IBF titles to his 140-pound collection and ruling the division as its undisputed champion.
He next set his sights seven pounds north in the welterweight division. Last June, he drilled WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, relieving the Australian champion of his world title.
Now Bud prepares to make the first defense of the title against former interim WBA junior welterweight champion Jose Benavidez Jr., on October 13, at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. And much like his time mining the 140-pound class, Crawford doesn’t plan on stopping until he has all the straps at 147 pounds.
Fresh off the signing of his new extension with Top Rank and the announcement of the Benavidez fight, UCNLive.com caught up with longtime Crawford manager and trainer Brian “BoMac” McIntyre to get the latest on the man to whom many refer as the best fighter in boxing.
Bill Tibbs: Thanks for taking a minute to chat, BoMac.
Brian McIntyre: No problem.
BT: You recently locked up a new deal with Top Rank. With the amount of TV dates they now have, is it possible to see Bud fight up to three times a year?
BM: Yes, for sure, that is a possibility. That is an option for him as long as Bud stays healthy. I was speaking to him the other day and saying we’ve got some great options. Let’s grind it out for the next couple of years and make the most of your career. He’s always ready to go to work. With Top Rank having the new ESPN deal and with lots more dates available, then three fights a year is a possibility, for sure.
BT: How many times would you like to see Bud in the ring in 2019?
BM: Well, you know it is up to Bud but, I’d like to see three fights next year, if he’s healthy. Maybe do a couple on ESPN and then maybe a big pay-per-view fight near the end of the year. But three would be great.
BT: You and your team work very hard supporting the youth in Omaha, not just with amateur boxing but also with education, after-school programs, etc. That’s great that you make that a priority.
BM: Yes, absolutely. You know, years ago, when the gym that everyone grew up in moved away, it hit the community hard. We wanted to get a gym back in the community for the kids and the youth out there, a gym that they could get to. If a gym is too far to walk or bike to, then the participation just falls off a lot. Kids gotta be able to walk or bike to the gym, as Bud and guys like (undefeated light heavyweight prospect) Steve Nelson did as kids. It’s important for us to give back to the community and for the kids to have a gym that they can get to. It was important for us to get a gym back in our community.
BT: I know Bud wants all the belts at 147 and I assume he would have liked to face another champion in this fight. But this fight with Benavidez seems to have been brewing for a while, as Benavidez has been calling for a shot at him for a while now.
BM: Yeah, you know, it seems like he has been calling us out but we said a couple of times that the fight was no problem at all but then it wouldn’t happen. Then Benavidez said that we ducked him a couple of times. I mean, we don’t duck nobody, so what is that? We don’t ever turn down a fight. But hey, you never know what goes on behind closed doors with promotions and things like that, so who knows? But he barked a lot and now he has the fight and now it’s time to go to work. But you know I just wish the kid and his dad all the best.
BT: Benavidez is a tall guy with range, if he uses it. Do you see anything, style-wise, that might pose a particular problem?
BM: No, I don’t see anything special about him. I’ve been calling some fights on the Top Rank network and have seen him fight up real close but I haven’t seen anything, style-wise, that I see as a problem. But listen, his anger could motivate him in the fight. He seems real angry towards us and that can motivate him; it might help him to stay in the fight, if he is hurt.
BT: The welterweight division is a hot market. Keith Thurman with the WBA title, Errol Spence Jr. with the IBF title, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and, of course, Manny Pacquiao. Assuming things go well with Benavidez, is there any particular fight you would like?
BM: Like we said, when they had the press release from Top Rank about the signing, we just want to fight the very best out there. We want the other champions, the other guys our age and stage of their careers. We want to fight the very best out there. It doesn’t really matter who they put in front of us. Bud wants to fight the very best; we just want to clean out the division.
BT: The Pacquiao fight seems like an easy one to make, as you’re both with Top Rank. Do you think that fight happens?
BM: I don’t know anymore. We have been hearing about that fight for a couple of years now. We were told we’d get the fight but it hasn’t happened. Manny is getting up there in age now and it might be time to just let that one go. I can’t really see the fight happening.
BT: Can I get a prediction for the Benavidez fight?
BM: I’d say about the seventh round, Bud by knockout.
BT: Thanks for the chat, Brian.
BM: No problem, anytime. Thank you.