With news coming Thursday morning of Terence Crawford renewing long-terms plans with Top Rank, comes confirmation of his first bout under the new agreement.
The unbeaten three-division champ and arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world will enjoy a homecoming for his next ring appearance, as Crawford faces Jose Benavidez on October 13 at the CHI Health Center Omaha (formerly CenturyLink Center) in Omaha, Nebraska.
Crawford (33-0, 24KOs) will make the first defense of his welterweight title, with the bout airing live on ESPN's flagship network.
While the announcement only came on Thursday, the matchup was actually a good seven months in the making. Benavidez—a former 140-pound interim titlist from Phoenix—was out for 18 months after recovering from gunshot wounds suffered in June 2016, before returning to the ring with a win this past February in Corpus Christi, Texa. Wasting no time, the 26-year old celebrated the rust-shaker by immediately calling out Crawford.
“I’ve been wanting this fight for three years. I know I have what it takes to beat him, and I am going to beat him,” Benavidez said. “Crawford has been running his mouth and saying I’m a nobody. I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity."
The pair of unbeaten welterweights nearly came to blows that evening, but were convinced to save it for the ring and for pay. They won in separate bouts on the same show in Las Vegas this past June—Benavidez stopping previously unbeaten Frank Rojas in one round, while Crawford violently annexing the welterweight title in a 9th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Jeff Horn, setting up their forthcoming collision.
“The Crawford-Benavidez fight is an old-time grudge match," insists Hall-of-Fame promoter Bob Arum. "These are two elite fighters who don’t care for each other, to put it mildly,” said Bob Arum, Top Rank’s founder and CEO. “They will battle each other at a fever pitch. I can’t wait to watch the action.”
As for Crawford—he can't wait to make his opponent regret the manner in which he campaigned for this bout.
“This fight is the fight he has been calling for, and now he will get the chance to see what it’s like to be in the ring with a real champion,” Crawford said. "I’ll happily give him his first L.”