Unbeaten Terence Crawford hoping to fight before year ends

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Terence “Bud” Crawford is looking for a fight.

The undefeated WBO welterweight champion has never fought less than twice in a calendar year as a professional. He faces the possibility of being idle all of 2020.

Has Crawford, in the prime of his career at 32, gotten antsy?

“Actually, no,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’ve been using this time for resting my body. I’m getting to spend more time with my kids and am just taking the good with the bad.”

He continues to train every day. Shortly after coming through the door to his Omaha gym, a shouting Crawford asked manager-trainer Brian “BoMac” McIntyre for the day’s plan and immediately changed into sweat clothes. Crawford has been helping WBO 130-pound champion Jamel Herring and unbeaten 168-pound contender Steven Nelson prepare for fights in Las Vegas this weekend.

“I get in here and work out with the fighters that have fight dates,” Crawford said. “Normally, I’m running with them, doing strength and conditioning, sparring.”

Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) hasn’t had a fight since he stopped Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the ninth round at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 14.

Regarded as one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters and a winner of belts in three divisions, Crawford has long wanted a shot at eight-division champion and current WBA welterweight super title-holder Manny Pacquiao. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has been unable to make that fight so far.

Negotiations are underway to get Crawford a November date with the Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KOs). Brook is a former IBF welterweight champ who now is the WBO No. 10 at 154 pounds. He would have to come down a weight class to face Crawford.

Meanwhile, Crawford is on the outside looking in as top welterweights handled by Top Rank’s rival promoter, Premier Boxing Champions, have been able to fight during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shawn Porter won a unanimous decision against Sebastian Formella on Aug. 23 in a WBC/IBF world title eliminator. WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. has a Fox pay-per-view fight against Danny Garcia on Nov. 21.

Jamal James won a unanimous decision over Thomas Dulorme to get in line to face Pacquiao or the winner of Sunday’s Yordenis Ugas-Abel Ramos bout.

Former unified welterweight champ Keith Thurman, also a PBC fighter and the No. 4 WBC contender, has called on Crawford to be his first opponent after a layoff of more than a year following his loss to Pacquiao.

“It all comes down to money,” Crawford said of crossing over to face one of the PBC boxers. “If the money was put up, those fights would be made.”

Purses have taken a hit because of the pandemic, with many venues not yet open to fans. Plus, Arum and PBC founder Al Haymon have had a cold relationship, though media outlets have reported the two are more willing to do business with each other since a federal anti-trust lawsuit brought by Arum was settled in the spring.

Crawford said he can afford to be patient, noting that his best money-making years are still ahead of him.

“I don’t feel like I’m about to be 33,” he said. “I never drank, never smoked. I took care of my body. Only thing a person can actually say about me is that I ate a lot of sweets. That’s it. My body is very preserved.”

As impressive as his record is, Crawford hasn’t garnered the respect he believes he’s due. Critics say his resume is missing a career-defining fight.

“The only reason they say that is because of how dominant I’ve been,” he said.

Crawford rolled off a list of opponents he’s beaten: Amir Khan, Viktor Postol, Yuriokis Gamboa, John Molina Jr., Ricky Burns, Raymundo Beltran.

“Ricky Burns, he became champion after (fighting) me. Beltran, he became champion after me. A lot of people discredit those types of fighters,” Crawford said. “Then everybody gets their credit for beating those types of fighters. But me, being on the pedestal that I am, they look at me and say, ‘Oh, well, those are just steppingstone fights.’ ”

Winning a unified championship at 147 would go a long way in accomplishing his long-held goal of going down as one of the sport’s all-time greats. He already has been an undisputed light welterweight champion and the WBO lightweight title-holder.

“They’ll give me my credit when I retire,” Crawford said. “Muhammad Ali, a lot of people didn’t like him. He was the villain. A lot of people didn’t like Mike Tyson, they just knew he was going to knock somebody out. A lot of people say Mike Tyson didn’t fight nobody. A lot of people don’t like Floyd Mayweather, but they respect him because of how talented he is.

“So when I look at it, I’m never going to get the just due. Just continue to keep winning. That’s it.”

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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