Terence Crawford Tells SportsGrid He’s Prepared for MSG Debut This Saturday on HBO
Fighting for the first time in Madison Square Garden would be intimidating for almost anyone. The aura, the mystique and the history of that building, particularly for boxing, is legendary. The home for two of the three Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier fights, as well as the backdrop for the climax of James J. Braddock’s legendary championship win in Cinderella Man, MSG has been a boxing landmark for over a century. And though today's big money fights mostly take place in Las Vegas, it’s rare that a fighter on his way up doesn’t at some point make a stop at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”
This Saturday night, in the main event on HBO (beginning at 10:00 ET), ascending superstar Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 wins by KO) gets that opportunity, as he defends his WBO junior welterweight championship against Hank Lundy (26-5, with 13 wins by KO).
“It’s going to be a great night and a great fight,” Crawford told SportsGrid on Monday.
Crawford isn’t intimidated by the bright lights of New York and is just focused on keeping his perfect record intact. Crawford is currently ranked as the 7th best pound for pound fighter in the world, according to The Ring magazine. In order to stay perfect, Crawford is going to have to turn back the challenge of Lundy, who has previously stated that he’s looking for an early stoppage. Crawford, needless to say, isn’t intimidated, nor is he thrown off by Lundy’s trash talk.
“That’s his statement and that’s what he’s going to have to live up to and prove," Crawford said. "I’m just going to have to do what I do best, stick to what I know, and box."
Boxing has always been in Terence Crawford’s blood. Both his father and his uncle were fighters and his mother was ready when he told her that it’s all Terence wanted to do.
“My coach lived behind my grandma’s house. I went home one day and told my mom a stranger came up to me to talk. She knew him, and he became my coach," Crawford explained. "I always got in trouble for fighting, so I went home that day and told my mom I was gong to be a fighter."
This love of fighting turned into a career for Crawford, who is steadily working his way into becoming boxing’s next big superstar. He was rumored to be considered as Manny Pacquiao’s final opponent (a spot that went to Timothy Bradley) and is still just focused on getting better. Although, the appeal of potentially fighting Pacquiao humbled Crawford.
“I’m happy my name was mentioned -- and a fight like that lets me know where my career is going,” Crawford told us.
Despite the Pacquiao fight not happening, Crawford is listening to those who are saying he could follow in Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao’s footsteps, dominating the boxing landscape. However, he’s not letting the pressure get to him. “I hear it, but I keep forward at the task at hand.”
And that task at hand could lead him to three fights alone in 2016. If Saturday's fight goes as planned, Crawford is expected to fight again in June or July. He said that he would just take a few weeks off after the fight with Lundy before heading back into the gym.
When asked if he had his eye on the victor of the May 7th fight between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan, Crawford said that he would just watch the fight as a fan of boxing, rather than as a fighter scouting his next opponent. Crawford isn’t focused on what comes after this Saturday night. He’s just determined to remain undefeated.
Terence Crawford fights Hank Lundy Saturday, February 27, at 10 p.m. (Eastern) live on HBO.
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