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Breakdown: Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. fight preview and prediction

One of boxing’s pound for pound elite is in action Saturday night on ESPN when Terence Crawford faces Jose Benavidez Jr.

Terence Crawford v Jeff Horn Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Saturday night, ESPN presents their latest fight night, when the superb Terence Crawford (33-0; 24 KOs) faces Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-0; 18 KOs) The fight is for the WBO Welterweight (147 lbs.) title held by Crawford. Ring Magazine ranks Crawford as the sport’s #2 pound for pound fighter behind only Vasyl Lomachenko; Benavidez is not in their Welterweight top 10. The fight takes place this Saturday, October 13 live from Crawford’s hometown in Omaha and airs live on ESPN with a fight time of 10:30 p.m. ET for the two fight main card, with prelims on ESPN+ starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.

How do these two stack up?

Crawford: 31 years old | 5’8” | 70” reach | orthodox stance
Benavidez: 26 years old | 5’10” | 74” reach | orthodox stance

What have these two done recently?

Crawford: W - Jeff Horn (TKO) | W - Julius Indongo (KO) | W - Felix Diaz (RTD)
Benavidez: W - Frank Rojas (KO) | W - Matthew Strode (TKO) | W - Francisco Santana (UD)

How did these two get here?

I feel like the story on Crawford has been the same for awhile now. He’s one of the very best technical boxers in the world, and he has a sometimes surprising mean streak. He’s been THE undisputed king of two divisions, and is now in his 2nd fight in the highly stacked Welterweight division. And yet... there’s this nagging feeling that he’s just not facing the very best of the best. Maybe that will change at Welterweight, as fights against the likes of Errol Spence or Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman would be tremendous. But none of that is happening here, as he faces another woefully overmatched opponent. Again.

Once upon a time, Jose Benavidez Jr. had some of that special Top Rank hype behind him, often being cited as one of the sport’s top prospects. In 2014, he had a relatively high profile HBO fight with Mauricio Herrera. Benavidez took the decision win, but the outcome was widely criticized as a robbery. He’s won 5 since and is coming in off a win over the then 22-0 Frank Rojas, where Benavidez scored a fast and impressive KO. That KO becomes considerably less impressive when you dig into Rojas’s record, and discover that his 3 opponents prior to Benavidez had records of 1-2, 2-3, and 0-3. The Benavidez hype is gone, though he obviously has a huge opportunity to get it back here.

What can fans expect?

Like I said, we’ve seen this before from Crawford. He will take a few rounds to get going, he will let Benavidez look like he’s in it, then he will switch stances, be dominant, and put Benavidez down. The one potential point of intrigue here is the size advantage Benavidez will have, but I don’t see any reason that is enough to overcome the sizeable skill gap.
Prediction: Terence Crawford, KO R4

Should you watch?

Eh. Crawford is interesting, but there’s not much here. I’d rather watch Fedor.