Terence Crawford’s next fight will be on pay-per-view.
The reigning WBO welterweight champion will defend his title against former lightweight and junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) on April 20th at either Madison Square Garden in New York or one of the MGM properties in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the first PPV event under Top Rank’s deal with ESPN. A price point has not been set, but promoter Bob Arum said it would likely be $59.95.
Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Having become undisputed junior welterweight champ in 2017 courtesy of a four-belt unification bout vs. Julius Indongo, “Bud” moved up to welterweight and easily dispatched Jeff Horn by TKO last April, then wiped out Jose Benavidez Jr in the final round in an October grudge match. His win vs. Benavidez was the most-watched boxing or MMA fight on US television in 2018, peaking at 2.7 million viewers. This is only Crawford’s second PPV, with his first one in 2016 against Viktor Postol doing a money-losing 50,000-60,000 buys. Under the ESPN deal, Crawford has certainly elevated his profile a lot more from what it was three years ago.
Khan is a familiar name to boxing fans given his numerous high-profile fights, including a TKO of Paulie Malignaggi in his US debut, his 2010 classic with Marcos Maidana, but also knockout losses to Breidis Prescott, Danny Garcia, and the memorable one-punch melting he suffered vs. Canelo Alvarez. The Englishman holds wins over Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander, and Chris Algieri at welterweight, and after two years out of the ring following the Canelo fight, he won by first-round TKO against Phil Lo Greco and a decision vs. Samuel Vargas in a pair of tune-ups, although Vargas dropped him once and hurt him again later in the fight.
One of the storylines as it pertains to the making of this fight is the fact that Khan had a choice between Crawford or a more financially lucrative and much-discussed domestic clash with Kell Brook. Top Rank gave Khan a minimum $5 million guarantee, which he’s accepted over the possibility of making at least $10 million in a non-title fight vs. Brook. That $5 million combined with whatever Crawford stands to make is pretty much why this fight is on PPV.
There is also the demand for Crawford to face the likes of Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman, and Shawn Porter, the other champions at 147 lbs, but all of them are booked through March, and are under the PBC banner, so making those fights could be tricky.
And yes, a man nicknamed “Bud” is fighting on 4/20. We see what you did there, Top Rank.