Terence Crawford – a modern Sugar Ray Leonard?

Terence Crawford
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Promoter Bob Arum seems to think Terence Crawford will rank among the best

AMIR KHAN has been warned that in Terence Crawford he is about to fight a modern day version of Sugar Ray Leonard.

He challenges the WBO welterweight champion, widely considered the second finest fighter in the world, at New York’s Madison Square Garden on an occasion that could yet end his career.

Crawford’s decorated promoter Bob Arum also works with Vasyl Lomachenko, the only fighter even more highly rated than Crawford, handled both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in the past era, and also promoted Leonard, among the finest of all time.

The 31-year-old Crawford has so far won six world titles in three separate divisions, and at the final press conference for Saturday’s fight, Arum said: “Anybody who knows anything in boxing knows that someone like Terence Crawford comes along very seldom.

“The closest I know that I promoted was the great Sugar Ray Leonard. Terence reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard.

“I’m not going to get into who would have won between those two, but Terence is really something special.

“I’m so delighted that we’ve been able to arrange this fight with Terence against Amir Khan, who I have always been an admirer of.”

Khan, 32, recognises Crawford represents his most complete ever opponent but has taken confidence from reuniting with Virgil Hunter, the trainer who oversaw his most impressive run.

“This is the top fight for me, fighting a world champion like Terence who is number one or two in the world,” he said.

“That’s great motivation for me knowing I am fighting the best out there. I’m focused for this fight and I know I can’t make any mistakes.

“He can see openings and I can’t make those for him. Maybe my last performance against Samuel Vargas got me this fight.

“I’m back with my old trainer Virgil Hunter, who I’m happiest with. He’s been the best trainer for me.

“Hopefully, on Saturday, another dream will come true and I will be world champion again.”

Crawford is perhaps under growing pressure, not only through Khan being considered a significant underdog but after Lomachenko excelled in stopping Anthony Crolla last week and with the growing interest in him fighting IBF champion and fellow American Errol Spence.

“I don’t believe any fight I have is just another fight,” he said. “Every one is part of my legacy.

“That’s why I want the biggest fights out there and Amir Khan came up because he was the best out there. I could have taken (Luis) Collazo, but that wasn’t the fight I wanted to take.

“Amir Khan is a great fighter. You can’t take that away from him. He’s undefeated in the welterweight division, so I need to take another step up.”

::Amir Khan fights Terence Crawford live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday 20th April. For more information

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