Following a tenth round stoppage of former two-time Welterweight world champion Shawn Porter in October of last year in defense of his WBO World Welterweight championship, undefeated multi-division world champion Terence Crawford has spent the majority of his time engaging in battles outside the Boxing ring. First with his former promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, Inc. and in negotiations to try and make a fight with undefeated IBF/WBC/WBA world champion Errol Spence for what would be for the Undisputed Welterweight championship of the world, a reality.
Both arguably has resulted in over a year of inactivity for the current WBO world champion. This will change on Saturday, December 10th when Crawford returns to the ring in front of his hometown in Omaha, NE at the CHI Health Center to defend his championship against longtime top contender and current European Welterweight champion David Avanesyan in a scheduled twelve round bout that will headline a card broadcast on pay-per-view. This fight comes in the aftermath of a failed negotiation between Crawford and Spence for what has become a highly anticipated bout amongst both fans and experts alike. The failed negotiation however, has led to the entry into the sport of digital subscription streaming platform BLK Prime, who has reportedly guaranteed Crawford $10 Million for this bout against to headline the platform’s first Boxing card.
Although the circumstances of the failed negotiation between Crawford and Spence and to be more specific, Crawford and the Primer Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters and it’s founder Al Haymon is a reflection of a long-standing flaw of the business side of the sport that more often than not does not serve in Boxing’s best interest or the fighters that compete in it, the danger for a fighter in Crawford’s position is the potential to be distracted. Not only will this fight be taking place in Crawford’s hometown, but one does have to wonder if all of the talk regarding Errol Spence has had an impact on the champion’s preparation and focus going into this title defense. Fighters are after all as human as the rest of us and competing in your hometown where you are the marquee attraction can obviously have it's own distractions and stresses on it’s own. When you add into the equation that most of the talk going into this bout is not about the fight itself, but a fight that was not made, it is logical to at least question whether the champion’s focus is more on the fight that couldn’t be made as opposed to the fight that was made.
In David Avanesyan, Crawford will face a longtime top contender in the Welterweight division that was for a period of time the number one contender in the WBA’s Welterweight ratings. Although the biggest victory in Avanesyan ‘s career came against a faded legend in Shane Mosley, whom he scored a twelve round unanimous decision over in May 2016, he will enter into this fight unbeaten in his last six fights having stopped all six of his previous opponents inside the distance. Off of the string of knockouts he has compiled as well as his status as the current European Welterweight champion, Avanesyan has worked his way to the number six ranking in the WBO ratings. One might argue that the circumstances of the failed negotiations between Crawford and Spence, as well as the champion’s desire to get back in active competition rather than sit out until 2023 has given Avanesyan the perfect opportunity as the highest rates available contender who was willing to face Crawford as he has been active and is being viewed by some as an afterthought.
Avanesyan does have deceptive hand speed and has shown punching power in his recent fights. The task that will be for the challenger in his first world championship fight will be one in two parts, which may prove to be easier said than done. He is going into the Boxing equivalent of a lion’s den in facing Crawford in his hometown where all the crowd support will be in favor of the champion. While crowd support is only one aspect, Avanesyan as the for lack of a better term “Road Fighter” must find a way to take the crowd’s enthusiasm and potential influence out of the equation. Although it will not be easy to accomplish given that he is fighting an elite level fighter with an evolving skillset in Crawford, Avanesyan needs to establish early that he will be dictating the combat and must not allow the champion to get into any sort of rhythm.
Crawford has always been very compact with his offense and is highly skilled when it comes to hand speed, power, and ability to counter punch. Avanesyan must not be reckless in how he approaches Crawford and needs to be both tactical and pick his spots with caution. While a fighter entering a fight with a six fight knockout streak may give an appearance that said fighter will have the edge in power, Terence Crawford has shown the ability to end a fight quickly if the opportunity presents itself and if what has gone on for the champion in recent times outside the ring from his split and legal dispute with his former promoter to the failure in negotiations for a more lucrative fight has not taken his mind off the task at hand, this fight could end quickly if Avanesyan is not strategic in his approach. The challenger must however, also find a balance between being tactical, but at the same time not giving Crawford too much respect where it might allow the champion to sway what could potentially be closely fought rounds, particularly early in the fight.
In all honesty with the reader, despite Avanesyan’s credentials as a longtime contender and current European Welterweight champion, this has all the appearance, particularly amongst those for whom Boxing is of casual interest, of merely another title defense by an elite world champion in Terence Crawford with an eye towards more lucrative bouts that might come in the future. If Crawford is not on his “Fight Game” however, Avanesyan does have the skills and experience as someone who is used to fighting in an opponent’s hometown/country where he could pull off an upset and immediately halt any and all discussion of potential fights that could come for Crawford. The Welterweight division is historically one of the most talent-deep in the entire sport and even the best of the best fighters can have an off night in the ring, especially if as a human being their focus might be diverted by too many distractions outside the ring. We will see if David Avanesyan can seize the opportunity that is in front of him when he challenges Terence Crawford for the WBO Welterweight championship of the world on Saturday, December 10th.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Crawford vs. Avanesyan takes place on Saturday, December 10th at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, NE. The fight as well as it’s full undercard can be seen on digital streaming platform BLK Prime on a pay-per-view basis for $39.99. The card will begin at 6PM ET/3PM PT with preliminary bouts with the pay-per-view portion of the card beginning at 9PM ET/3PM PT. In addition to BLK Prime, the card will also be available to purchase on traditional cable and satellite providers. Visit: https://ppv.blkprime.com/pay-per-view to order on BLK Prime and for a list of compatible streaming devices, platforms, and Smart TVs or contact your local cable or satellite provider for ordering information.
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