Terence Crawford to Defend WBO Welterweight Title Against Undefeated Benavidez

Welterweight boxing champion Terence Crawford will defend his WBO title against a dangerous and undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr. in Omaha, Neb. this Saturday.

Updated: Oct. 11, 2018 • 5:50 PM ET

Omaha, Neb. will host hometown fighter Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez this weekend.

One of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world will make his return to the ring on Saturday in Omaha, Neb., as undefeated WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford will defend his belt against undefeated challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. in a 12-round fight.

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), currently slotted No. 2 and No. 3 in The Ring Magazine and ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, respectively, most recently defeated Jeff Horn by ninth-round TKO in June. The victory gave him the WBO welterweight crown and a championship in a third weight class. He has also held the WBO lightweight title and was the unified super lightweight champion with key victories over Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, Viktor Postol, Thomas Dulorme and Raymundo Beltran.

Crawford, began boxing at seven years old and only lost 12 times in 70 amateur fights. Before turning pro, he had wins over Mikey and Danny Garcia, who both went on to become world champions. Crawford is an Omaha native, so he’ll have the added advantage, or perhaps a small amount of pressure, of fighting in his hometown on Saturday, a place where he has fought many times before.

Asked why he granted Benavidez a fight, Crawford said via the Associated Press, “Oh, why not? Why not? Talk is cheap. We’re in the same division, same promoter, it’s an interesting fight. He’s always saying I’m fighting smaller guys. It’s the chance to see what he’s made of.”

Benavidez is 27-0 (18 KO’s) and most recently defeated Frank Rojas by first-round knockout on the Crawford-Horn undercard. The-26 year-old and Crawford got into a verbal altercation in February, during which Crawford asked Benavidez to step outside to settle the dispute. Benavidez declined, but commented on the incident roughly a week later.

“I told him he was next,” Benavidez said via the Ring. “All he does is run his mouth but keeps dodging me, then tries to act all tough, saying let’s go outside. So why outside when I was right in front of him?”

The Panorama City, Calif. native is confident heading into the fight.

“I have every possible tool in the book to beat [Terence Crawford],” Benavidez said. “I’m stronger, I’m bigger, I’m a natural 147-pounder since I was 13 years old; he came up from 135. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m going to beat him.”

Benavidez will fight for a title against one of the best in the world just two years after being shot in the leg while walking down the street in his hometown. The bullet almost forced him to retire, but he’ll have the chance to prove he belongs on the pound-for-pound list this Saturday.


• The WBO welterweight title fight will take place on Saturday, Oct. 13 and can be seen live on ESPN at 10:30 p.m.

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