Terence Crawford seeks to keep his winning ways streak cooking, as he looks to fell Felix Diaz Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in the big room, in a bout to screen on HBO.
The soft spoken Nebraskan and Diaz came together at an NYC presser, at MSG, on Thursday afternoon to bang the hype drums for the scrap. The promoter is Bob Arum, who promoted his first MSG faceoff in 1970, pitting Muhammad Ali versus Oscar Bonavena.
Arum told watchers that they’d be doing a new form of presser, blowing off an endless stream of ass kissing Thank Yous. And indeed, host Crystina Poncher went right into asking questions of undercard boxers, after Arum told the story of Ali wearing a robe made by Japanese, on a fight held on Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7).
Crawford, headlining for the first time in the big room, said that, “I feel very great about the opportunity to fight at Madison Square Garden in the big arena,” he said. He thanked HBO, (see below), because “they don’t have to put me on the network.” This is his 11th time on HBO? No extra pressure, he said, he is sure of himself and just wants to show his merits.
He was asked about training in Colorado, at high atmosphere. “I’m always prepared,” he said. “Camp was great, like always,” he said.
Does he think Diaz is the toughest on paper, to date, Crawford was asked. We shall have to see, he answered. He told me the same thing Tuesday, during a meet n greet at Modell’s in Times Square.
Diaz said he thinks Crawford is “not invincible” and “I’m here to win.” Why did others blow off the chance to fight Bud? “Since I turned pro, I’ve wanted to fight the best, and he’s among the best,” he said. Diaz, does he have good power at 140? “We have to wait till Saturday, but I really believe this is going to be a war between Terence and I,” he said. Will the DR being in the house? He expects “massive support” from his people at MSG.
Diaz promoter Lou Dibella said his guy wants to fight the best, “may the best man win” and he expects a “rough fight,” and he also thanked HBO.
“You don’t thank networks…fighters shouldn’t thank networks. Networks should thank fighters for showing their talent on their platform,” Arum thundered. Lebron doesn’t do it, he pointed out.
Under-carders got more love than in a typical presser. Shakur Stevenson: “I’m ready to prove I’m the best prospect coming out of the Olympics,” the New Jersey kid, looking to go to 2-0, stated. He said he’d worked in camp with Crawford, and Bud busted on him for lacking power. He felt Bud’s power even when the Nebraskan missed. Bud then said Shakur is an ace prospect.
Jonathan Maicelo meets Ray Beltran Saturday. Maicelo said he “trained hard to win” and the Peruvian knows he’s the underdog, yet again. This lightweight scrap will open the HBO TV slate. Beltran said he’s excited to “put on a good show.” A win will help him, maybe, get his green card, and he will wave that card at Trump Tower when it is in hand.
My take: Props to TR for shaking things up. in fact, the process felt refreshed and streamlined. Yes, maybe some welcome elements got lost. Less Arum, less Dibella, and more boilerplate from young strivers isn’t for the better. Too many blah blah blah thank you and mutual ass smooch sessions is for the better. Ya win, ya lose…