Crawford, Khan make weight for 147-lb title clash

Boxing


NEW YORK — Welterweight world titlist Terence Crawford and challenger Amir Khan have been all business in the build-up to their fight and that continued on Friday at the weigh-in at Madison Square Garden.

Both appeared to easily make weight early Friday afternoon inside the Garden’s expo center before appearing at a ceremonial public weigh-in later in the afternoon inside the main arena, where they will meet in the main event of the first Top Rank Boxing on ESPN pay-per-view card on Saturday (9 p.m. ET with preliminary bouts on ESPN2 beginning at 6 p.m. ET).

Crawford and Khan both looked strong and fit and came in under the 147-pound welterweight limit, with three-division titleholder Crawford weighing 146.4 pounds for his second title defense and former unified junior welterweight world titlist Khan weighing 146.6 pounds.

Crawford, one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, is the heavy favorite. He said he wants to show that he is “the No. 1 welterweight in the division.”

But Crawford, who will earn a minimum of $5.5 million, continued to show respect for Khan, whose minimum guarantee is $5 million.

“He’s fast, he boxes real well, he got good legs,” Crawford said. “I want to put on a great performance and I’m just ready to go out there and display my talents.”

Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), 32, of England, is striving for his third win in a row since returning from a two-year layoff after suffering a harsh knockout challenging Canelo Alvarez for his middleweight title in 2016. It would be a major upset.

“This means everything to me, my career. I worked very hard for his opportunity once again,” said Khan, who has never lost as a welterweight. “This is my opportunity. This is my time now where I’m gonna grab it with both hands. I have the opportunity to fight one of the best fighters in the world and for another world title. I’ve trained my heart out. I trained very hard for this and I will be more than ready.”

He said he can win if he fights smartly and implements the plan devised by trainer Virgil Hunter.

“It’s all about being smart and sticking to the game plan,” he said. “Virgil Hunter, my trainer, has given me a great game plan to follow. I have to stick to that throughout the whole fight and I have to be very smart. If (Crawford) wants to put pressure on me and fight me then he can do that and I will have answers. If he wants to try to box me then we know how to box too. If he wants to go southpaw, orthodox, we will have answers.”

Lightweight Teofimo Lopez Jr. (12-0, 10 KOs), 21, a New York native based in Las Vegas, struggled to make the 135-pound weight limit for his 12-round co-feature against former European champion Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs), 31, of Finland.

Multiple Lopez camp members told ESPN that he was about 142 pounds on Thursday night but he made exactly 135 pounds, doing so having to strip naked. “I’m glad that’s over,” Lopez, the 2018 ESPN prospect of the year, said afterward.

Tatli weighed 134.8 pounds for his second fight outside of Finland and first in the United States.

Featherweight prospect and 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs), 21, a southpaw from Newark, New Jersey, weighed 125.8 pounds, the same as former junior lightweight world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs), 24, of Puerto Rico, did for their 10-round bout.

Lightweight Felix Verdejo (24-1, 16 KOs), 25, of Puerto Rico, was 135 pounds for his 10-rounder with Bryan Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs), 31, of Costa Rica, who weighed 135.4 pounds. Because Vasquez was over the 135-pound contract limit and the fight is not a title bout, he did not get additional time to make the weight. Instead, the contract was redone for 136 pounds, but Vasquez will be suspended for 90 days following the bout and fined a not-yet-decided percentage of his $60,000 purse — the same purse as Verdejo — according to the New York State Athletic Commission.



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