It’s not the fight anyone, likely outside the challenger and people close to him, wanted.
It’s the fight everyone is going to get on Saturday night (PPV/BLK Prime, 9 PM EST).
Maybe someday we will finally see Terence Crawford-Errol Spence. If we do, this Saturday will be seen as just one more step along the way. If we don’t, this fight more than any other in Crawford’s career will stand out as the one that happened instead.
For the first time since 2018, Crawford will be fighting someone ranked in the top ten by TBRB or Ring at welterweight two fights in a row. It’s Crawford’s first start in a year and third calendar year in a row with only one contest. At 35, will the inevitable passage of time and inactivity catch up to him?
David Avanesyan, with six knockout wins in a row, will try to find out.
Let’s get into it.
Stats and Stakes
Title: WBO welterweight (2018-Present, 5 defenses)
Previous Titles: WBO Lightweight (2014-15, 2 Defenses); Lineal/TBRB/Ring Lightweight (2014-15); WBO Light Welterweight (2015-17, 6 Defenses); Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBC Jr. welterweight (2016-17, 3 Defenses); WBA Super Lightweight (2017); IBF Jr. Welterweight (2017)
Weight: 146 ½ lbs.
Hails from: Omaha, Nebraska
Record: 38-0, 29 KO
Press Rankings: #1 (ESPN), #2 (TBRB, Ring)
Record in Major Title Fights: 16-0, 13 KO
Last Five Opponents: 151-9-2 (.938)
Notable Outcomes, Ring/TBRB Rated Foes: Ricky Burns UD12; Yuriorkis Gamboa TKO9; Ray Beltran UD12; Thomas Dulorme TKO6; Dierry Jean TKO10; Viktor Postol UD12; John Molina TKO8; Felix Diaz RTD10; Julius Indongo KO3; Jeff Horn TKO9; Egidijus Kavaliauskas TKO9; Shawn Porter TKO10
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Jose Benavidez TKO12; Amir Khan TKO6; Kell Brook TKO4
Title/Previous Titles: None*
Weight: 146 ¾ lbs.
Hails from: Las Vegas, Nevada
Record: 29-3-1, 17 KO, 1 KOBY
Press Rankings: #8 (Ring), #9 (TBRB, ESPN)
Record in Major Title Fights: 1st Title Opportunity (2-1, 1 KO, 1 KOBY including interim/subtitle fights)
Last Five Opponents: 105-10-3 (.903)
Notable Outcomes, Ring/TBRB Rated Foes: None
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Shane Mosley UD12; Lamont Peterson L12
*Held WBA interim/regular title
The Pick: Avanesyan has been on a decent roll overseas after falling short in trips to the US to face Lamont Peterson and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Since the loss to the latter, Avanesyan’s sole stoppage loss, Avanesyan has done nothing but win including a fun stoppage win in the UK over Liam Taylor. None of his last six wins is in the same stratosphere of talent as Crawford. Part of the disappointment about the failure to make Crawford-Spence is that the separation between the two of them and the field is so wide it makes everything else second best.
This isn’t even second best.
Avanesyan is slower than Crawford, has shorter arms, and the sort of high guard pressing he’s done on his winning streak looks like target practice for a sharp shooter like Crawford. Crawford can sometimes start slow and Avanesyan may look spry in that window. The window, if it opens at all, will close in two to three rounds and Crawford will take the fight over. The pick is Crawford by stoppage in a fight that, for those who see it, just makes them wonder how much longer they’ll have to wait for Spence.
Additional Weekend Picks
Teofimo Lopez TKO Sandor Martin
Rold Picks 2022: 55-17
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com