Terence Crawford Improves To 34-0 After 12th Round KO of Jose Benavidez Jr.
Boxing fans were given an interesting matchup for free this Saturday, when top three pound-for-pound fighter Terence Crawford met up and comer Jose Benavidez Jr. in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Not only did this fight have the WBO welterweight title on the line, but it was contested between two undefeated boxers who have major bad blood with each other. After all, the fight almost ended before it began when Crawford threw a punch during the weigh-ins.
Here’s the recap of the action.
Benavidez opens up the round on the move and comes with the jab straight away. He forces Crawford to backpedal through much of the opening minutes, but also doesn’t throw power shots because of the threat of Crawford’s counter punches. Towards the end of the round, Crawford begins to attack a bit more and makes it back into the middle of the ring. In the closing seconds, both fighters land body shots.
The second round started off a bit slower, but Crawford landed the first big blows and went to the body for a strong combination. Benavidez wasn’t affected much and continued to stalk, using a low guard and keeping his hands at waist level. The very end of the round had an explosion of action, with neither fighter coming away with a clear edge form the exchange. Benavidez, though, had a strong body shot at the bell.
Crawfrod began round three trying to establish the jab, and scored a similar body shot to his first of the second round. He did more of the attacking work in the mid part of the round, going around the higher guard of Benavidez and attacking the sides of the body. This continued throughout the round every time Benavidez had his hands up. Crawford also landed at the end of the round, splitting the guard of Benavidez.
Benavidez came back into his own attacking form in the fourth round, but Crawford seemed to eat the blows well and stayed on the offensive rather than falling back again. Still, this round would be the first one that Benavidez appeared to clearly win with his higher paced strategy.
The trend that started in round four continued, and Benavidez stunned Crawford a bit with his power hand. For the first time in the fight, Crawford would have to clinch to stop one of Benavidez’s advances. Within the last ten seconds, Crawford threw a flurry of punches and landed some of them, gaining back some favor with the judges for this round.
Crawford went back to the body in the sixth round, and with about a minute left, both fighters exchanged a lot of blows in the center of the ring. They remained here for awhile, with Crawford going low once again and finding another familiar combination that attacked his opponent’s sides. Despite taking more blows when it comes to volume, Benavidez shrugged off the damage as the round came to a close.
Benavidez didn’t do much through the early part of round seven, trying to stalk Crawford around the ring in a similar way to what he did earlier in the fight. However, he failed to actually throw punches and Crawford wasn’t in danger. On the other hand, Crawford went with the same body strike combinations that he had used all fight long. The entire round didn’t have as much action as the previous ones, from either boxer.
The slow striking from Benavidez continued in the eighth round, where it appears that he finally ran out of energy. His striking didn’t look threatening, and Crawford had the much more active feet. Crawford’s more accurate punches targeted the center mass of his opponent, and he found a combination there just before the bell.
This is the round where Crawford really started looking for the win, getting more aggressive with the strikes to the body and using head and foot movement to avoid the slower hands of Benavidez. The most notable thing in this round wasn’t the offense, but Crawford’s movement, which forced a tired Benavidez to chase him until the round’s end.
Crawford was able to get Benavidez against the ropes not long into the tenth round, but Benavidez managed an escape after Crawford took a patient strategy to attacking. After some attempts from Benavidez to get back into the fight, however, Crawford would catch him against the ropes once again and land before a second escape happened and allowed Benavidez to come with another flurry before the end of the round.
Benavidez was the one to advance in round eleven, but Crawford took advantage of this and used more counter punches and jabs while retreating. Still, it looked like his fatigue was too strong to seriously do much other than landing a few good combinations that were too little too late.
In the final round, Crawford did his best to look for the knockout. He started out putting Benavidez against the ropes and trying to do what he failed to do earlier, but the more impressive move happened in the middle of the ring when Crawford landed a massive left hand to take Benavidez off his feet and score the first knockdown of the fight. The actual knockout wouldn’t be as impressive, but would come immediately afterwards when Benavidez failed to defend himself against the ropes.
The result improves Crawford’s record to 34-0, and is his second win of the year after he defeated Jeff Horn in June. Benavidez, meanwhile, will fall to 27-1 after being dealt the first loss of his career. This fight also ensures that Crawford will keep his status, which is currently as one of the top two or three boxers in the entire world depending on who you ask.