Over the last three years, Terence Crawford has gone from being an obscure lightweight prospect from Nebraska to one of the rising stars of the HBO boxing brand and Top Rank's stable, winning world titles in impressive fashion at 135 and 140 pounds, and continuing to impress with his combination of skill, power, and patience.
He's a fighter who can seemingly flip a switch and put away opponents or take over a fight in dominant fashion, going from losing rounds to looking two levels above his opposition on a moment's notice. Over these last few years, my views on Crawford have continued to shift, and I thought it would be fun again to go back and look over the immediate post-fight recaps from the site for each of the bouts featured in the HBO Greatest Hits package you can watch above. Since his HBO debut, I have gone from seeing Terence Crawford as a talented but potentially dull fighter to one of the most intriguing, skilled fighters in the sport.
Crawford (26-0, 18 KO) returns on Saturday night against Dierry Jean on HBO, from Omaha.
UD-10 Breidis Prescott (2013)
"Nebraska's Crawford showed some slickness and skills, in one of those performances from a largely unknown fighter that TV commentators feel the need to apologize for, and also insult fans watching who may not be "into" fights like this one -- and it was pretty bad, be real -- by explaining that, you know, they're just too stupid to appreciate what's happening. ... But anyway, it might not be worth writing off Crawford as some unwatchable type. Prescott is just not that good of a fighter, and had a hard time dealing with Crawford, who showed some really nice defensive reflexes in particular, and also closed the night nicely, attacking in a 10th round that he could have cruised through and easily won the fight."
TKO-6 Alejandro Sanabria (2013)
"Crawford may have trouble meeting the expectations that HBO seems to have for him -- not because of his talent, which seems legit, and not because his fights are too boring, because plenty of fairly dull fighters become stars (what's your favorite Canelo Alvarez fight?), but because he's so laid back and so relaxed both in the ring and behind the microphone that it's worth wondering if he has "star quality." There are lots of fighters we've seen that are this good -- or at least what we've seen from him so far -- that don't become stars. Is he good enough to overcome his (lack of) personality and become a bona fide star anyway? That remains to be seen. ... I'm not sold on Crawford being the second coming at 135 just yet, but he's got an arsenal, he's got smarts, and he's so relaxed that the constant pointing out of how relaxed he seems is actually understandable."
TKO-9 Yuriorkis Gamboa (2014)
"Terence Crawford looked a little surprised by the speed of Yuriorkis Gamboa to start the night, but once he got the timing down, he turned the tide and took over tonight's HBO Boxing After Dark main event in front of a raucous hometown crowd in Omaha, Nebraska, knocking Gamboa down four times en route to a ninth round stoppage to retain his WBO lightweight title. Crawford may have lost the first four rounds (BLH gave Gamboa three of the first four), but in round five he decked Gamboa hard, and took over the fight from there."
UD-12 Ray Beltran (2014)
"Crawford wasn't sensational in the way that he was in June against Yuriorkis Gamboa, but he was the clearly superior fighter against Beltran, who fought as well as he could but was simply outgunned. Beltran managed to land some good, clean shots, but he couldn't dent Crawford, who showed his toughness and his chin against a true lightweight, and a strong one at that."
TKO-6 Thomas Dulorme (2015)
"Terence Crawford scouted for a round, then another round, then another round -- five rounds overall. As soon as he felt totally comfortable and got an opening in round six, though, the former lightweight champ and new junior welterweight titleholder struck like a cobra, and put Thomas Dulorme away with three knockdowns. ... If this is the sort of thing he can do with a solid opponent and a big junior welterweight, the division could be his for the taking pretty soon."