Terence Crawford may have been auditioning for an April 9 fight with the reportedly retiring Manny Pacquiao. If so, his tenth round TKO stoppage of Dierry Jean might have done the trick -- or maybe, he was too good.
Crawford stopped a spirited and game but overmatched Jean at 2:30 of round 10 when he knocked his opponent down for a third time, prompting referee Tony Weeks to jump in and save the tough challenger from himself, not more than two minutes after Jean waved off his corner from stopping the fight themselves.
Jean went down late in the first round, then again late in round nine. In the 10th, Crawford came out aggressive, looking to close the show in front os his hometown fans.
"When I'm at home I just feel the vibe and the electricity and I just want to go in there and put on a great show," Crawford said of fighting in front of over 11,000 vocal fans in Omaha.
It was certainly a great show for the Nebraskans, as once again Crawford looked like one of the true rising stars in the sport. Whether or not that'll translate to "bigger" stages remains to be seen, but he's building quite a highlight reel, and his personality is also starting to come through, a mix of relaxed politeness and a vicious mean streak.
Crawford (27-0, 19 KO) was able to laugh and joke with Jean (29-2, 20 KO) at the press conference on Thursday, but clearly was here to make a statement against a boastful opposition that talked some trash leading up to the fight.
"You can look to your left and you see those two guys over there who called me out. He called me out twice. Did you get what you was lookin' for?" Crawford asked, his eyes fixed on Jean's corner. "Then his manager guaranteed me that he was gonna walk away to Canada with my belt, from my hometown, and I felt that was disrespectful. Yeah, I take things personal."
Even when Jean was able to land some clean, hard right hands, Crawford seemed more annoyed with himself for allowing those punches to get in than actually bothered by the blows. Each time he did get hit with a good right hand, Crawford shook his head and then stepped up the pressure, coming right at Jean and all but daring him to try to do it again, and leave himself open for return fire from Crawford.
When Kellerman brought up a potential April 9 fight with Manny Pacquiao, the Omaha crowd responded loudly. Crawford stayed calm, and said he was ready.
"I'm ready. Bob, make it happen. I'm ready. Let's see if we can make that happen," he said. Asked how he thought the fight would go, Crawford smiled and said, "You just have to watch it and see."