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Mark Kriegel: Crawford vs Benavidez is a really good fight

The author and analyst shares his thoughts on Bud Crawford’s next fight.

Terence Crawford v Jeff Horn Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

He’s passionate as all hell, a fan first, and so, Mark Kriegel is like us, in that he wants a good scrap, wants to see a “fan friendly” fight between Terence Crawford and Jose Benavidez Jr.

But he’s also part of the ESPN fight calling crew, with Joe Tessitore and Tim Bradley, and those guys aren’t there to be severe critics, put all the fare they will analyze under a microscope.

Me, I think Terence Crawford is a notch or maybe two better than Benavidez on paper, and within a round, two tops, we will see that play out live on ESPN Saturday night.

Does Kriegel? He should know, he’s done a deeper reportorial dive into Bud and the foe than any reporter out there.

“I think it’s a really good fight,” the analyst, a quite accomplished author, told me on Thursday. “I think Benavidez is a real opponent, he’s bigger, taller and until a few days ago, angrier. Now, I don’t know if that helps or not. I think Benavidez believes Crawford stole his shine, that he was supposed to be the standard bearer for Top Rank.”

This piece here shows you why Benavidez might have deep inside a crucial catalyst that could help him outperform my expectations.

More from Kriegel — his reporting shows that there is concern about the above-the-right-knee region that was pierced by a bullet, and that the fighter’s ex-conditioning coach Alex Ariza believes his mobility could be hampered. Kriegel then trotted out a couple scenarios where he could see Benavidez get some good work done — like with the body work that was of such a caliber that he was dropping grown men as a teen.

His body work was in evidence in his last fight:

But Frank Rojas is not Terence Crawford, and the same punch wouldn’t make Bud blink hard. Or so I think. We will hope this plays out in that Bud gets tested. No, Kriegel doesn’t think that fight plays out as it did in the Rojas tango, but “do I think it’s a mismatch or BS fight? No!”

I tend to think that might only happen down the line, Bud REALLY being tested, against, say, an Errol Spence.

Kriegel too is quite keen for that to get made, he shared. He said that he was thinking, like us, that Mikey Garcia was serious about meeting Errol Spence but was mystified, like many of us, how that pairing just evaporated. The analyst said that within the weights parameters, it makes much sense that Garcia gets paired with Vasyl Lomachenko, and that Crawford meets Spence.

“There should be a groundswell,” the New Yorker stated. “But expectations in boxing fans are dim. It took more time to make Pacquiao vs Mayweather than it took to do the whole Ali-Frazier trilogy!”

Darn right, the fan in Kriegel has prodded at Bud, asked if and when we see him vs the Texan Spence.

“I asked Crawford the question, and when he did a contract renewal with Top Rank, he came out of there of the belief that Crawford versus Spence would get made.”

Yeah, that’s the super fight atop Kriegel’s Hope It Gets Made list. Second on his list?

“Loma against Mikey,” he answered. And but of course, he’s hoping all the powers that be don’t overmarinate the Deontay Wilder vs Anthony Joshua matchup.

Excessive marination, let’s have that concept out the window for The Year in Boxing 2019, right? Your thoughts, readers?

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