Welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford, ranked as ESPN’s No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter, has mowed through three unbeaten colleagues heading into this fight against Amir Khan, who last fought in the U.S. in 2016-when he was knocked out by Canelo Alvarez. Khan returned home to England for his last two bouts but, in a return stateside, looks to hand Crawford his first loss.
Watch the two fighters face off at Madison Square Garden on April 20 (9 p.m., ESPN PPV).
Here’s how a scout assessed Crawford’s game — and then how Crawford responded to each comment.
ANONYMOUS TRAINER Sometimes he goes out there and knocks guys out. Sometimes he goes out there and uses his speed and his legs when he needs to and outboxes them. His No. 1 strength is adaptability. He’s a complete fighter.
CRAWFORD I was naturally gifted with an ability to move, but my coaches brought it out of me as an amateur. The power came a bit later. A complete fighter can fight going forward or backward, counter, move well and take a punch. I put in a lot of work to learn multiple styles.
TRAINER The guy is really good at being as comfortable as a southpaw as he is orthodox, and that’s very difficult.
CRAWFORD I’m comfortable with either hand. I think all the practice that I had as an amateur going southpaw or orthodox made me what I am today.
TRAINER The first time I ever saw Viktor Postol hurt by a pretty good puncher was against Crawford in 2016. Crawford’s boxing ability is even better than his punching ability. Khan’s speed will get to him a bit, but once Crawford catches up to Khan, I think he’ll knock him out. Middle rounds.
CRAWFORD Before we get in the ring, I can’t speak on anything we don’t know for sure. All that will be answered after the fight.
We also asked a trainer to break down Khan… and let Khan take a few swings back.
ANONYMOUS TRAINER When he gets too over-aggressive and walks into a shot, he gets knocked out sometimes.
KHAN I never think negative like that. Once I step in the ring, I’m sure that I’ll know when to step back and when not to step back and when to easeoff and when not to.
TRAINER His best ability is speed, but he doesn’t use it to its fullest.
KHAN I’ve faced speed and power and, when you use speed, it disarms a fighter. I really feel that I can do that to someone.
TRAINER In the amateurs, you’re taught the 20-point rule. If you win by 20, the fight was automatically stopped. He really liked that. But he falls into that trap. Trying to land 20 punches to 0 is almost impossible. Guys are going to throw back in the pros.
KHAN Look, if he wants to exchange with me, I’m going to be ready. I knocked a lot of people down and knocked a lot of people out in amateurs. I was 17 when I was knocking out men. If [Crawford] think it’s going to be easy with me, then he’s going to be shocked.
TRAINER Khan’s athleticism will give Crawford trouble for a little while, but Crawford is the more complete fighter. At some point, he’ll take Khan out.
KHAN Crawford is not giving me the credit for my power. I believe I’ll win by a unanimous decision.