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Interview: Terence Crawford Speaks on MSG Debut, Manny Pacquiao

It’s hard to figure how experts can discount a fighter as a small, unknown name when all the top contenders are casually ducking him.

WBO junior welterweight champion Terence “Bud’ Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) will defend his title this Saturday night against “Hammerin” Hank Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

For Crawford, this is the beginning and first step of what Top Rank officials hope is a star-studded ascension up the boxing ladder as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fade from the spotlight.

Crawford is making his first official trip to New York City and the "Mecca of Boxing."

For Top Rank and Bob Arum, Crawford at MSG is brilliant for a fighter who drastically needs his fan base to expand if he’s ever to assume the true label of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter.

The Omaha native sat down with me to talk Hank Lundy, fighters ducking him, his pay per view potential and a possible showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

A lot has changed since I interview you almost two years ago, but how do you feel about your standing as one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best?

I mean it’s different, with more people noticing me, more folks now recognize me for my talents and because I’m a world champion now. I wouldn’t be in this sport if I didn’t think I was the best, you feel me?

If you don’t think that you are the best then you are in the wrong sport, and I feel like I am one of the guys that will put boxing on my back and carry the sport for years to come.

How excited are you to be making your Madison Square Garden debut, following in some steep history?

It’s going to be a great night and a great fight. I’m ready to go in and put on a great performance in front of the New York crowd.

Do you have any apprehension about taking on a Philly guy, in what could be deemed a home-fight for him, with family and friends only needing to drive up the New Jersey turnpike to support him?

Naw, I’m not worried about that. I feel like I have my share of fans, and I believe I’ll have more fans rooting me on in the Garden than he will. It’s not going to bother me one bit, and I enjoy the “hostile” territory anyway.

This is a two-part question, but first, how do you feel about supposed top contenders like Provodnikov, Postol, Matthysse and others just casually ducking you when it came time to choose an opponent?

I can’t be concerned about that, and yes I did in fact ask for all of those fights, but Bob Arum and Top Rank said that those guys weren’t available, with most of them turning the fight down. Me myself, I’ll fight the best at any given time.

So with so many guys turning you down, how do you respond to those who question whether you have a big enough name, to carry or prop up a pay per view card?

Me personally, I don’t believe that my name isn’t big enough. I just feel like some fights have to make sense, and if they don’t make sense at that particular time, than you move and patiently wait for those things to happen.

Can you speak on the rumor that Bob Arum shut down a showdown between you and Pacquiao to “protect” you as some claim?

That’s ridiculous in my opinion. I mean I really don’t know, you here a lot of this and that, but I never approached Bob Arum or asked him about it, I just kept it moving. I had a plan B, and now I’m focused on Hank Lundy, and not Manny Pacquiao.

A lot has been made about the back and forth trash-talk between you and Lundy. It’s that drummed up to sell a fight, or true dislike for the Philly fighter?

Naw that’s not hype, I really don’t fucking like that guy. He’s a clown, he talks too much and he says shit that he shouldn’t be saying on Twitter and social media. So I don’t know if he’s trying to sell the fight, but I don’t like Hank Lundy at all.

What about the idea that Lundy has the remedy for your ability to switch styles, punch and adjust?

Everybody has a plan or a remedy until the bell rings. We’ll see if Lundy can back up his talk and figure me out. I’m just going to do my thing.

Any truth to Bob Arum’s claim that you’d like to fight three or four more times this year?

I don’t know about four, but I definitely see myself fighting three more times this year, including Saturday night.

Are you prepared to take that next step in becoming the pound-for-pound best boxer on the planet?

Of course, but it’s starts on Saturday night, with a dominant performance in Madison Square Garden in front of many.

-- Glenn Erby

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