Nothing quite sells fights like true distaste and animosity. Just ask Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor who, despite what happened after their bout, still set a UFC record for most projected PPV buys in company history.
It’s no different in boxing, especially for WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on Saturday in his home city of Omaha, Nebraska. In what was first met by critics as simply a stay-busy fight, Crawford’s title defense against fellow unbeaten Jose Benavidez Jr. at CHI Health Center (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET) has escalated into much more.
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Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), a former undisputed junior welterweight champion who’s among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, said the war of words between the two began in February when Crawford attended a Top Rank event in Corpus Christi, Texas. Benavidez (27-0 ,18 KOs), who fought on the card, boldly approached Crawford to call him out.