TERENCE CRAWFORD DOMINATES FELIX DIAZ
His next fight could bring him all four 140-pound belts.
Or it could bring him Manny Pacquiao.
Crawford remained unbeaten when Diaz’s corner stopped the fight after the 10th round of the 140-pound fight and looks ready for whichever of his options comes later this year.
“I’ve been saying that for years now. It’s not up to me. But everybody wants to know who’s the next guy that Terence Crawford wants to fight,” Crawford said. “I’ll fight anybody. It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Crawford had dominated after a couple close early rounds and Diaz’s left eye appeared swollen shut, making him helpless to spot Crawford’s lightning-fast combinations.
Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs) toyed with Diaz in the 10th, backing him into the corner and then, rather than throw any punches, patting him on the head. He then unloaded a couple hard shots toward the end of the round, prompting trainer Joel Diaz to tell referee Steve Willis his fighter could no longer continue.
Afterward, Crawford named longtime superstar Pacquiao and welterweight champion Keith Thurman as fighters he’d want if he moves up in weight. But he may stick around at 140 a little longer to grab the two belts he doesn’t own.
Crawford successfully defended his WBC and WBO titles. Promoter Bob Arum said the Omaha, Nebraska, fighter would return this summer and they could look to unify the titles against Julius Indongo, who holds the WBA and IBF 14-pound titles.
“Once he gets all four belts he’s going to fight Pacquiao with my new partner Warren Buffett,” Arum said.
Diaz (19-2, 9 KOs), lost for the first time at 140 pounds and was stopped for the first time.
The shorter Diaz tried to get inside but was kept away by Crawford in the first round, though he landed a couple hard shots when he closed the distance in the second — when he won the only round he was credited with on one judge’s card. The fighters stared at each other after the round ended, but Crawford seized control from there.
“I knew he was frustrated,” Crawford said.
Boxing throughout from the southpaw stance, he rarely let Diaz get close again, using left uppercuts and combinations. He put his 4-inch reach advantage and 3-inch height to good use, and when being bigger wasn’t good enough, Crawford relied on being faster, spinning out of trouble any time Diaz lunged forward.
“No excuses, I lost to the best guy at 140 pounds,” Diaz said through promoter Lou DiBella.
Crawford stuck out his tongue at Diaz after one exchange in the seventh, showing no fear. Diaz’s face was swollen by the ninth and ringside doctors checked his eye before the start of the 10th.
Joel Diaz gave Felix one last round but it was clear there was no point.
“I stopped the fight because I didn’t want him to take any more punishment,” Joel Diaz said. “Enough was enough.”
On the undercard, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson won for the second time as a pro when his fight against Carlos Suarez was stopped in the first round.
Ray Beltran then scored a devastating and scary second-round knockout of Jonathan Maicelo, whose back of the head hit the canvas with a loud thud and was carried from the ring on a board.
Beltran (33-7-1, 21 KOs) had been knocked down in the first round after the fighters banged heads and appeared to be losing the second when he suddenly drilled Maicelo with a left hook that knocked him backward.
Beltran, a native of Ahome, Mexico now living in Phoenix, became the IBF No. 1 contender in the lightweight division. As important to him, Beltran thinks it will help him in his quest to get his green card. He vowed this week that if he got it, he would walk straight to New York’s Trump Tower so he could flash it at President Donald Trump’s building.
“I should have no problem getting my green card now,” he said.
Maicelo (25-3, 12 KOs) appeared to be OK as he was carried out, motioning his hand to a crowd that included many of the Peruvian’s fans. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital.