Terence “Bud” Crawford defeated José Benavidez, knocking him out 18 seconds from the end of the twelfth round to retain the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Crawford had dropped Benavidez with a right hand 46 seconds into the same round. Then, he finished it off with more right hands.
After referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the fight, Crawford showed his tongue to his opponent, who had made the fight personal by insulting Crawford for months.
“It feels great to shut up someone who’s been talking for so long,” Crawford said. “I feel calm”.
Crawford, 31, could now expect a unification fight with International Boxing Federation monarch Errol Spence Jr., something promoter Bob Arum has said he would like to finalize sometime in 2019. The only problem is that Spence’s promoter is Al Hayman, but Arum has considered that this difficulty can be overcome.
Crawford (34-0, 25 knockouts), was at first or second place on the lists of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and performed proficiently in the first half of the fight held in his hometown.
Some 13,000 people watched the fight live, including billionaire Warren Buffett, a friend of Crawford.
Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs) began to tire in the seventh round after Crawford hit him several times to the body. Crawford started the fight orthodoxly but fought mostly as a southpaw.
At 26, Benavidez looked quite dynamic, trying to get his opponent to get close to him even though Crawford was clearly in control of the fight. Benavidez showed renewed verve in the 10th round, when he threw a couple of punches.
“I gave him a good fight,” he stressed. “I don’t think he thought I was going to put up a good fight. But he is one of the best. We put on a great show for the fans. “