Originally, Breidis Prescott (26-4, 20 KO) was supposed to take on undefeated Russian Khabib Allakhverdiev, but the latter suffered an elbow injury that forced him out of the fight.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Allakhverdiev’s replacement would be the hard-punching and undefeated American Terrence Crawford (19-0, 15 KO), per Dan Rafael of ESPN.
The fight will take place on the undercard of Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado II on HBO Boxing After Dark on Saturday, and I’ll be shocked if this one goes the distance.
Prescott is a veteran from Colombia who has been in the ring with some big names and current champions like Alvarado, Amir Khan, Richar Abril and Miguel Vazquez.
But this is the first time many will get a glimpse of Crawford.
Both men have tremendous power, and this should be an exciting appetizer to one of the most anticipated fights of the year. Here’s how you can catch the action:
When: Saturday, March 30 at 10:15 p.m. ET
Where: Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas
Live Stream: HBOGO (Pay Service)
The Book on Prescott
Contender or Gatekeeper?
Who is the 29-year-old Colombian fighter? Is he destined to be a tough fighter that serves as a measuring stick for rising light welterweights, or will he finally challenge for a world title?
It’s easy to see how he could fall into the gatekeeper mold. He has fought several fighters who have gone on to bigger and better things after fighting him.
He famously knocked Khan senseless in the first round of their 2008 bout. Prescott’s massive right hand was the first to expose Khan’s suspect chin/defense.
But Khan isn’t the only current champion Prescott has defeated. He also out-pointed Richar Abril in June 2008.
Despite that success, he has never received a world title opportunity. He won his next fight over Humberto Toledo by disqualification after Toledo bit him, and then lost two fights in a row after that.
Prescott had a tough year in 2011. He lost a close and disputed decision against Paul McCloskey in September, and was stopped for the first time in his career by Alvarado in November of that year.
After two tune-up fights, he’s back attempting to make a move up the 140-pound ladder, but he’ll have a tough and hungry young fighter to deal with on Saturday night.
In the Ring
Prescott is a rangy, hard-punching and sturdy fighter. At 5’11”, he has a height advantage over most of his opponents, but don’t let his lanky frame fool you.
He hits like a ton of bricks. Khan can certainly attest to that.
Prescott is a bit bothered by movement and fighters that make adjustments. Against Alvarado and Vazquez, he was winning the early rounds, but towards the middle rounds he slowed down and both of his opponents made adjustments against him.
Alvarado wound up stopping him, but the light-punching Vazquez just picked him apart for a decision victory, despite the fact that Prescott dropped him in the first round.
Pace and conditioning will be a key for Prescott in this fight. He needs to be sure not to run out of gas, and he’ll be trying to take advantage of his edge in experience as well.
The Book on Crawford
One look at Crawford shows he has the skills to be a very solid light welterweight and welterweight. But he hasn’t faced the type of competition or had the exposure to grab the attention of most people in the boxing world—until now.
This isn’t a championship bout, but it is a great opportunity for Crawford to take a significant step in his career.
He was originally scheduled to fight Robert Osiobe on an un-televised part of the card, but when Allakhverdiev went down, he got the call.
He told Rafael:
I had been training hard for Osiobe and camp was going real good. I feel strong, so this was the right time to take this fight. But I was really surprised. It just came out of the blue.
But I feel like everything happens for a reason and they called my phone for a reason. This fight was meant to be. This opportunity is coming at the right time for me. I feel like I deserve the shot
In the Ring
I’ve seen Crawford fight twice, and both times I’ve come away impressed. He’s extremely smooth, steady, powerful and polished beyond his years.
Take a look at this huge KO over Andre Gorges in April 2012.
The power is evident, but he does seem a bit hurried in the fight. Now take a look at him in his latest bout against Sidney Siqueira.
Here he shows a much more comfortable pace. He switches from orthodox to conventional seamlessly, but still gets the same result.
The KO happens in the last 30 seconds of the sixth round.
You can never tell how the bright lights will affect a fighter the first time he fights on a major network, but from a skills standpoint, Crawford looks very good.
Barring a drowning in the moment experience, I think Crawford stops Prescott in the mid-to-late rounds.
I love his combination of poise, power and fundamentals, and I think Saturday will be the first night the masses are introduced to the newest contender at 140 pounds.
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