Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Apr 19, 2019


What: Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan, Welterweights

When: April 20
How to Watch: ESPN PPV 9 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see if Khan can show the world a flaw in Crawford before his chin ultimately fails him.

At this point, the consensus is that Errol Spence Jr. is the only man that can beat Terence Crawford at 147. So, while it is highly unlikely that Amir Khan can beat Crawford and take his WBO Welterweight belt, he could expose some flaws that nobody has seen in Crawford’s 34 professional victories.

If that happens, it will be Khan’s hand speed that unveils Crawford’s issues. Amir Khan has given every fighter he has ever faced issues because of his speed, including Canelo Alvarez against whom he actually led on one scorecard going into the sixth round. You probably don’t remember that about the fight, but you probably do remember this. Such is the issue with Amir Khan; against heavy handed fighters he needs to fight almost perfectly to avoid getting knocked out. No lead is ever safe, and no opponent ever feels out of the fight.

Bob Arum said “This fight, Saturday night, between the champion Terence Crawford and the challenger Amir Khan, will be one of those fights. And people, years from now, long after I’m gone, will remember this fight as a classic fight and they’ll relive and tell it, what happened, to their children and grandchildren.”

There’s only two ways that happens. One, you get a unique and ultra-specific form of Alzheimer’s that leads you to remember only the events of April 20, 2019. Two, Amir Khan somehow exposes a flaw that leads to Terence Crawford’s undoing sometime in the future.

It is very likely that Amir Khan will give Crawford trouble early, until a couple big shots from “Bud” lead to Khan’s highlight-reel demise. But if somewhere along the line Amir Khan exposes a chink in the currently unblemished armor of Terence Crawford then this fight could be very memorable.

What: Shakur Stevenson vs. Christopher Diaz, Featherweights

When: April 20
How to Watch: ESPN PPV 9 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because the step up in competition for Stevenson comes at the most inopportune time.

Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson has been brought along slowly, with only small step ups in competition to this point. As a result, he is 10-0 as a professional and has essentially walked through all of his competition. But, a fight against Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz is not a step up in competition for Stevenson, it is the step up in competition for Stevenson.

Puerto Rico’s Christopher Diaz is 24-1 with sixteen knockouts; his only loss being a decision to Masayuko “The Judge” Ito where he was dropped in the fourth round. Still he was ESPN Deportes’ “Prospect of the Year” in 2016, and the Ito loss was viewed as a sizeable upset. This is a huge step up in competition for Stevenson, and would be a starmaking win for Diaz, who at 24 is only three years younger than his opponent.

Which is why Stevenson’s troubles outside the ring couldn’t come at a worse time. Just a few weeks ago, a video emerged of Stevenson in a vicious street fight that saw him sucker punch a guy, kick him while he was down, and showed his friend punching a woman. While the incident was old, this was the first time the public had seen the video, and as everybody that follows the NFL knows, violence is incredibly different when you have a video.

Maybe Stevenson won’t be bothered by either the competition or the distraction, and he’ll win then move onto bigger and better things. Maybe Stevenson’s a hype job that’s been feasting on inferior competition and would lose to Diaz no matter what. Or maybe, Stevenson will let his mind wander and realize that’s not a mistake you can make against this level of talent. On Saturday, we’ll see.

What: Teofimo Lopez vs. Edis Tatli, Lightweights

When: April 20
How to Watch: ESPN PPV 9 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see what kind of wild shenanigans Lopez pulls to keep the audience excited.

Teofimo Lopez is very good and very cocky. He is far too good for Edis Tatli, a 31-2 Finn who has only fought outside of Finland once, in 2012, but Lopez is not going to win without giving the crowd a show.

Together with his father, Lopez has been talking about how well he would do against Vasiliy Lomachenko and calling for a July fight against the man who was going to fight Loma before a hand injury, Ghana’s Richard Commey. Lopez is too much of an entertainer to simply get the KO win and let Stevenson and Crawford own the ESPN PPV stage, so we know he has to do something interesting against a largely uninteresting opponent.

Maybe he’ll do a fortnite dance and a backflip, maybe he’ll throw up the Heisman pose, or maybe he’ll do something new -- a 420 reference perhaps? But he will do something, and that, along with the likely highlight reel knockout, will be something worth seeing.

What: Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados, Welterweights

When: April 20
How to Watch: Fox 8 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because this is a tough fight that may spell the end for Danny Garcia.

Danny Garcia is done with a loss, and this is not a guaranteed victory. That’s where Philadelphia’s Garcia finds himself after losses to Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman in two of his last three fights.

Garcia is fighting Adrian Granados, a 20-6-2 Mexican who has never been stopped and has only lost to Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner since August 2015. Garcia would likely have taken an easier comeback fight following his loss to Porter, but the welterweight division is too stacked for him to waste time with any fighter with a lesser resume than Granados.

The talent in the division is Garcia’s main issue. While it would seem crazy to write off someone with his resume, in a division with names like Spence, Crawford, Pacquiao, Porter, and Thurman, there is simply no room for a Danny Garcia that’s lost to Granados, especially when you factor in some of Garcia’s more controversial wins, like against Mauricio Herrera. So, Garcia is in a do or die position. With a win, he may be able to sneak back into some big fights at 147. With a loss, he becomes an aging (he’s 31) gatekeeper on the outside looking in.

What: Lucas Browne vs. Dave Allen

When: April 20
How to Watch: DAZN 2 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because not every fight has to have potential title ramifications or historical significance.

Not every fight has to be historic. Not every fight has to be between two legends of the sport, and not every fight has to have title ramifications.

Suffice to say, you probably won’t be telling your grandchildren about the time you watched Lucas Browne fight Dave Allen (unless the April 20, 2019 Alzheimer’s is acting up again). Browne has already been knocked out by Dillian Whyte, who is good but not on the same level as Anthony Joshua (who already knocked him out), Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. He’s good, but he won’t be heavyweight champion and he will not be remembered as an all-time great.

Dave Allen is way worse than that. He’s 16-4 and has already been knocked out twice as a professional. However, he is a huge fan favorite in the U.K. because of his blood and guts style and punching power.

Why should you watch this seemingly insignificant fight? Because, according to Browne “We're going to knock lumps off each other. I think there’s going to be blood, some cuts and some big punches. The fans are going to be the real winners. I genuinely believe this has got the potential to be Fight of the Year if everything gels. He looks like he's started to take things very seriously and you can tell that by the shape he's in. I think you'll see the best versions of us next week."

Even though there’s not huge historical or title implications on the line in this fight, it could be a heavyweight slugfest. And that’s always worth a watch.

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