Before winning his first world title, Terence Crawford had never fought in front of his hometown fans in Omaha, Nebraska. Now that he’s a two division world champion, Crawford has fought two of his last three fights at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center. On Saturday, it will be three out of his last four.
Crawford returns to the scene of his biggest victory when he defends his WBO light welterweight title for the first time against Haitian-Canadian Dierry Jean on October 24th, 2015.
That career-defining victory was a 9th round destruction of previously unbeaten and former unified featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in June of 2014. Three months before that scintillating win, Crawford won the WBO lightweight title by traveling to Glasgow, England and beating Ricky Burns in his hometown. After beating Gamboa, Crawford then shut out Raymundo Beltran for 12 rounds to close out 2014 as the BWAA and ESPN Fighter of the Year winner.
The lack of marquee opponents at lightweight prompted Crawford to vacate his belt and fight for the WBO 140-pound title last April 8th, 2015 where he scored a 6th round KO win over Thomas Dulorme and become a world champion in a second weight class. On Saturday night, Crawford looks to close the year with a bang against an impressive challenger who cannot be taken lightly.
Second Title Shot
Dierry Jean, the WBO #2 contender at 140 pounds, is a former NABF Lightweight and Light Welterweight champion who’s fought almost exclusively in his adoptive hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In fact, his October 24th date with Crawford is only the third time he will be fighting on U.S soil. His last fight in the U.S. dealt him his first ever career loss. That 12-round UD loss to Lamont Peterson was Jean’s first crack at a world title. He promises to make good on his second chance against Bud Crawford.
In his most recent bout, Jean won a 10-round decision over Jerry Belmontes Jean also holds KO wins over Ivan Cano, Mario Perez and Daniel Ruiz. Jean dropped to lightweight after his competitive loss to Peterson but has moved back to 140 to take this chance of a lifetime.
Who Takes This?
Bookies have Crawford as an overwhelming -2500 favorite against Jean who is going at +1200. The two fighters have a combined record of 55-1 with close to 70% of those victories by knockout so it’s hard not to expect that this one isn’t going the distance. Crawford has the advantage, both in age and in skill. However, Jean is a tough cookie who took a legit 140-pound champion in Peterson to his limits during their 2014 fight.
The fearless Haitian has true KO power in his fists and it will be interesting to see how Crawford takes the punch of a hard-hitting 140 pound fighter because Dulorme wasn’t one. Crawford however, refused to predict a KO, saying for as long as his hand is raised in victory at the end of the fight, that’s what matters. Having said that, it’s possible Crawford would just coast to another sweet 12-round win because he has the skills to outbox the crude Jean. We’re picking Bud Crawford to win by unanimous decision.