Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) will be defending his WBO welterweight best this Saturday night against Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), live at Madison Square Garden. It is a fight that Crawford is heavily favored to win. This isn’t necessarily because Khan is a bad fighter, but because Crawford is so highly rated by the boxing public. The vast majority of media outlets have him ranked at least top 3 in their pound-for-pound lists, with many believing he is the best fighter in the world. Should Crawford get past Khan this Saturday, he will have many options that he could face (barring boxing politics). But just how far can he go, what is his ceiling? If he maximizes his potential, where will that leave him?
Before answering those questions, it’s definitely worth noting why Crawford is rated so highly. He originally started his career in the lightweight division (135 pounds) where he won his first world title against Ricky Burns (43-, 16 KOs). Crawford traveled to Burns’ hometown in Glasgow, Scotland and put on a boxing clinic to win the WBO lightweight title. He then defeated Yuriorkis Gamboa (29-2, 17 KOs) who was highly rated at the time, before moving up to 140 pounds. Here he captured the vacant WBO super lightweight title against Thomas Dulorme (23-3-1, 16 KOs). He defended his title a few times before unifying against then-undefeated WBC champ, Viktor Postol. It was supposed to be a 50/50 fight but Crawford exceeded all expectations, easily outboxing the Ukrainian fighter.
Then in 2017, Crawford became the undisputed 140 pound champion when he knocked out Julius Indongo in the fourth round. Crawford captured the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF titles and became the first undisputed champion in eleven years.
Crawford then announced he would be moving to the lucrative welterweight division (147 pounds) and immediately called out WBO champion Jeff Horn (19-1-1, 13 KOs). Crawford got his shot at the title in June of last year, and he battered the Australian on route to a 9th round stoppage. He then defended his WBO title against Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-1, 18 KOs) last October, stopping him in the 12th round. So to sum it all up, he has made his mark in 3 different weight classes and was regarded as the best lightweight in the world, the best super lightweight in the world, and is currently one of the champions at welterweight.
So, what is his ceiling?
I personally believe Crawford, should he maximize his potential, will end up as the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. He is arguably the most versatile fighter in all of boxing, having the ability to fight as both orthodox or southpaw. He is phenomenal when he plays the role of the aggressor as well as the role of the counter puncher. He has more dimensions to his game than anyone else in the welterweight division. Of course, many will point to Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) who currently holds the IBF title. I believe both him and Crawford have solid claims as being the best welterweight on the planet. I also believe they will eventually fight for all the belts and the ‘undisputed’ title, much like Crawford did against Indongo in 2017. I see Spence defeating both Shawn Porter (WBC champion) and Keith Thurman (WBA champion) before having an ultimate showdown with Crawford. And as I’ve written in a previous article , I favor Crawford in that fight. With that victory, Crawford would become the undisputed champion in yet another weight class, and would solidify his position as the best fighter pound-for-pound. However, with that achievement he would also go down as one of the best fighters of all time. Hall of fame status. Undisputed champion in two weight classes.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. However, Crawford has every single tool to achieve this and should he reach his potential, this is where he will end up. The sky is the ceiling for Crawford and by the end of his career I believe he will be a first-ballot hall-of-famer.