Terence Crawford's former strength and conditioning coach, Jamie Belt, knows a thing about getting a fighter ready - and Terence Crawford. With the talks and speculation about Canelo Alvarez one day fighting Crawford, despite a three-weight different between their current divisions, Belt sees no issues with that based on his experience with Crawford.
Speaking exclusively with ProBox TV News, Belt started with the following.
"The majority of the people Bud spars are twenty pounds heavier than him," Belt told ProBox TV News. "You look at a guy like Steven Nelson. Steven Nelson he fights at [super middleweight] or [light heavyweight] and those guys spar all the time. All of his sparring partners are significantly bigger than him."
Despite this weight jump which seems unthinkable to the average person, as it appears to a logical mind it would be simply a sequel of what we just with Canelo. This past September, Canelo beat up Jermell Charlo who came up two weight classes, but looked to lose his desire to win after the opening bell, when his shots seemingly had no effect on Canelo. Belt recalled being in the gym with Crawford and watching him get the better of top-tier heavyweights, as he seemingly has no doubt in his mind that Crawford is fully capable of competing against any fighter of any size given his freak abilities and athletic strength.
"I've seen Bud get in there with elite heavyweights and give them hell," said Belt. "Not just give them hell, but impose his will."
Crawford earned his career defining win this past summer on July 29th against Errol Spence Jr. in which he bullied Spence Jr knocking him down three times before getting a ninth-round stoppage. A contractual rematch exists for Spence Jr.’s side as Crawford will seemingly face Spence Jr again before going onto other fights, but the performance was dominant that Crawford is viewed as the number-one pound-for-pound fighter, and that a fight with him Canelo is not even seen as unfathomable.
When you hear Belt talk about Crawford’s strength, you get the sense that Crawford’s greatness of being so well-rounded in all aspects of the sport gets overlooked possibly for a high boxing IQ. As Crawford does have a great boxing mind, but he is also one of the strongest fighters in the sport, when you hear Belt recall his story of working with him in the gym.
"I don't think Terence gets enough credit for [how strong he is]," said Belt. "Everyone looks at 'oh, he is always the smaller fighter, he is always this, he is always that.' What did everybody say when he fought Jeff Horn? Jeff Horn is too big. What did everybody say when he fought Kell Brook or Egidijus Kavaliauskas, these guys are big, big guys at [welterweight]. He [doesn't] get enough credit, people just look at Bud when he weighs in, [they don't] look at Bud when he is training. When Bud is just training and not getting ready for a fight, Bud can walk around between 170-180 [lbs]."
The feats of Crawford’s strength seemingly know no bounds as his gym stories are told like ghost stories or mythic tales of a legend to inspire the youth. Belt recalls once having a professional athlete from the NFL, training with the team and Crawford’s strength being shown front-and-center at a world-class level.
“I do a lot of work with NFL players when I have time,” prefaced Belt about a gym story from a couple years ago. “I had an NFL defensive lineman, Harrison Phillips, he plays for the Minnesota Vikings, and he is from Omaha, and he was in my gym lifting. Him and Bud became pretty close. I had Harrison working out one morning about an hour before Bud came in. Harrison is about 6’4” or 6’5”, probably about 320 [lbs], was drafted [in the NFL] in the second or third round out of Stanford. He has been playing in the league for [a long time], and is considered one of the strongest defensive linemen in the league. He was deadlifting one day and he was doing sets of three, and I want to say he was doing 495 lbs on the bar.”
Then in came ‘Bud’. Crawford walks into the gym with Croc shoes and a winter coat and begins to heckle Phillips, who wasn’t a fan.
“Bud has a winter coat on and some Crocs, and starts giving Harrison some [expletive],” said Belt. “He told Harrison ‘I can lift that.’ Harrison told him to do it. So Bud gets in there, winter coat, Crocs, and all, squats down grabs the bar lifts it up puts it down, lifts it up, puts it down. Did it three times, perfect form, back didn’t break, no belt, no nothing.”
These are the type of feats and stories of Crawford’s strength that make the closest people to Crawford firmly believe that he can fight Canelo and not just not be overpowered, but also beat the man that some consider the greatest modern boxer of this era.