One of the best fighters in the sport, Shakur Stevenson, thinks Terence Crawford would beat Canelo if they ever met.
Crawford became the undisputed champion at welterweight with a one-sided win over Errol Spence in July, and Stevenson – a friend and training partner of Crawford – believes the Nebraska native could go up three weight classes to beat super-middleweight ruler Canelo Alvarez.
That has been deemed unlikely by Crawford’s former promoter Bob Arum, who reckoned Canelo would win comfortably.
“That’s Bob’s opinion,” said Stevenson, who boxes for Arum’s Top Rank company. “He’s wrong sometimes and he’s right sometimes. My opinion is I think Bud would outbox the shit of Canelo.”
But it is not just Crawford’s fighting gifts that Stevenson believes make him a match for the Mexican, it’s is the strength Crawford has that many can’t appreciate until they have experienced it. Stevenson has sparred many rounds with Crawford and he’s trained alongside Crawford for years.
“He’s strong as shit,” Stevenson continued. “Like I said, I was in the gym [one day]. I was getting ready for Chris Diaz or something, and he [Crawford] was sparring like a heavyweight fighter. I’m looking and I’m nervous for him and I’m like, ‘Why’s he in the ring with this big dude? And I swear, he caught this dude on the chin and he was wobbling all around the ring and I was like, ‘What the hell is this guy [Crawford], is this dude this strong?’ Bud is very strong. A lot of people don’t realise how strong he is. His punching power can carry through weight classes.”
Canelo said after defeating Jermell Charlo last month that Crawford is not in his plans, while Spence is activating a rematch clause so he can get back in the ring with Crawford, either later this year or, more likely, early in 2024.
“It won’t be no different,” Stevenson said, when asked about a Crawford-Spence rematch. “You’ve got to give Errol Spence his flowers because he’s a warrior, he doesn’t duck nobody. He’s not someone who’s lost and doesn’t want to fight again. You clearly see he wants to get back in the ring with Bud after that fight, so you’ve got to give him his flowers and his respect.”
But while Stevenson has that respect for Spence, he feels another of the leading lights at 147 needs to prove himself worthy of a big fight in the division and, specifically, against Crawford. Philadelphia’s Boots Ennis is regarded as a champion in waiting and one of the best in the division, but he doesn’t yet have the brand identity to make a Crawford fight make sense from a business perspective, even though he might be the best guy out there to test Crawford.
“Boots hasn’t really got the opportunity to prove himself yet,” said Stevenson. “I think right now he should fight like a Keith Thurman, he would beat the shit out of Keith Thurman. Boots is a bad motherfucker. When it comes down to it, I feel Bud is at the end of his career, he should focus on the big fights and the fights that are going to bring him the most money, fighters like Canelo or Charlo or fighters who have fought big fights and created the opportunity and the accolades to go against Bud.”