Terence "Bud" Crawford was the 2014 Fighter of the Year. Even though he says he’s not looking past Dierry Jean on Saturday night, an explosive win could put him in line for a fight with the guy that could vault “Bud” up the pound for pound list to No. 1.

Crawford, the 2014 fighter of the year, moved up from lightweight in April and will be making his first defense of his junior welterweight title when he faces Jean on Saturday night (HBO, 9:30 ET/PT) at the CenturyLink Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

If Crawford takes care of business he’ll get what he’s dreamed of, a showdown with Manny Pacquiao on April 9 in what could be the final fight of his career.

“Dierry Jean is a good fighter. I am not overlooking him,” Crawford said. “There is a lot at stake for both of us. One of the secrets to my success has been to never look past an opponent or train less than 110 percent for a fight. It’s all about focus and keeping the blinders on. If you don’t respect the talents of the man in the opposite corner then you’re asking for trouble.

“I’m ready for Manny. I’m ready for whatever lies in my future. That will be a big fight. It’s a fight we want, a fight we look forward to take my career to the next level and becoming a pay-per-view attraction. That’s the fight we need right now. I think I just need to win Saturday, just fight my fight.”


Top Rank’s Bob Arum seems to prefer pitting Pacquiao against Crawford rather than Amir Khan, who’s been calling Manny out for months.

“But it would be a very tough fight for Crawford,” Arum said. “There are some people in the company (Top Rank) who feel Manny would be a big favorite to beat him. But, in any event, there’s no downside for Crawford because he’s going to get enormous publicity. He won’t disgrace himself even if he lost and he will make a lot of money.”

Jean is likely to give Crawford the closest example of Pacquiao he’s had in an opponent, since he’s sparred with him on a regular basis.

“Who cares if Jean sparred with Manny Pacquiao? That’s sparring,” Crawford said. “I’ve seen him. He’s a good, well-rounded fighter. He will come to fight. He has a big right hand. We’re ready for whatever he brings. He’s hungry. I think he’s getting up in age and might not get too many more chances. So I know he’s coming to my hometown looking to win. Anybody that steps in the ring as a professional is a threat to me. That’s how I look at it.”


By Glenn Erby

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