Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
WBO junior welterweight world champion Terence Crawford was joined by Top Rank’s Carl Moretti and co-manager and head trainer Bryan McIntyre in a roundtable with reporters. Here’s what he had to say in advance of his world title clash against WBC champion Viktor Postol on July 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.
What did you think about Viktor Postol’s performance against Lucas Matthysse and did it surprise you at all?
I feel as though Postol did what he needed to do to win. I think he did a lot of holding and using his elbows that the ref didn’t see. But all in all he did what he had to do to get the job done. I picked him to win in that fight anyway so it was a good victory.
There have been stories about Manny Pacquiao coming back and you were mentioned as an opponent recently. Does it up the stakes for you since he may return?
I am not thinking about Manny Pacquiao at all. I am focusing on Viktor Postol and that’s it – that is all.
There were blogs that went out on Tuesday where you were complimentary of Postol but he was not of you. Going as far as saying Matthysse was better than you…
Well, that’s what he is supposed to say. He is supposed to say he is going to destroy anybody that he is going to step in the ring with, but to my knowledge, I don’t care what he says because come July 23rd he is going to have to show me, he is not going to just be able to tell you. He knew who to fight. He had the option of fighting either me or Matthysse and he thought Matthysse was the easier fight because he knew if he was going to fight Terence Crawford he knew what was going to happen.
You two have a common opponent – Hank Lundy. You stopped him and Postol beat him by decision – does that give you any more confidence coming into the fight?
No, styles make fights. That was a few years back and I don’t look at it as a confidence booster. I just know my skills and my ability in the ring – I believe that I am going to get the job done on July 23rd.
You have 20 knockouts to his 12 – do you feel you have the advantage in power?
I feel, all around, I can do whatever I want in there. If I have to box, I box. If I have to brawl, I brawl. If I have to trade, I trade. In those types of fights, I have the power to back you up. All in all, I feel like my IQ is what takes me to the next level.
Does the rough type style, like Yuriorkis Gamboa and like Postol, bother you and how do you overcome it?
Not at all. I just be myself and stay relaxed. Stay composed and do what I came to do. Do what we’ve been working on in camp and everything else will fall into place. The approach is to go in there and do what we have been working on. Each fight is different and every fighter is different. Gamboa was a real crafty fighter and so is Postol, but Postol poses a different threat than Gamboa so we will have to see what he poses on fight night.
Do you plan to go southpaw often and how do you prepare for his jab?
We just have to see how the fight goes. It’s funny how all of the people are giving Postol all of the credit for his jab but nobody is talking about how good my jab is. So I’m loving it. I’m loving it. I’m loving it how everyone is talking about how good his jab is.
Why are you training in Colorado Springs. Is it to get away from home?
We have been training in Colorado Springs for about four years – so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have been having good success out there. You get away and we get to have a great camp. Plus the high altitude gives us a little edge.
When you go to that altitude for camp, how long does it take for you to adjust? Those are serious runs at serious altitude?
I adjust real quick since I am used to going out there. The first couple of days and the first couple of workouts you feel it but then your body gets acclimated to the climate.
Are you worried about Postol’s grabbing, holding tactics?
That’s not my problem and I can’t be concerned about it. I can just hope the referee notices it and does something about it.
Would you say Postol is a dirty fighter?
I wouldn’t say that he is dirty. He fights to win. He is trying to do whatever he can to win. Some things are not allowed and some things some referees let you do more than others.
Pacquiao coming back…last year it was mentioned you were not well known enough to fight Pacquiao on pay-per-view. What do you think this fight will do for you?
It will help me tremendously, but again, I am not thinking about that fight right now or whether I may be fighting him or if I put on a good show. My main focus is Viktor Postol.
Carl Moretti: It is the meaning of when you get the best two guys fighting each other the winner comes out as the best in the division and unfortunately in boxing we don’t get that a lot. So you have a unified champion who is clearly the best fighter in the division and I think what you’ll see is a lot of talk about Terence being in the top three pound-for-pound after this, because of the accomplishment. It’s not just to unify the title or to try to unify the title. If the title-holder is kind of weak – and I don’t mean to put down other fighters or other champions – but there are champions out there that really, from talent, just aren’t that good or as good as they can be. With Postol, everybody’s eyes opened up when he knocked out Matthysse, who apparently was the second coming of Carlos Monzon – I don’t know where that came from, but that ended quickly, and if Crawford does what he is capable of doing, I think his value clearly skyrockets by beating another champion that is well-respected. You hear other champions say “I want to unify” and you don’t even know who the other champion is in the division. Take the same meaning here – Crawford-Postol means a lot. If Crawford beats Postol it means a lot.
Before this fight was made, was it a priority for you to unify the titles? Some want to fight the best, some want to unify…where do you stand?
I just want to fight and be recognized as the best in my division. That’s it. So if going through Postol means that’s how I get there, then so be it. But from the standpoint of my division, I want to fight all of them, until I move up.
Do you feel like you would want to continue to unify or is it not a big deal to you?
Well, I don’t know. Right now it is not. All of my focus is on Postol. I don’t worry about all of the extra things that is around the division right now.
Do you worry about Postol’s height advantage? It is about three inches and that plus the reach could be concerning…
I have fought a lot of tall opponents in my career. This is not the first tall opponent that I have ever fought and it’s not going to be something new to me. It’s not going to be something that I have never seen before. So I am not concerned about his height or his jab or anything because I have seen it before.
Do you view this fight as the biggest of your career so far?
Of course – this is a very big fight for me at a very critical time of my career. This fight is more meaningful than the Gamboa fight, at the moment, because this fight can take me to that next level beyond the level that I’m on right now. This fight means a lot and I do look at it as the biggest fight of my career to date.
Did you have any reaction when you heard that Manny Pacquiao was coming back?
No, not at all. I didn’t even worry about it and I didn’t care and I didn’t even know because that’s not my main focus.
Since this is your first fight on pay-per-view, do you feel like your name is getting out there more?
I don’t really know how to answer that because I feel like my name is out there already, but I do feel like my name could be bigger than it is. But at the same time, that is not something that I focus on, that is something that will develop in time. I promote my self as well as my promoters who promote me.
In the documentary you mentioned how you got a second chance after being shot in the head. Is that something you think about all the time?
Yes, of course. I don’t think about it a lot, because I like to put it in the past and put it behind me and move on with my life. But sometimes I do think about how I got a second chance and make the best of it.
How did it feel having HBO follow you around Omaha and talk to your family, something that a lot of fighters don’t have happen to them?
It was pretty cool to see myself on HBO and to see all the things that they do in making the special and I was happy to be a part of it.
Do you have a new hope of getting in the ring with Manny Pacquiao if you defeat Postol?
I’m not worried about that now so I don’t think about it.
How do you think your mother and grandmother did on the HBO show? They didn’t seem to be camera shy at all…
They did good (laughing).
Bryan, we have spoken to Terence about Postol’s antics – holding and elbows…do you do anything in preparation for that or do you just overlook it?
Bryan McIntyre: Me and the other coaches (Coach Saul and Red), we sat down and talked about it and we are going to let referee Tony Weeks know that we are very concerned about whet he does in the ring.