One dynamic combination showed Terence "Bud" Crawford remains one of boxing's pound-for-pound best.
In front of a raucous hometown crowd, Crawford floored David Avanesyan with a sixth-round TKO on Saturday at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. A left uppercut followed by a textbook right put Avanesyan on his back, quickly prompting the end of a tricky fight for Crawford.
With the win, Crawford retained the WBO welterweight title.
"I started picking up the pace, planting my feet, and I caught him with a hook," Crawford said in the postfight interview on BLK Prime.
Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) started slowly against Avanesyan (29-4-1, 17 KOs). In the first round, the Russian challenger landed an overhand right that was the most significant punch of the fight. Crawford, who is known to switch stances, started out in an orthodox position before changing to a southpaw stance following Avanesyan's early success with a similar tactic.
Once Crawford started leading with his right hand, he settled into the fight.
While Avanesyan successfully walked Crawford down at times and closed the distance between them, Crawford tactically used his jab and footwork to maintain punching space against the rugged challenger.
The 35-year-old from Omaha said he wasn't surprised by Avanesyan's approach.
"We actually knew what he was going to bring to the table," Crawford said afterward. "We knew he was going to back and forth from orthodox to southpaw. We knew he was going to counter. We knew he was going to pressure me."
In the fifth round, Crawford increased his punching output and leaned on a series of uppercuts with Avanesyan on the inside. In the final minute of the fifth round, Crawford unleashed the counter left uppercut before he finished the fight with a right hook over the top.
It was Crawford's 10th consecutive stoppage victory.
"I was just warming up in the earlier rounds," Crawford said. "My coach [trainer Brian McIntyre] told me, I can sit down there if I'm comfortable and pick my shots."
Saturday night was Crawford's first fight since November 2021, when he stopped Shawn Porter in Las Vegas in a title defense. In the months following that bout, Crawford was fixated on facing Errol Spence Jr., his longtime rival who now holds the other three belts in the 147-pound division.
Crawford left Top Rank Promotions after the win over Porter to make the fight with Spence, who fights for Premier Boxing Champions. According to ESPN's Mike Coppinger, Spence and Crawford agreed to preliminary terms on a potential bout before talks dissipated over some of the technical aspects of the fight, including net expenses. Once that fixture fell through, Crawford signed the deal with upstart BLK Prime, which will promote a bout between former welterweight champion Adrian Broner and Ivan Redkach in 2023, it announced Saturday.
Crawford said he made $10 million for the fight against Avanesyan.
Spence, who said on social media that he was involved in a car crash, has said he remains interested in the bout many boxing fans have wanted to see for years. When asked about it directly, Crawford was vague about his plans but seemed open to the possibility after a big showing in front of his biggest fans.
"This was a one-fight deal [with BLK Prime]," Crawford said. "Hopefully, we can go to the drawing board and these big fights come about in the near future."