Oleksandr Usyk predicts Terence Crawford will successfully move up three weight divisions to unseat undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.

Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) turns 37 in September. He will be coming off a 1+ year layoff when he makes his debut at 154 against WBA junior middleweight champion Israil Madrimov, believed to be the hardest puncher in the division.

Assuming Crawford gets past Madrimov without being pieced up like a block of Swiss cheese, he’ll still need to move up two divisions to go from 154 to 168 without losing a significant amount of speed to challenge Canelo (61-2-2, 39 KOs).

Then there’s also the stamina issue that Crawford will need to overcome. Putting on weight will not only cause a potential slowdown in speed but also cause a stamina hit.

Usyk’s Praise

Undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk admits that he’s friends with Crawford, which you have to factor into the equation with his backing him to defeat Canelo.

Is Usyk’s pick of Crawford over Canelo due to his friendship and loyalty to his buddy or does he really believe he can move up three divisions to beat a fighter that much bigger and stronger than him?

“Terence is my friend, but he’s a crazy man. I say Terence wins. Listen, Terence is a different man. Terence works in two stances; he’s a very, very, very smart man,” said Usyk in a gushing interview with 3KRPodcast.

How will Crawford adapt to the 168-lb weight class without any experience aside from his sparring help? He’s just going up blindly, hoping for the best against Canelo, with no intention of getting acclimatized to the division by fighting a few top contenders first.

Canelo hasn’t said whether he’ll even agree to fight Crawford. In past interviews, Canelo has said he’s not interested in fighting Crawford because there’s nothing to gain from the match-up. So unless he’s paid a mountain of money, Canelo won’t do it.

Crawford’s Gamble for a Big Payday

It seems like a desperate move driven by the visions of the gigantic payday Crawford will get. That money will cushion the blow of Crawford getting beaten up and knocked out by Canelo.

Crawford did not look good against David Avanesyan or Shawn Porter for long stretches in those fights, which took place two to three years ago. He’s aged since then, and he’s not the fighter he was.

You have to figure that Madrimov will take something out of Crawford, and if he gets past him, there will be the obligatory year off enjoying his victory lap. By the time Crawford comes back, he’ll be close to 38, and he ain’t going to beat Canelo or be competitive.

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