OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) – Welterweight world champion Terence "Bud" Crawford said he is eager to make unbeaten challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. eat his words when they are in the ring at the Health Center of CHI on October 13.  A heated confrontation between Benavidez and Crawford in February was a major issue during a teleconference to promote the fight on Thursday. Crawford was irritated when Benavidez approached him at a boxing event in Corpus Christi, Texas, and accused Crawford of having avoided him out of fear.
"That comes with the territory when there are people who want their place," Crawford told reporters. "They want any opportunity to prove their worth, to make a name for themselves, that's how I took it, it's trying to get rid of my name to get bigger."
So, why give a fight to Benavidez?
"Oh, why not? Why not?" Crawford said. "Speaking is cheap, we're in the same division, the same promoter, it's an interesting fight, it always says that I'm fighting smaller kids, it's the opportunity to see what it's made of."
Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is a three-division world champion who holds the WBO title at 147 pounds. He won the belt by stopping the defender of WBO champion Jeff Horn in the ninth round in Las Vegas in June.
Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA super lightweight interim champion, was shot several times in the August 2016 incident in his hometown of Phoenix. Benavidez returned in February to stop Matthew Strode in the eighth round at Corpus Christi. The exchange with Crawford occurred the day before at the weigh-in.
Benavidez eliminated Frank Rojas in the first round of his previous fight, which was on the Crawford-Horn undercard.
"When Terence Crawford enters the ring, he's like Alabama in football, he's that dominant," said Top Rank president Todd duBoef. "He's going to have his hands full with a man who will not back down."
Crawford said no when asked if Benavidez, who was not on the teleconference, has some boxing quality that he admires.
At that time, duBoef said: "Terence, you would say you have a good mouth, right?"
Crawford: "Yes, that's it"