Terence Crawford to Defend 140-Pound Titles vs. Felix Diaz on HBO on May 20

By Mike Sloan Apr 4, 2017
Top Rank announced Tuesday afternoon that undefeated junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford will make his 2017 debut in the greatest combat arena in the world: Madison Square Garden in New York.

Crawford will put his WBO, WBC and Ring Magazine 140-pound titles on the line when he takes on challenger Felix Diaz. Their bout will serve as the main event of an HBO World Championship Boxing event set for May 20. The action will go live on the cable giant beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT.

Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) has quickly become one of boxing’s brightest young stars and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time in the near future. “Bud” captured the WBO lightweight belt in 2014 when he dominated Ricky Burns via unanimous decision. After making two successful defenses, the Omaha, Neb., native moved up to junior welterweight where he quickly scooped up that division’s WBO crown in 2015 by knocking out Thomas Dulorme in the sixth. He added the WBC version by pummeling Viktor Postol last July and is coming off an eighth-round TKO of John Molina Jr. in December. Diaz is up next and Crawford is ready.

“Come May 20, I will be ready for whatever Felix Díaz brings to the ring that night,” said Crawford. “It’s going to be a great experience fighting at Madison Square Garden in the big arena where all the greats have fought. I’m looking forward to that night.”

Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs) captured Olympic gold in 2008 for his native Dominican Republic. He’s been terrific as a pro, scoring wins over the likes of Adrian Granados, Emmanuel Lartey and Sammy Vasquez. He lost a majority decision to Lamont Peterson in a pivotal matchup in October 2015, but has since rebounded with two wins. His latest conquest came last December when he took Levis Morales out in the sixth, which led to his first-ever chance at capturing a world title.

“The time has finally come. I will share a ring with one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and I tip my hat to Crawford for accepting me as an opponent on May 20 because I am no pushover,” Diaz declared. “I'm coming to bring my A-game and I couldn't be more grateful to be able to showcase my skills on HBO and at Madison Square Garden, which is just 15 minutes from where I live. I will take full advantage of this opportunity. I respect Crawford and believe he is a great fighter, but every king can be dethroned.”

A co-feature and full undercard will be announced soon.

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