Top Rank on ESPN Boxing Betting Guide: Crawford vs Khan, Full Fight Card

by Rick Rockwell
on April 15, 2019
16

Minute Read

On Saturday, April 20th, Top Rank Promotions will hold its highly anticipated ESPN PPV boxing event live from the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York. This PPV spectacle features a main event fight with undefeated champ Terence Crawford defending his WBO welterweight title against Amir Khan.

Also on the main card are three other fights that could have future title implications on the line as Teofimo Lopez takes on Edis Tatli, Shakur Stevenson takes on Christopher Diaz and Felix Verdejo takes on Bryan Vasquez. These three fights will be on the PPV broadcast along with the main event.

In total, there are 9 fights scheduled for this weekend’s boxing event. The prelims will begin at 6 PM ET and air on ESPN2, with the PPV fights beginning at 9 PM ET.

Boxing betting sites have released their odds for Top Rank’s event. However, only a handful of the fights have listed boxing odds. Let’s take a closer look at these betting odds, try to find some value, and KO our picks.

Felix Verdejo (24-1, 16 KOs) vs Bryan Vasquez (37-3, 20 KOs)

  • Felix Verdejo (-175)
  • Bryan Vasquez (+155)

Verdejo comes into this bout as the betting favorite, but these are the closest betting odds for the entire event. It’s a close contest because of Vasquez’s experience and Verdejo’s rising potential. Both fighters are looking for a big win this weekend, but it’s Verdejo that the pundits are picking. For his talent level, and world title aspirations, these odds do offer some value. If you believe Vasquez will pull off the upset then his odds have value as well.

Verdejo vs Vasquez Preview

Boxer Felix Verdejo Bryan Vasquez
Age 25 31
Height 5’9” 5’5”
Reach 71.5” 66.5”
Total Fights 25 40
Record 24-1 37-3
Knockouts 16 20

Bryan Vasquez is a former interim world champ with two straight wins coming into this bout. Unfortunately, he dropped two of his last five fights and is need of a big win to turn things around. Vasquez was a highly accomplished amateur before turning pro in 2005.

Since then, Vasquez has fought in championship fights and top contenders in his division. He’s a seasoned pro that will be up for the challenge this weekend. Furthermore, he signed with Top Rank Promotions last year with the goal of getting back into the title hunt. After signing with Top Rank, Vasquez made the following comments:

I want to rule the 130-pound division. I’m ready for big names, whether it’s Christopher Diaz or Oscar Valdez. They better watch out now that I’m with Top Rank. I will show everyone that Vasiliy Lomachenko is beatable, and in the near future, I want the rematch with Ray Beltran with proper notice now that I have a real promotional company behind me. I’m happy and motivated.

A win this weekend would be a huge step toward that goal. And a rematch against Beltran would make a lot of sense.

Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo suffered the first loss of his career 13 months ago when he was TKO’d by Torres at MSG. Felix bounced back in his next fight when he defeated Cruz via KO last November. Despite the recent loss, Verdejo’s camp believes he could get a title shot later this year if he continues to work hard in his training and fights.

This weekend’s matchup against Vasquez is going to be a tough fight for Verdejo. But, if he does win, then he will be back on track to a title shot in late 2019. Like many other fighters, Verdejo wants a shot at Lomachenko who is the P4P best in the sport. However, for Felix, it’s more personal because he lost in the Olympics to Loma and would love a rematch as a pro:

Absolutely yes. It would be a rematch, since he was the one who gave me my defeat in the Olympics. For me it would be an honor to fight (against him) as a professional.

I would suggest that team Verdejo slows down their talk of a fight with Lomachenko and actually focus on Vasquez. Verdejo suffered a loss 13 months ago and should be looking at putting together some wins before jumping the gun and taking on the sport’s best P4P fighter.

Which fighter will go hunting for titles?

Vasquez has the experience advantage, but Verdejo has a 4-inch height and 5-inch reach advantage. That’s going to be tough for Vasquez to overcome. Both men have punching power as they have a combined total of 36 knockouts in 61 wins. I believe there is a chance that we could see a stoppage in this contest. With that said, the smart bet is on Verdejo to win this fight via UD. He has the skills, height, reach and athletic advantages over Vasquez.

Furthermore, Verdejo appears to still be ascending in the sport while Vasquez appears to have reached his ceiling. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if Vasquez wins, but the smart money is on Verdejo.

Boxing Bet: Felix Verdejo (-175)

Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs) vs Edis Tatli (31-2, 10 KOs)

  • Teofimo Lopez (-3800)
  • Edis Tatli (+1550)

Of the listed odds for this boxing event, Lopez is the largest betting favorite on the night. Despite Tatli being a respectable fighter, Lopez is a talented prospect that’s most likely going to fight for a world title in his next fight. The level of talent between these two fighters is very apparent. With that said, neither man offers any betting value. And, Tatli is not worthy of a flyer in this bout.

Lopez vs Tatli Preview

Boxer Teofimo Lopez Edis Tatli
Age 21 31
Height 5’8” 5’9”
Reach 68.5”
Total Fights 12 33
Record 12-0 31-2
Knockouts 10 10

Edis Tatli has put together a solid resume in his pro career including holding the EBU lightweight title. Unfortunately, it’s all been done in Europe and against opponents that are greatly inferior to Lopez. Furthermore, Tatli has never fought in the United States before. And, he will be making his US debut on PPV against one of the most exciting American prospects in all of boxing.

Now, if Tatli can pull off the upset, then he will get the title shot that Lopez and his camp are talking about. In fact, it would be the biggest win of Tatli’s career and it will certainly put him in line for title fights. With that said, it’s hard to imagine Tatli being able to successfully make this step up in competition.

For Lopez, it’s all about ending this fight quickly and moving on to a title fight against Commey for the IBF title. Once that happens, the winner of that fight could be in line to take on Lomachenko for a massive PPV unification bout. Team Lopez is pushing hard for this to happen and certainly could. Lopez believes this fight against Tatli is going to be a title eliminator:

They have been talking about, it has been in the works, that in July we will fight for a world title. This fight with Edis Tetli was a 10 rounder and now they bumped it up to a 12 rounder. I think it is an IBF title eliminator. It could be an eliminator for one of the belts – most likely the IBF – then hopefully we can face Richard Commey.

Whether it’s Commey or Mikey Garcia, Lopez wants a title fight this summer and he certainly is creating enough buzz to warrant one. Until then, Teofimo will need to focus on Tatli and make sure he puts on the show that everyone wants to see. A loss would be devastating to his plans. A poor performance could also make Commey and other champs second guess whether or not Lopez is worth a title shot.

Will Tatli pull off the huge upset?

There’s no way that Tatli is going to defeat Lopez, even if Teofimo is having a bad night. Lopez is the better fighter no matter how you look at it. Tatli hasn’t fought anyone noteworthy and hasn’t even fought in the US before. I believe the stage will be too big for him. I also believe that Lopez is going to stop him in this fight.

Teofimo has 10 KO/TKO’s in 12 wins and I believe he will get his 11th this weekend. Tatli has never been stopped before, but he’s also never faced anyone of this caliber in his previous 33 pro fights. The easy pick here is Teofimo to win. Unfortunately, there’s no value to betting on him. If you can find a boxing betting site that offers wagers on how the fight will end then take TKO/KO as I believe it will have some value.

Boxing Bet: Teofimo Lopez (-3800)

Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs) vs Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs)

  • Shakur Stevenson (-1300)
  • Christopher Diaz (+700)

Shakur Stevenson, the young and talented American prospect, comes in as a large betting favorite. However, he’s going up against the toughest opponent of his young career as a professional. Diaz is a big step up in competition and I’m surprised that he’s such a large underdog with oddsmakers. With that said, I do believe that Diaz offers betting value and is worthy of a flyer.

Stevenson vs Diaz Preview

Boxer Shakur Stevenson Christopher Diaz
Age 21 24
Height 5’8” 5’6”
Reach 68” 64”
Total Fights 10 25
Record 10-0 24-1
Knockouts 6 16

Last July, Diaz suffered the first loss of his pro career in a world title fight against Ito for the WBO super featherweight title that was vacated by Lomachenko. Diaz lost via UD, but was outmatched in that fight. It was the first blemish on his undefeated career up to that point. 4 months later, Diaz bounced back and won via KO over Berna.

Diaz has punching power and is a veteran of the sport. He has twice as many pro fights in his career compared to Stevenson and he’s only three years older. So, there’s a chance that Diaz hasn’t reached his full potential yet. That’s one of the reasons why Top Rank boss Bob Arum and his people didn’t want Shakur to take this fight:

I think it’s a very, very dangerous fight. Our matchmakers were not in favor of doing the fight, because they thought it might be a step too far, putting Shakur, who is, truth be told, even though a big talent, wet behind the ears. And we’re putting him in with an experienced guy, like Diaz. That’s not a walk in the park, baby. Diaz has not only been a [regional] champion, but he’s been a champion in a weight division above 126, which means that he’s not a little guy. It means that he’s used to fighting heavier guys, when he campaigned as a 130-pounder. Shakur’s gonna have his hands full with this guy.

In fact, Arum and his team tried to dissuade Shakur from taking this fight, but Stevenson wasn’t going to back out. He wanted this fight and was adamant about taking it.

Diaz is a “bigger” fighter and has already fought for a world title. However, Shakur does have the height and reach advantage. He might also be the more athletic of the two. But, does all of that equate to a victory?

Can Shakur overcome this challenge?

It was a bit surprising when Arum came out and stated how they tried to talk Stevenson out of this fight. Additionally, Arum talked about how much of a challenge Diaz is going to be. It’s almost as if he was selling the media and fans on Diaz winning this fight. But, the reality is that Arum has a right to be concerned.

Diaz is a significant step up in competition and has the experience to make life hard for Shakur this weekend. In fact, Diaz’s experience will give Shakur a lot of problems in their bout. Stevenson will have to sink or swim. And, that’s what we’re trying to determine.

I believe this is going to be a great fight and possibly the best of the night. With that said, these betting odds are crazy. Shakur could possibly win, but he’s definitely not as big of a favorite as the oddsmakers have made him. I believe Diaz offers value and is worthy of a flyer.

If Diaz doesn’t pull off the upset then I see Stevenson winning via decision in a tight contest. The smart money and safe play is on Shakur, but if you are feeling risky then take Diaz at +700.

Boxing Bet: Shakur Stevenson (-1300)

Terence Crawford (34-0, 20 KOs) vs Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs)

  • Terence Crawford (-1700)
  • Amir Khan (+1100)

In the main event of the night, Crawford comes in as a huge betting favorite over a tough opponent. The champ is undefeated and many feel that he is the true P4P king not Lomachenko. With that said, Crawford doesn’t offer any betting value. As for Khan, he is a former champ and has the experience on big stages like this one. However, Khan will need a perfect performance to have a chance at winning. And, I wouldn’t put my money on that happening. Khan doesn’t offer betting value and is only worth a flyer to his diehard fans. Otherwise, avoid Khan’s odds.

Crawford vs Khan Preview

Boxer Terence Crawford Amir Khan
Age 31 31
Height 5’8” 5’8.5”
Reach 74” 71”
Total Fights 34 37
Record 34-0 33-4
Knockouts 25 20

There aren’t many people picking Khan to win this fight. In fact, his former trainer Freddie Roach believes that Amir will be KO’d by Crawford this weekend. But, for Khan, he believes that this gamble is worth it. Amir has acknowledged that he’s on the final chapter of his career, but he believes this fight will motivate him and keep him in the sport:

“I have been fighting for many years and I need this kind of contest to lift me. It’s a fight to keep me in the sport, to give me the love for it. I believe I can win but everyone thinks all the odds are against me. He’s unbeaten but this is what I need. This is a fight that can make me a world champion again and I feel that God has given me this chance. Beating Crawford will transform my career. You need these fights which make you a little nervous.

Khan looked vulnerable in his last fight against Vargas. Amir even stated that he took his last opponent too lightly and thought it would be easy. But, he also believes that Crawford took this fight because Khan looks like an easy out due to his last fight.

With that said, Khan does present Crawford with his biggest challenge in the last few years. Khan has the hand speed to give Crawford problems. Additionally, he’s still better than the recent string of fighters Crawford has faced. Khan continues to insist that Terence is beatable.

For Terence Crawford, many pundits are stating that he doesn’t have much to gain with this fight, but everything to lose. When you think about it, that sentiment is true. If Crawford loses then he suffers his first defeat and his P4P crown is gone as well as his WBO title. If he wins, but on a narrow decision, then he still loses in the court of public opinion. Crawford must stop Khan convincingly to come away from this fight as a “winner.”

Despite the risk that he’s taking, Crawford isn’t overlooking Khan at all. In fact, he’s prepared to go the full 12 rounds if needed:

Khan might be fast but I’m a great boxer myself and I’m not the slowest fighter by any means. I believe in my skills and I don’t believe it’s just my punch power, I believe it’s my overall skills that will lead to victory. I look to get the win, if the knockout comes, it comes, but that’s not what I’m focusing on or looking at. We are prepared to go 12 hard rounds and that’s how we’re going to approach it.

Crawford is focused on Khan, but his promoter Top Rank is looking to set up a mega fight with Errol Spence later this year. It would be a huge unification bout and one of the best fights in boxing. Bob Arum has vowed to make the fight happen in spite of the difficulties of getting multiple media conglomerates on the same page:

I always knew Spence is an elite welterweight. He’s a very, very good fighter, and I don’t think the same of [Shawn] Porter, and I don’t think the same of Danny Garcia, and I don’t think the same thing about the present [Keith] Thurman. I don’t think they’re elite fighters. Spence is an elite fighter, and that’s why his promoter owes it to the fans to make the fight with Crawford, because I know from having conversations with Spence and Crawford, both young men want to fight each other. And for the promoters to prevent that fight from happening, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. It’s stupid. Let them fight. Let it be a great fight, and look to do a trilogy. That’s the way to really make money.

Will Crawford suffer his first career loss?

Despite Khan’s best effort to make this fight appear winnable for him, I just don’t see it happening. I believe Khan will make this fight challenging for Crawford, but he’s not going to win. Amir’s best days are behind him, while Crawford is in his prime.

The question is whether or not this fight will go the distance. Amir Khan believes he will win via UD and Crawford says he’s prepared to go the distance. But, most pundits are saying that Crawford will stop Khan in this fight. In 3 of Khan’s 4 losses, he suffered a TKO/KO loss. I believe Crawford has the power to make that happen in this fight on Saturday night.

I’m taking Terence “Bud” Crawford to win this bout via TKO in the championship rounds.

Boxing Bet: Terence Crawford (-1700)

Final Thoughts on Crawford vs Khan

This is the biggest fight sports event of the weekend. A PPV battle between Crawford and Khan is better than any other boxing or MMA card on Easter weekend. With that said, I’m more excited for the Shakur Stevenson vs Christopher Diaz fight on this PPV than the actual main event itself. I’m intrigued with this bout and the potential for Shakur Stevenson.

I’m hoping that after Terence Crawford wins, Top Rank will be able to set up a fight with Errol Spence Jr. It’s getting really pathetic that many of the sport’s champions continue to avoid other champions in their division. Time for these guys to “man up” and start fighting each other. That includes Thurman and Porter as well. As for this PPV event, there’s little betting value, but there’s going to be plenty of entertainment with Lopez, Crawford, and Stevenson.

Full Crawford vs Khan Fight Card

  • Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan – WBO welterweight title fight
  • Shakur Stevenson vs Christopher Diaz – 10 round featherweight fight
  • Teofimo Lopez vs Edis Tatli – 10 round lightweight fight
  • Felix Verdejo vs Bryan Vasquez – 10 round lightweight fight
  • Carlos Adames vs Frank Galarza – 10 round junior middleweight fight
  • Lawrence Newton vs Jonathan Garza – 6 round bantamweight fight
  • Vikas Krishan vs Noah Kidd – 6 rounds junior middleweight fight
  • Edgar Berlanga vs Samir dos Santos Barbosa – 8 rounds super middleweight fight
  • Larry Fryers vs Dakota Polley – 6 round junior welterweight fight
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