Exclusive: Terence Crawford Doesn't Think Manny Pacquiao Is "A Real Champion"

Even after just one fight at 147 pounds, Terence Crawford is feeling right at him competing at welterweight and believes he can get even better.

In a recent media call, Crawford spoke with Fightful on how he has felt competing at 147 pounds after winning the WBO title earlier this year against Jeff Horn. After world title reigns at 135 and 140 pounds, Crawford feels better than ever in his new weight class, but added that he can continue growing and adjust to welterweight better with more experience.

Crawford will be back in action on October 13 when he faces off against Jose Benavidez Jr., who is challenging for his first welterweight title after solidifying himself as a top 140-pound contender.

“I feel stronger. I feel like my body is growing into the weight division. This is only my second fight at the welterweight division, so I feel like I got a little more growing to do, but as far as strength-wise, I feel great and strong,” Crawford said.

After Crawford won the WBO title on that dominant win over Horn, the three-division champion made it abundantly clear that he wants to unify the division. This means potential fights alongside Errol Spence Jr. (IBF champion), Shawn Porter (WBC) and Keith Thurman (WBA “super”). There is still Manny Pacquiao, who is the WBA’s “regular” champion, but if one were to ask Crawford, Pacquiao isn’t on his radar as far as title unifications are concerned, calling the Filipino superstar “not a real champion." Pacquiao won the secondary WBA world title when he knocked out Lucas Matthysse earlier this year.

“Those are the only champions, there’s no other champions other than them. [In regards to Pacquiao], he’s not a real champion in my eyes. He doesn’t have the ‘super’ championship. That’s the champion in my eyes. I only look at the number one champion in the division. I don’t look at the WBC Silver and the interim belts and all that. It’s about the ‘super’ and the actual champions of the division,” Crawford said.

But before Crawford can focus on unification fights, he will have his hands full against Benavidez, who is quite literally Crawford’s tallest opponent to date, standing at six-feet tall according to Top Rank’s official website.

The 31-year-old Crawford has either stopped or knocked out seven of his last eight opponents, including Horn, John Molina Jr. and Julius Indongo. When it comes to predicting a knockout victory, Crawford won’t be the one to make such a claim, instead focusing on just getting the victory, regardless of what the method is.

“I will never predict a knockout. I just go in there and do what I got to do to get the job and if the knockout comes, it comes. If I see a chance where I go for the knockout, then I’ll definitely go for it, but all in all, I’m just going to go there to get the win,” Crawford said.

The title fight between Crawford and Benavidez will headline a Top Rank Boxing card from Omaha, Nebraska and will be televised on ESPN.

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