LAS VEGAS -- A week ago, Terrence Crawford was an aspiring and relatively unknown junior welterweight prospect scheduled to fight an obscure opponent on the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado II undercard at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Then he was offered a shot to fight longtime contender Breidis Prescott in the high profile HBO-televised co-feature when titleholder Khabib Allakhverdiev injured his elbow and dropped out of a defense against Prescott.
Boy, did Crawford take advantage of the situation. He overcame a slow start to easily outbox Prescott for a unanimous decision victory to put himself on the map in a loaded 140-pound division.
The judges had it 100-90, 99-91, 97-93. ESPN.com also had it 97-93 for Crawford (20-0, 15 KOs), 25, a former amateur standout from Omaha, Neb., who was fighting his first scheduled 10-round bout.
"I knew I could outbox him," Crawford said. "He couldn't handle my speed, my power, my boxing ability. He's not really a smart fighter. Everything worked."
Prescott looked like the much bigger man and it posed a problem for Crawford, who had difficulty getting inside against him and reaching him with his jab early. He also had to be wary of Prescott's excellent power.
That made for a tentative fight that the crowd booed on and off throughout. But Crawford, the smaller but quicker man, stuck to his plan and showed Prescott angles. He would land a lopping right hand and spin away. By the sixth round, Prescott's left eye was beginning to swell from eating those shots.
Prescott (26-5, 20 KOs), 29, a native of Colombia living in Miami, was getting frustrated chasing Crawford around, who was outboxing him, landing body shots and not taking many blows in return. It was clear that Crawford was gaining confidence as the fight wore on. In the ninth round, Prescott looked exhausted and his left eye was bleeding.
In the 10th round, Crawford, who earned $125,000 to Prescott's $50,000, was comfortable enough to dance and smile at Prescott, almost taunting him.
He knew he had won and it was a lot better than winning for the $15,000 he would have made had he not gotten the unexpected opportunity against Prescott, who was not happy with the result.
"We took the fight to him. He ran. He kept stepping on my feet and I got off balance," said Prescott, who is best known for his first-round upset knockout of Amir Khan and a 10th-round knockout loss to Alvarado in a 2011 fight Prescott had led all the way.
Ramirez crushes Dubray
Junior welterweight Jose Ramirez (2-0, 2 KOs) overwhelmed overmatched Charles Dubray (1-1, 1 KO), 24, of Hastings, Neb., for an easy first-round knockout.
Ramirez, just 20 and a bright prospect, was a 2012 U.S. Olympian who turned pro in December on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Manny Pacquiao IV undercard and also recorded a first-round knockout.
Ramirez, of Avenal, Calif., quickly dropped Dubray after landing a body shot and a right to the side of the head. Dubray seemed more rattled than hurt, but he eventually felt Ramirez's power, going down after getting nailed with a series of left hands to the body. Referee Robert Byrd did not bother to finish the count, calling off the fight at 1 minute, 6 seconds.
"It's all coming together," Ramirez said. "I was a lot less nervous (than in my pro debut). I had very good sparring. I had a lot more power."
Ramirez is next scheduled to fight April 27 on a "Solo Boxeo Tecate" UniMas card in Austin, Texas.
" Mexican junior lightweight Miguel Berchelt (17-0, 14 KOs) steamrolled Carlos Claudio (15-10-3, 8 KOs) of Kissimmee, Fla., in a first-round knockout. Berchelt went right at Claudio and eventually trapped him in a corner, firing more than 15 unanswered punches as Claudio cowered and tried to cover up before referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to stop the fight at 1 minute, 53 seconds.
" Welterweight Michael Finney (11-0, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas brought a sudden conclusion to his fight with Osvaldo Rojas (7-3-2, 2 KOs) of Portland, Ore., stopping him with a digging left hand to the body in the fifth round. Rojas went down, rolled to his side and did not move as referee Vic Drakulich counted him out at 1 minute, 49 seconds.
" Junior featherweight prospect Tramaine Williams (6-0, 2 KOs), a 19-year-old from New Haven, Conn., outboxed John Herrera (4-6-1, 2 KOs), of Roswell, N.M., for a unanimous decision win in an uneventful fight. All three judges had Williams winning 40-36.
" Las Vegas heavyweight Brett Rather (2-0, 0 KOs), a former collegiate national champion for UNLV, survived a brutal four-round battle to outpoint Juan Guarjato (2-0, 1 KO) of McAllen, Texas. The three judges each scored the fight 38-37. Rather walked into a right hand and went down in the first round. He was hurt and his eye was swelling as Guarjato landed several solid blows. In the second round, Guarjato bloodied his nose, but Rather hung in to edge the other rounds.
" Las Vegas junior welterweight Juan Heraldez (5-0, 4 KOs) dropped Roberto Lopez (4-4-3, 1 KO) of Kissimmee, Fla., in the second round and rolled to a shutout decision, winning 40-35 on all three judges' scorecards.
" In the first fight of the card, junior welterweight Manuel Lopez (2-0, 2 KOs) of Denver dominated Jason Tresvan (0-2) of Las Vegas en route to a knockout victory at 2 minutes, 6 seconds of the second round.