Amir Khan has been warned he will be facing a modern-day Sugar Ray Leonard in Terence Crawford.
Khan came face to face with Crawford on Wednesday in Madison Square Garden for their final press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash here and promoter Bob Arum says his unbeaten charge reminds him of Leonard.
Crawford has won six world titles at three different weights and is the current WBO welterweight champ and the legendary Arum says he is as good as Leonard.
“Anybody who knows anything in boxing knows that someone like Terence Crawford comes along very seldom,” said the Top Rank chief.
“The closest I know that I promoted was the great Sugar Ray Leonard. Terence reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard.
“I’m not going to get into who would have won between those two, but Terence is really something special.
“I’m so delighted that we’ve been able to arrange this fight with Terence against Amir Khan, who I have always been an admirer of.”
Khan, 32, does need Arum to tell him how good Crawford is and says that will bring the best out of him.
“This is the top fight for me, fighting a world champion like Terence who is No 1 or 2 in the world,” said the former unified light-welterweight champ.
“That’s great motivation for me knowing I am fighting the best out there. I’m focused for this fight and I know I can’t make any mistakes.
“He can see openings and I can’t make those for him. Maybe my last performance against Samuel Vargas got me this fight.
“I’m back with my old trainer Virgil Hunter, who I’m happiest with. He’s been the best trainer for me.
“I’ve had some good fights in the welterweight division, like Devon Alexander.
“This is a dream come true. Hopefully on Saturday another dream will come true and I will be world champion again.”
Crawford, 31, wants a unification clash with IBF champ Errol Spence Junior next, but insists he is not looking past Khan.
“I don’t believe any fight I have is just another fight,” he said. “Everyone is part of my legacy.
“That’s why I want the biggest fights out there and Amir Khan came up because he was the best out there.
“I could have taken Collazo, but that wasn’t the fight I wanted to take.
“Amir Khan is a great fighter. You can’t take that away from him. He’s undefeated at welterweight division, so I need to take another step up.”
Khan’s promoter Eddie Hearn is not in New York this week and his No 2 at Matchroom Frank Smith is backing their man to cause what would be a huge upset.
“Amir had other opportunities, most notably the Kell Brook fight, but this is the one he wanted,” said Smith.
“You’ve got to respect that and I believe on Saturday night he will do a job and be world champion again.
“Amir is at his best when he’s in the with the best. At welterweight, this is the strongest weight for him. Being back with Virgil is also very important for him.”
Khan back with Hunter after training with Joe Goossen for his previous two fights and the veteran American cornerman claims they have worked well together in this camp.
“It’s been a pleasure to have Amir back,” said Hunter. “We live for these opportunities.
“Amir knows he can’t have a mental lapse. He has to be focussed for every second of every round. We have to be able to read those adjustments, stay competitive and try and win this fight.”