Crawford stops Jean in 10th, keeps junior welterweight belt

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Terence ”Bud” Crawford did his part to merit a fight with Manny Pacquiao, stopping Dierry Jean in the 10th round to retain the WBO junior welterweight title Saturday night.

The unbeaten Crawford knocked down Jean in the first and ninth rounds and then used a flurry of punches to cause him to buckle into the ropes at the 2:30 mark, prompting referee Tony Weeks to end the fight before 11,020 at the CenturyLink Center.

The impressive performance in the scheduled 12-round fight set up a possible bout for Crawford (27-0, 19 knockouts) against Pacquiao.

Crawford, who also holds the WBO lightweight belt, is 5-0 in world title fights with three technical knockouts. It was Crawford’s third title defense in his hometown.

The Haitian-born Jean (29-2), who fights out of Montreal, landed only a few good shots on Crawford, and that seemed to motivate the champ more.

”I did whatever I wanted to do,” Crawford said. ”He said he had punching power, but he had none. I controlled him. I had no problem moving around.”

Now Crawford waits to see if the 36-year-old Pacquiao wants to fight him before going into retirement. Another candidate for Pacquiao is Tim Bradley, who fights Brandon Rios on Nov. 7.

”It would be one hell of a fight,” Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said. ”The next step is for Manny to review the tapes from tonight’s fight, and we also have to wait for the result of Nov. 7, then we’ll regroup after that.”

Wearing orange-and-black trunks with his signature ”Omaha” across the back, Crawford came out as the aggressor and seemed to flummox Jean with his southpaw stance.

He knocked down Jean with a left hook late in the first round, staggered him late in the second and knocked him down again late in the ninth with a left-right-left combination.

At the bell ending the fourth, the dazed Jean walked all the way to Crawford’s corner before a smiling Crawford pointed him the opposite direction.

A hard left followed by a flurry of punches nearly brought down Jean in the fifth, and when the round ended, Crawford jumped up and down in the middle of the ring and spun his fists in a circle as if he were upset he didn’t finish off his overmatched opponent.

Jean landed a couple punches to the head in the eighth, then Crawford peppered him to the bell.

Jean, who has been a sparring partner for Pacquiao, took a parting shot at Crawford after the fight.

”Manny’s faster and he hits harder,” Jean said.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, known as the ”Oracle of Omaha,” was with Crawford in the locker room an hour before the fight as the champ was taping his hands. Buffett, who arrived at the arena wearing a red Nebraska Cornhuskers jacket and khakis, is a boxing aficionado and longtime friend of Crawford.