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'Burns didn't win last fight', says Crawford

AS a public relations exercise, American Terence Crawford's world title media conference yesterday was close to a complete disaster.

The challenger to Ricky Burns' status as WBO lightweight champion appeared intent on being deliberately unco-operative as he responded to questions with a succession of monosyllabic replies. But the 26-year old, from Nebraska, may be guilty of a serious miscalculation after declaring that 30-year-old Burns, from Coatbridge, is lucky still to be champion.

Crawford claimed that Mexican stablemate Raymundo Beltran was robbed after breaking Burns' jaw at the SECC six months ago.

Ring judges stunned the boxing world by awarding Burns a draw and Crawford insisted: "I watched his last fight and he didn't win it. He lost."

He also risked the wrath of 10,000 fight fans on Saturday evening when he added: "I'm not worried about the crowd or the atmosphere."

But Crawford's cockiness may come back to haunt him, for he has never fought in front of a five-figure crowd before, especially one as partisan as a Glasgow audience who do not take kindly to be dismissed almost out of hand.

Charged with making himself available for interview at three o'clock, at the behest of promoter Eddie Hearn, it appeared at first that Crawford had chosen to snub the gathering at Alex Morrison's Glasgow gym. But after his management team had intervened, in a half-hearted attempt to smooth the waters Crawford announced he would make himself available for a maximum of five minutes.

In the event, he was done in less than three minutes after his inquisitors had rapidly run out of questions. But Crawford still managed to convey the impression that he could not care less about Burns or the prospect of confronting boxing's Tartan Army.

"I'm fine, I'm perfect," Crawford said. "My arrival's fine and everything's good. I'm good, my weight is good. I'm just ready to fight.

Crawford also claimed not to be concerned by the judging in Burns' last fight, explaining: "That's not for me to worry about. I don't feel nothing. I'm just ready. I've been sparring with a lot of top athletes."

Crawford says he has not even spoken to his stablemate in an effort to garner fresh information on the champion and he initially ducked answering when asked if he thinks he will succeed in stopping Burns, saying: "We'll have to wait and see."

But he later when quizzed a second time about the possible outcome, he said: "Me, a victory. It doesn't matter when as long as it comes."

Crawford appears to have deliberately set out to make himself unpopular and when asked if he is always as laid back and cool, he shrugged and replied: "Always". And he insisted he has no special message for Burns. "Just show up Saturday," he sneered.

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