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Bolstered by his work with Tyson Fury, Jared 'Big Baby' Anderson showing signs of eliteness

·Combat columnist
·3 min read
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When Terence Crawford speaks, young fighters would be wise to listen. And Crawford, the WBO welterweight champion and the No. 2 pound-for-pound boxer in the world on the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound list, was giving heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson some pointers before a recent fight.

Anderson was scheduled to fight Kingsley Ibeh on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas. Crawford spoke with him during training camp about the fight.

“Terence and I had a little bet going before my fight with Kingsley Ibeh,” Anderson said.

Suddenly, he stops and reverses course.

“Well, I wouldn’t call it a bet,” Anderson said, chuckling. “It was more of a threat. He told me if I didn’t go to [Ibeh]’s body in the first couple of rounds, then he and I were going to fight after.”

Fighting Crawford is no fun for anyone, not even for a heavyweight that promoter Bob Arum believes could evolve into the next big thing in the sport.

Anderson is showing all of the signs of becoming an elite, world-class heavyweight. On Saturday, he’ll fight veteran Oleksandr Teslenko, who is 17-1, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Anderson is 10-0 with 10 KOs and isn’t looking to take things slow. Anderson shared a card with highly regarded Cuban heavyweight Frank Sanchez on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder undercard in October. Daniel Dubois, an elite heavyweight who was the Yahoo Sports boxing Prospect of the Year, is only two years older than Anderson and similarly athletic.

How long, Anderson was asked, before he’s ready to fight that level of opposition.

“Tomorrow,” he replied quickly. “Trust me: I was ready if it was this fight, next fight, I’m ready. I know what I am capable of and I believe I’m ready for those kinds of guys, you could put me in with them now and you’d see.”

There is an audacity among young fighters, who often don’t know what they don’t know. But Anderson has been around the best fighters in the world, getting tips from Crawford and heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and sparring regularly with Fury.

It would be logical to assume that Anderson’s confidence was buoyed by his work with Fury and Fury’s overwhelming praise for him. He said, though, that’s not the case.

“My confidence was there before [I met] Tyson,” Anderson said. “It was backed up by Tyson.”

Arum raved about him as well, but Anderson said he’s not going to deviate from his strategy. He’s planning to use the same formula that’s gotten him to 10-0 to continue his ascent to the top of the mountain.

And he has his reasons for sticking with the program.

“No reason,” he said, laughing, “to have Terence come looking for me.”

Crawford, though, is a huge boxing fan. And like the rest of us, Crawford is going to see plenty of Anderson over the next few years.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 09: Jared Anderson (L) punches Vladimir Tereshkin during their heavyweight bout at T-Mobile Arena on October 09, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Jared Anderson (L) punches Vladimir Tereshkin during their heavyweight bout at T-Mobile Arena on October 9, 2021 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)