Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Boxer Terence "Bud" Crawford says "nothing is guaranteed" when it comes to defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against Egidijus "Mean Machine" Kavaliauskas Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The fight airs on ESPN, following the 2019 Heisman Trophy presentation.
Crawford enters the fight with a 35-0 record, while "Mean Machine" is 20-0-1. Crawford picked up the WBO title in June 2018 and has retained the belt through two fights entering Saturday's bout, headlining Top Rank's final marquee boxing card of the year.
"Nothing is guaranteed, but I feel like I'm going to win this fight because I'm the better fighter," Crawford said.
The Omaha, Neb., native is known for his lightning-quick hand speed and powerful punches. He is a dynamic fighter, often switching hands for punches and alternating between orthodox and southpaw stances. He is a master at eluding punches, contorting his body to force missed punches from foes.
Kavaliauskas is a two-time Olympian. His only fight of 2019 was a draw with Ray Robinson in March. The 5-foot-9 Lithuanian has a more straightforward fighting style. He can often predict where his opponent will go when they are trying to avoid his attacks. He uses that information to time powerful punches into those openings. He manages to keep his opponents off balance by tricking them into thinking he is about to grab or punch and then doing the opposite move.
His slower movements could be a severe weakness against Crawford, who is favored with -2500 odds of winning, according to Caesars Casino & Sportsbook. Kavaliauskas has +1100 odds. Bovada gives Crawford -3000 odds of winning, with Kavaliauskas at +1100.
"I feel like I'm more versatile and can do more things int the ring than he can," Crawford said. "I can adjust to his fighting style more than he can adjust to my fighting style. I feel like I'm an all around better fighter."
Kavaliauskas has been looking forward to fighting Crawford since his training camp in June. He said he couldn't stop smiling for a full day after the bout was made official. He has prepared by sparring with fighters who mimicked Crawford's speed, power and technique. Kavaliauskas said he knows he can't attack Crawford from straight ahead. He must be precise when he attempts to put Crawford on the mat.
"Every day was just Crawford, Crawford, Crawford," Kavaliauskas said Wednesday at a news conference. "My mindset is good. I'm happy for this fight. I want to fight the best and we are fighting in the Mecca of boxing [Madison Square Garden]."
Crawford has been linked to future fights with Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao and others, but says he isn't focused on the future and isn't taking Kavaliauskas "lightly."
"Terence is worth the price of admission by himself," Top Rank CEO and founder Bob Arum told reporters. "He is pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world. Everybody will have an opportunity to watch him fighting a very tough Lithuanian in Kavaliauskas, who has fought for us for many years."
Saturday's card also includes Richard Commey against Teofimo Lopez Jr. for Commey's IBF lightweight title, and Michael Conlan will fight unbeaten Russian Vladimir Nikitin. Other fights include: Josue Vargas against Noel Murphy; Edgar Berlanga against Cesar Nunez; Julian Rodriguez against Manuel Mendez; and George Kambosos Jr. against Mickey Bey.
Terence Crawford vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas
When: 9 p.m. EST Saturday
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York City
Streaming: Watch ESPN