The duo had been embroiled in a tenacious build-up to the fight, with Benavidez shoving the champion during the staredown at the weigh-ins, something Crawford didn't take too lightly has he responded by throwing a right hand which his opponent did well to dodge. Crawford weighed in at 145.4 pounds and Benavidez at 145 pounds.
Next up for Crawford could be a unification bout with IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., something promoter Bob Arum has said he would like to make happen sometime in 2019.
That's just what Crawford did - and in style - as he outclassed Benavidez before scoring a violent 12th-round knockout to retain his 147-pound title for the first time before a raucous crowd of 13,323 on Saturday night at the CHI Health Center in Crawford's hometown.
The crowd was on its feet for the 12th round, and "Craw-ford!"
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Benavidez on the ropes, the referee called a halt with 18 seconds of the fight to go.
Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) comes from Omaha, Nebraska and now owns the WBO welterweight title after stopping Jeff Horn in a one sided domination in Las Vegas. At the time of the stoppage, Crawford was ahead on all three cards with scores of 110-99, 108-101, 107-102. The fighters' camps traded barbs at a media workout Wednesday and the bickering continued Thursday at a news conference.
"He hasn't faced anyone who has a good resume or has a bad-ass resume", Benavidez said.
On the undercard, 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer of Los Angeles won a regional super featherweight belt with a unanimous decision over Vanessa Bradford of Edmonton, Alberta.