Crawford stops Benavidez late in last round to keep WBO…

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Terence “Bud” Crawford stopped Jose Benavidez with 18 seconds left in the 12th and final round to retain his WBO welterweight championship on Saturday night.

Crawford had knocked Benavidez to the canvas with a powerful right hand with 46 seconds left, and then Crawford finished him off with consecutive right hands.

After referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the fight, Crawford stuck out his tongue at his fallen opponent, who had made this a personal grudge match with insults he’s directed toward Crawford for months.

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. The only problem is that Spence is promoted by Al Hayman, but Arum has said that would not be an insurmountable problem.

Terence Crawford watches as Jose Benavidez goes down in the 12th round during their WBO welterweight title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Terence Crawford won in the 12th round. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Terence Crawford watches as Jose Benavidez goes down in the 12th round during their WBO welterweight title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Terence Crawford won in the 12th round. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Terence Crawford watches as Jose Benavidez goes down in the 12th round during their WBO welterweight title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Terence Crawford won in the 12th round. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Shakur Stevenson celebrates his win over Viorel Simion during their boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Shakur Stevenson celebrates his win over Viorel Simion during their boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Shakur Stevenson celebrates his win over Viorel Simion during their boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer, left, jabs at Vanessa Bradford during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won the bout by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer, left, jabs at Vanessa Bradford during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won the bout by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer, left, jabs at Vanessa Bradford during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won the bout by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer looks at Vanessa Bradford after knocking her down during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer looks at Vanessa Bradford after knocking her down during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer looks at Vanessa Bradford after knocking her down during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer, left, and Vanessa Bradford exchange blows during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer, left, and Vanessa Bradford exchange blows during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Mikaela Mayer, left, and Vanessa Bradford exchange blows during their super featherweight NABF title boxing bout in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. Mikaela Mayer won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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