BWAA honors Terence Crawford

Lightweight champion Terence Crawford, who won a world title and had two other notable victories in 2014, was voted the Sugar Ray Robinson fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America on Monday.

Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs), also selected as the 2014 ESPN.com fighter of the year in December, finished ahead of light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KOs), who unified three belts with his one-sided decision win against Bernard Hopkins in November.

"It's a surprise to me because that's something I never thought I'd be able to accomplish," Crawford said. "Now that it's happened, it kind of feels like it's not real. But I will say that my performance in the ring on those three nights last year brought the best out of me.

"I was as sharp as I could be. Everything fell into place at the right time, and I'm looking for a big year again in 2015."

The other BWAA fighter of the year finalists were Gennady Golovkin, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Naoya Inoue. The remainder of the award winners will be announced Wednesday, and the BWAA awards dinner will take place April 24 in New York.

"I'm going to continue taking the biggest and best fights out there. I don't want to take no step down," said Crawford, a native of Omaha, Nebraska. "I want to prove I'm the best fighter in and around my division and one of the best in any division. To be great, you got to set your sights on the Pacquiaos and the Mayweathers. Those are the kind of guys I want to fight and beat."

In 2014, Crawford, 27, traveled overseas and turned in a dazzling performance against Glasgow, Scotland, native Ricky Burns in March to win a decision and a 135-pound world title.

For his first defense, promoter Top Rank brought Crawford home to Omaha, where a raucous crowd of 10,943 turned out for the first world title fight there since Joe Frazier defended the world heavyweight title against Omaha's Ron Stander in 1972.

In a fight of the year candidate, Crawford scored an electrifying ninth-round knockout victory against then-undefeated, former unified featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa, a flashy 2004 Cuban Olympian gold medalist.

In November, Crawford defended the title in Omaha before 11,127 fans against respected mandatory challenger Raymundo Beltran, who many viewed as an uncrowned titleholder after a highly disputed draw against Burns prior to Crawford's fight.

Crawford was nearly flawless against Beltran, pitching a near-shutout to win on scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.

One week before the awards dinner, Crawford is slated to make his 2015 debut, on April 18, when he will move up to the 140-pound junior welterweight division. He is expected to challenge Puerto Rico's Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs) for a vacant world title on HBO at a site to be determined.