Arum: Terence Crawford will be the new superstar after Mayweather and Pacquiao retire
By Dan Ambrose: Former WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) will be in the ring tonight in a fight for the vacant WBO light welterweight title against #5 WBO contender Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs) on HBO Championship Boxing at the University of Texas, in Arlington, Texas, USA.
The World Boxing Organization are throwing the 27-year-old Crawford a bone by sanctioning this fight for the WBO 140 pound title rather than insisting that Crawford fight Chris Algieri, Ruslan Provodnikov or Lucas Matthysse, who are ranked in the top three, rather than Dulorme.
Crawford matches up better against Dulorme than he does against those three fighters, and he has a much better chance of winning a belt than he would if he had to face a big puncher or a slick operator.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes that Crawford has the talent to become a superstar and take over for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. when the two of them retire from boxing in a year or two. Having seen Crawford’s less than compelling performances during his career against the likes of Raymundo Beltran and Breidis Prescott. Crawford did a lot of holding in those fights, and it was real boring stuff from him. The performances were far from what you would expect from a future superstar. It’s not as if he was really young at that point. He’s pushing 28, and a fighter normally has shown by this point in his career whether he’s got to the talent to be a superstar or not.
“We believe Terence is the emerging rising superstar in boxing so that when Floyd and Manny shortly, pretty shortly, hang up there gloves they will be missed but not as much because there will be this new superstar on the horizon in Terrence Crawford,” Arum said via Fightnews.com.
Arum says that Crawford will be moving up to 147 in the near future to look for bigger fights because there aren’t a lot of opportunities for big fights for him at 140. Al Haymon has many of the top fighters at 140, and Arum doesn’t have enough guys in his stable in that weight class to match Crawford up against too many guys.
Speaking about Crawford’s fight against Dulorme tonight, Arum said “This is a very, very crucial first step for Terence to join that really elite group of fighters and we have confidence in Terence.”
I don’t think beating Dulorme, a fighter who was already stopped by Luis Carlos Abregu, is going to turn Crawford into a superstar. Far from it. Beating Dulorme is likely going to keep Crawford exactly where he is right now in terms of becoming the next star. If Arum wants Crawford to become a huge star, he needs to sit him down and tell him to top holding a lot, and be more aggressive offensively. He’s got good skills, but he sits and waits too much to land punches. Crawford doesn’t have the hand speed that Mayweather and Pacquiao have, and he’s not nearly as interesting to fight.
The constant holding and waiting around that he does makes him even less compelling to watch. Arum also needs to match Crawford against better opposition. He’s not going to become a superstar on the cheap by matching him against the likes of Beltran and Dulorme. Crawford is going to need to fight guys like Marcos Maidana, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Kell Brook, and Keith Thurman if he wants to become a superstar. Putting Crawford in with Tim Bradley and Brandon Rios, two of Arum’s Top Rank stable fighters at 147, isn’t going to be enough.
Crawford needs to face the actual top fighters at 147. After seeing Crawford get staggered by Yuriorkis Gamboa in their fight in 2014, I think Keith Thurman and Maidana would either knock Crawford out or make him look really, really bad in beating him. If Crawford had to clinch constantly against those fighters in order to keep from getting knocked out that further keep him from becoming a star. He would have to really put it on the line against the top stars at 147 to become a star, and beat them while looking impressive.
Besides Crawford’s limitations in power and fighting style, he likely wouldn’t ever face guys like Thurman, Maidana and Amir Khan because they’re not with Top Rank. Unfortunately for Crawford, unless he fights those guys he’s probably never going to become a superstar. He can beat Bradley, Thurman and Mike Alvarado, three of Arum’s fighters, over and over again and still never become a superstar. Those guys aren’t going to get Crawford to the next level.
With Arum’s No.1 fighter Manny Pacquiao talking about retiring after one or two more fights, you can expect Arum to rush a Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight before Pacquiao retires, even though it’s not a fight that the casual boxing fans would be interested in seeing. It wouldn’t be a huge money maker despite the fact that Crawford is unbeaten. If Pacquiao wanted to maximize his income in his last remaining fights of his career, he should be looking to face Mayweather in a rematch, and then fight the likes of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan or Kell Brook. Fighting Crawford would likely be the equivalent of Pacquiao fighting Algieri or Brandon Rios again.
I wouldn’t put it past Arum to push hard to have Pacquiao fight Crawford in order for Pacquiao to put his Midas touch on him to make him a bigger name. If Crawford could beat Pacquiao, it could in theory make him a star. The problem is that Pacquiao would likely walk right through Crawford’s shots and give him a beating in the process of knocking him out. That obviously wouldn’t help Crawford become a superstar. It would be a gamble on Arum’s part in putting Crawford in with Pacquiao. About the best that Arum could hope for is for Crawford to look good in losing the fight to Pacquiao. That means no holding like we saw from Crawford in his fight against Beltran, and more offense from him instead of his usual counter punching.
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