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Arum interested in matching Crawford against Provodnikov next

Terence CrawfordBy Chris Williams: Now that his fighter WBO light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) has dispatched #10 WBO Hank Lundy (26-6-1, 13 KOs) in stopping him in the 5th round last Saturday night on HBO Championship Boxing, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is interested in matching Crawford next against #2 WBO Ruislan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs.

Arum is targeting the Crawford-Provodnikov fight for June or July at the Forum in Inglewood, California, according to Dan Rafael. Arum is also interested in matching Crawford against WBA light welterweight champion Adrien Broner in a unification fight, but that obviously isn’t going to happen, given that Broner is with manager Al Haymon.

Arum might as well have namedropped Floyd Mayweather Jr’s name as a potential opponent he’d like to match Crawford against in the summer, because Arum has about as much chance of making that fight happen as he does a fight against Broner.

The Crawford-Lundy fight took place at Madison Square Garden [MSG] in New York in front of 5,092 fans.

“We’re looking to match him as tough as we can,” Arum said via ESPN.com. “One of the possibilities is [former junior welterweight titleholder] Ruslan Provodnikov. That would be a great fight. I talked to [Provodnikov promoter] Artie Pelullo [on Saturday] and we’re going to explore that.”

Provodnikov, 32, is kind of in the same boat at Lundy was coming into his fight against Crawford. Lundy had lost two out of his last three fights going into the Crawford fight last night. Provodnikov has lost two out of his last four fights, and three out of his last six fights. You can argue that this is yet another mismatch for Crawford. It’s a showcase fight for Crawford on paper, and I’m not sure that it’s going to help Crawford’s career.

Arum would be better off matching Crawford against the fighters that beat Provodnikov rather than putting him in with Provodnikov himself. Unfortunately, I doubt that Arum could make the fights with the guys that beat Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse, Mauricio Herrera and Chris Algieri, right now because they have other things they’re doing with their careers.

Arum has worked with Provodnikov in the past for fights, so this is obviously a doable fight for him.

“I don’t pick the fights. I just fight them,” Crawford said via ESPN.com. “I’m really satisfied and happy with my performance, but now, I go back to the gym and sharpen up these tools a little more and see what’s next.”

I think a fight between Crawford and Provodnikov might be about as good as it gets for Crawford in terms of the match-making that’s done for him with Top Rank. I cannot see Crawford getting a big fight against Manny Pacquiao because he is out the door after his April 9 bout against Tim Bradley. Crawford and Bradley are friends, so there is no way that the two of them can face each other in the future. There are whole bunch of welterweights that I do not think Arum can put with Crawford. Those are all the Al Haymon managed fighters. About the only big fight I can see for Crawford is fight against Felix Verdejo in the future once Verdejo moves up in weight.

In addition, there is a possibility that Crawford could fight a unification fight later this year against WBC light welterweight champion Viktor Postol. I would like to see that fight, but it remains to be seen whether Arum will pull the trigger on that fight to make it happen. Even if Arum does, it is a fight that will mainly be appreciated by the hardcore boxing fans of the sport. Postol is not a big name with the casual fans, so it is not a fight that will substantially increase Crawford’s popularity if he wins. I’m not sure that he will win thought. Postol is a punching machine, and he is very tall at 5’11”. The 5’8” Crawford will be getting hit all night long when he attempts to land his shots.

Crawford made $1.21 million last night for the Lundy fight. That shows you how far away he is from being at the status where Manny Pacquiao is. For his part, Pacquiao is making over $20 million per fight. At 28, Crawford needs to hurry up if he wants to become a PPV attraction, because he is not getting any younger. Putting him in with Provodnikov isn’t going to turn Crawford into a PPV star. It did not turn Chris Algieri into a PPV star, and the same with Lucas Matthysse.

Arum needs to start building bridges with the other promoters and managers if he wants to turn Crawford into a star, because he’s not going to get there if all Arum can do is put him in with the likes of Lundy, Dierry Jean, Provodnikov and Thomas Dulrome.

Lundy made $150,000 for his five rounds of work last night. It will be interesting to see if he ever gets another shot at a world title in his career. At 32, I would think not. Time is running out for Lundy, and it is going to take a while for him to rebuild after this loss.

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