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Crawford: I will exploit Errol Spence’s flaws

By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford says he’ll be clearing out the welterweight division, and exploiting the flaws in IBF 147lb. champion Errol Spence’s game when the two of them fight each other. Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) says Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) has flaws that he can take advantage of.

Crawford says could move up to 154 in the future. If he does make that move, it’ll be interesting to see how Crawford does against the likes of Erislandy Lara, Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo. Hurd and Charlo are both young enough to wait on Crawford. Those guys are probably too big and powerful for the thin-boned Crawford to handle. Crawford, 5’8”, is used to being the taller guy in his fights. He won’t be the taller guy against the 5’11” Charlo and 6’1” Hurd. Those fighters will have the reach to nullify Crawford’s jab if he tries to stand on the outside and jab all night.

Crawford, 30, has captured world titles at 135 and 140. He unified the light welterweight division recently after being IBF 140lb. champion Julius Indongo by a 3rd round knockout on August 19. However, the guys that Crawford beat to win titles at 135 and 140 were nowhere near as good as the top welterweights like Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Those fighters would obviously beat everyone that Crawford had ever faced and have the same record as him, but with perhaps more knockouts. That’s the thing. Crawford still hasn’t faced a quality fighter yet like Spence, Thurman, Porter and Garcia. What happens when Crawford tangles with Spence is hard to know. He could get badly hurt like he was against Yuriorkis Gamboa. Crawford was able to survive against Gamboa, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to do that against Spence.

“I cleaned out 135. I cleaned out 140,” said Crawford to “I’m just waiting for the winner to step up and fight me next,” said Crawford about the Jeff Horn vs. Gary Corcoran fight scheduled for December 13.

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Crawford is embellishing his credentials by saying he cleaned out the lightweight division. As a lightweight, Crawford only won 1 of the 4 titles in capturing the WBO 135 lb. belt in beating Ricky Burns by a 12 round unanimous decision in March 2014. Crawford did clean out the 140 lb. division, but he beat some mediocre fighters to win all the titles.

These are the fighters Crawford beat to win all the belts at 140:

• Julius Indongo

• Thomas Dulorme

• Viktor Postol

Those guys aren’t good enough for Crawford to be able to brag about him cleaning out the division. The good fighters, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson, moved up to 147. Crawford didn’t have to fight those guys for titles.

“He’s a good fighter, but he’s not indestructible,” said Crawford about Errol Spence. “Any fighter has their own flaws. I’m ready to exploit each fighter’s flaws when we get in the ring. Of course, I can carry power to 147. You’ll see when I fight. There’s always a crack in someone’s game. You just have to go out there and hit the hole. That’s all you’ve got to do. Of course,” said Crawford when asked if he can clear out the 147 lb. division. “I’m moving up right now. Time will,” said Crawford.

Crawford plans on fighting the winner of the Jeff Horn vs. Gary Corcoran fight. That fight is taking place on December 13. Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum wants him to fight the Horn-Corcoran winner next summer. Crawford is likely to win that fight, and pick up the WBO welterweight title. Spence says he’d be interested in fighting Crawford in a unification fight if he can win the WBO title. It would still be up to Crawford’s promoter Arum and Spence’s adviser Al Haymon if he wants to make a fight between them. If they don’t want to do business with one another, then Crawford might not ever get a fight against Spence. We saw Manny Pacquiao pretty much isolated much of his career in fighting mainly Top Rank guys that are promoted by Arum. 11 of Pacquiao’s last 13 fights have been against Arum’s Top Rank stable fighters. If Arum continues to promote in that way with Crawford, then you can forget about a Crawford-Spence fight. We’ll be looking at Crawford spending the next 8 years fighting Arum’s fighters. If that kind of promoting wasn’t done in the past with Pacquiao, I wouldn’t think it as being possible with Crawford, but coming events cast their shadows before. What makes it harder for Arum to isolate Crawford in matching him only against his Top Rank fighters is the 85-year-old promoter doesn’t have nearly as deep a promotional stable as he did during Pacquiao’s best years. During Pacquiao’s best years, Arum had Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Tim Bradley, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito and Juan Manuel Marquez. Arum was able to have Pacquiao fight those guys and do a lot of repeated rematches to eat up years of his career. Pacquiao made huge money fighting those guys. Arum can’t do that with Crawford, because his stable is barren when it comes to top fighters in the 140 and 147lb. divisions. Arum pretty much has to match Crawford against guys outside of his Top Rank stable like Spence if he wants to turn him into a star.

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“Right now, I’m a 147 pound fighter,” said Crawford. “Will I go up to 147 in the future? Who knows,” said Crawford.

I don’t see Crawford doing well at 154 unless Lara gets old, and Hurd and Charlo move up to 160. If the good fighters move up to middleweight, then of course Crawford move up to 154 and dominate an empty division. I don’t know how much credit Crawford will get for ruling a weak division though.

“He’s just like any other fighter coming to 147,” said Spence to “If we cross paths and they offer me [the Crawford fight], I’m going to take it. People say he’s the second coming of Floyd [Mayweather Jr.], and that he’s going to wipe out the whole welterweight division. If he does it, so be it. Let’s see if he can do it. I’m the bigger guy. I’ve seen him before. He’s a 140 pounder, but he has skills. The dude can fight. He’s moving up now. I hear he’s going to fight Jeff Horn in the summer, and get that belt. We can do something with a unification fight,” said Spence.

I don’t think Crawford is going to be the next Mayweather like some boxing fans believe. The 30-year-old Crawford is way behind where Mayweather was at when he was 30-years-old. Mayweather was already a PPV star by the time he was 30. Crawford still hasn’t earned that status. It’s not that Crawford isn’t a talented fighter. It’s more of a case of Crawford staying too long at 135 and 140. Those are dead divisions, and lacking in popular fighters. If Crawford had moved up to 147 five years ago, he might have achieved stardom by now. No, I take that back. I don’t think Crawford would be a star now even if he moved up to light welterweight a long time ago. If all Arum is going to do is match Crawford against guys like Jeff Horn, Konstantin Ponomarev and Gary Corcoran, then he’s never going to become a big name in the 147 b. division with the casual boxing fans.

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