Arum says Terence Crawford can fight 3 to 4 times per year on ESPN
By Jeff Aranow: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum believes he has a superstar on his hands in newly crowned WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford after his 9th round knockout win over champion Jeff Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) last Saturday night, and he says he’s got enough dates on ESPN for him to fight three or even four times per year. In other words, Crawford, 30, can fight as often as he likes, according to the 86-year-old Arum.
Whether he has suitable opponents for Crawford is another thing. The boxing public isn’t going to get too excited if all Arum is shoveling into the ring to fight Horn are the mostly obscure limited guys that the World Boxing Organization has ranked in their top 15, such as Giovanni Santillan, Roberto Amaza, Stephen Danyo, Mikka Shonena, Thomas Lomanna and Alvin Lugumbay. The WBO has packed their top 15 with no-name fighters to the point where Crawford can probably hold onto his WBO title well into his 40s if all he faces are those guys.
“One thing with this ESPN platform is we have the dates,” Arum said via ESPN.com. “We’re going to have ‘Bud’ fight as many times as he and [trainer Brian McIntyre] want. If he wants to fight three times a year or four times a year, we’ve got the dates for him. It’s up to him how busy he wants to be.”
It’s going to take more than just fighting 4 times a year to build Crawford’s brand. He fought frequently at 140, but he was being fed mediocre fighters like Dierry Jean, Julius Indongo and John Molina Jr. Those guys weren’t big enough names to build Crawford’s brand. For some reason, Arum didn’t bother to try and match Crawford against Regis Prograis, the best fighter in the 140 lb.weight class by far.
Arum is obviously hoping that Crawford will fight as often as possible so that he can become a star like Gennady Golovkin. I’m not sure whether it will work out as well for Crawford as it did Golovkin though, as he’s not a seek and destroy type of fighter. Crawford is still a boxer/puncher, who spends a lot of time fiddling with his fighting stance in switching from orthodox to southpaw rather than just going after his opponents to knock them out. What we saw from last night was a fighter that doesn’t have the same punching power he did at 140. Crawford has decent power at 147, but he’s not a huge puncher. Manny Pacquiao showed better power in his fight against Jeff Horn last year than Crawford did, and even at 38 at the time, Pacquiao came close to getting the Australian fighter out of there in the same round Crawford did in the 9th. The difference is Crawford’s stoppage was clearly premature with the referee Robert Byrd stopping the contest WAY too early after the Nebraska native had landed a handful of punches and missed a number of them. Byrd was too hasty I stopping it.
Crawford made $3 million for his night’s work in stopping fellow Top Rank fighter Horn in 9 rounds. I’m sure Crawford would like to make a lot more than $3M per fight, but that’s going to require that Arum match him up against non-Top Rank fighters like Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Can those fights happen? Yes, but it will take a lot of money on Arum’s part to make them happen, and he’ll need to be willing to work with Al Haymon. I don’t know if it’s the right move for Arum to make those fights, because Crawford has a good chance of losing to the likes of Porter, Thurman and Spence. I think Crawford beats the brakes off of Danny Garcia though, but that’s not a big deal because he looked terrible beating Brandon Rios in his last fight and he lost his match before that against Thurman.
Horn took a lot of punishment from Crawford, who was hitting him with accurate punches the entire night. Crawford landed 45% of his shots in the fight, and that’s incredible accuracy for a fighter in any weight class. Crawford literally couldn’t miss with his punches. Horn made it so easy with the way he would throw a poor jab and then follow it by bum rushing Crawford. If Horn had a good jab like Thurman, Porter or Spence, he would have been more effective at attacking Crawford. It also would have
helped if Horn had a longer reach. He was giving away two inches in reach to Crawford, which meant that he needed to take shots in order to get close enough to land. Spence, 5’9”, is an inch taller than the 5’8” Crawford and he has a two inch reach advantage as well as a significant weight and power advantage. Spence would be able to land his jabs from the outside against Crawford, which Horn was unable to do because of his lack of reach. Horn showed a good chin and a lot of heart to take the punches that he did for the 9 rounds of the fight.
In the 9th, Crawford nailed Horn with a couple of rights that caused him to touch his gloves on the canvas to keep from falling. This was counted as a knockdown. I think it was a combination of Horn throwing a punch and getting hit while he was off balance. After the action resumed, Crawford was hitting Horn with shots that led to the stoppage from referee Robert Byrd. It was a hasty stoppage, but Byrd has a reputation for stopping fights early. Horn probably would have been stopped anyway even if the fight hadn’t ended at that moment, because he wasn’t able to defend himself properly to keep Crawford off of him. If Horn had the punching power and boxing skills of Spence, then it would have been a different story.
Horn’s trainer saw a lot that he liked in Crawford’s game last night, but in terms of punching power, he rated him below Manny Pacquiao. Crawford, 5’8”, is two inches taller than the 5’6” Pacquiao, and has a lot longer arms. Crawford’s stamina was much better than Pacquiao’s, as the Filipino fighter has been working as a senator in the Philippines and he wasn’t in the shape that he needed to be to push a fast pace on Horn to knock him out last year in July.
“Crawford was just sharp in there,” Ruston said via ESPN. “He kept on countering Jeff’s shots one at a time. I thought there were some close rounds in there, and it was definitely a premature stoppage. He got hit harder by Pacquiao.”
Crawford will never be a banger like Spence, Lucas Matthysse or the now retired former welterweight champion Marcos Maidana. With a counter puncher, you can beat them with a jab if you have the reach, power and if your jab is a good one. Horn didn’t have either of those things going for him last night, so he was forced to pressure Crawford and take his shots coming in. Spence would be a much different type of fighter, as even if he missed a lot of shots, the punches that he would land would do damage to the rail thin Crawford. I’m not sure that Crawford would hold up long under the pounding by Spence, who is accustomed to sparring the much bigger, stronger and faster Jermell Charlo. Going from sparring a solid 5’11” junior middleweight like Charlo and fighting the smaller, weaker 5’8” Crawford would give Spence a huge advantage.