By Dan Ambrose: Trainer Robert Garcia says that if a fight between Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) and WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) will be taking place, it’s going to be in two years from now.
Robert states Top Rank is going to match Crawford against 38-year-old Mike Alvarado (40-4,28 KOs) a fighter they promote, and then possibly put him in with Thomas Dulorme (24-3-1, 1 in a rematch. It would be a bad career move for Crawford to fight Alvarado and Dulorme though. Assuming that Crawford has the option to reject the fights offered to him by Top Rank, he needs to think seriously about turning down Alvarado and Dulorme if those are the next two fights offered to him by his promoters. It’s one thing for Top Rank to match Crawford against previously unbeaten fringe contender Jose Benavidez Jr. like they did last month on October 13, but it’s an entirely different story putting Alvarado and Dulorme in with him. Dulorme did look good in fighting to a 12 round draw against former two division world champion Jessie Vargas last month on October 6 on DAZN in Chicago, Illinois. Dulorme fought to a 12 round draw against Vargas. But that doesn’t mean that Dulorme should be fighting for a world title against Crawford. Fighting Dulorme and Alvarado isn’t going to raise Crawford’s brand.
Crawford beat Dulorme by a 6th round knockout three years ago in April 2015 to win the vacant World Boxing Organization 140 lb title. Crawford went on to unify the light welterweight division by winning all four titles before moving up to welterweight last June to defeat WBO 147 lb champion Jeff Horn by a 9th round knockout to become a three division world champion.
Mikey has bigger mountains to climb in a fight against IBF 147 lb champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) in 2019, and then after that a possible fight against WBA lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko. Crawford isn’t in the picture right now for Mikey due to the little interest the boxing public has in that fight. You can argue that Crawford’s match-making hasn’t helped him become a bigger name. However, it’s not just the match-making that’s held Crawford back. It’s his fighting style as well as his laid back personality. Crawford is a switch-hitting counter puncher, who tends to use his jab a lot and move around the ring. In this day and age where the boxing fans have become more interested in seeing punchers, Crawford is viewed as a relic from a bygone era. He’s like a slower, more-mobile version of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Being more mobile and slower than Mayweather isn’t a good thing. Fans want their fighters to stand and fight, not run around the ring for 12 rounds.
Robert G notes that the boxing fans aren’t talking about wanting to see Mikey face Crawford. The fans are talking about the Mikey vs. Lomachenko fight at lightweight, and of course the Mikey vs. Spence fight.
“If Mikey ever fights Crawford it’ll probably be two years from now because I think Crawford’s going to fight Mike Alvarado, then he might give [Thomas] Dulorme a rematch. That’s probably why Top Rank doesn’t even mention Crawford’s name. They mentioned Lomachenko and that’s the fight they want,” Robert said.
It’s scary to think of Crawford defending his WBO welterweight title against Mike Alvarado at this point in his career. Although Alvarado has won his last six fights, he’s still viewed as an over-the-hill fighter, who left his prime behind six years ago. Alvarado’s recent string of six victories has come against lower level opposition. He’s no longer fighting world class opposition. The last time Alvarado fought a world class fighter was back in 2015 when he was stopped in the 3rd round by Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios in their trilogy fight. Even that fight wasn’t against a relevant fighter from the 147 lb weight class. Rios has never been a major player at welterweight. Alvarado also has losses to Juan Manuel Marquez and Ruslan Provodnikov.
“I talked to Crawford last Saturday about it too and I told him straight up, the way it is,” Robert G said about a fight between Mikey and Crawford. “You know, I was with [Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum earlier that day, everybody at Top Rank, [and] nobody mentions Mikey vs. Crawford; the fight they want to do is Mikey vs. Lomachenko. Lomachenko’s team, Top Rank, everybody wants Mikey vs. Lomachenko, nobody mentions Crawford,’ Robert said.
It’s not surprising that the emphasis by Top Rank is on a fight between Lomachenko and Mikey. Lomachenko is a major star already, compared by Arum to the late great Muhammad Ali. Lomachenko brings in great ratings because of his entertaining style of fighting, technical ability and his willingness to get in the trenches and slug with his opponents. If Top Rank can match Lomachenko against Mikey, there’s a chance that the 2-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine can be transformed into a PPV star. It’s unclear how feasible it is for Lomachenko to branch over to PPV with the emphasis drifting away from pay-per-view. But Lomachenko can at least make big money in fighting on ESPN in the same way Saul Canelo Alvarez is now making huge revenue with his new $365 million contract with DAZN.
“I definitely do,” Robert said when asked if he thinks Mikey can beat Crawford. “Crawford’s not, you know, he’s a great fighter, one of my favorites too. I love his skills, I love his attitude, I love the way he does in the ring, but I think Mikey does beat him,” Robert said.
Whether Mikey ever fights Crawford or not may depend on how well he performs against Spence in 2019. If Mikey gets destroyed by Spence, like most boxing fans are predicting, then we’re likely going to never see a fight between him and Crawford. Mikey will realize that he lacks the size to campaign against the best at welterweight, and he’ll then move back down to 135 and resume defending his World Boxing Council title.
Crawford needs good talent for him to fight. He might be better off moving back down to 140 so that he can face Jose Ramirez, Alex Saucedo, Regis Prograis, Josh Taylor, Kiryl Relikh and Maurice Hooker. Crawford left the light welterweight division right when it started heating up.