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Andre Ward says Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford needs “to get done”

Andre Ward Errol Spence Jr Terence Crawford

By Dan Ambrose: Andre Ward says it’s important that the unification fight between welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) get done as soon as possible. Ward believes that the Spence vs. Crawford fight doesn’t need to be built anymore by their promoters. It’s already a big enough fight, and there’s enough money to go around for both fighters.

Crawford and Spence rarely mention wanting to fight each other. The boxing fans talk about wanting to see the two of the fight each other, but the actual fighters seem to understand that a unification fight between them is likely going to be happening anytime soon if ever due to them being on different networks. Tim Bradley fought for Top Rank, and he never got the chance to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. Had Bradley been on the other side of the fence, he likely would have fought him. Manny Pacquiao was promoted by Top Rank as well, and it took him close to 10 years before he was finally able to get a fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., who worked with Al Haymon.

Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), who holds the IBF 147 lb title, is with Premier Boxing Champions, while WBO welterweight champion Crawford is with Top Rank Boxing promotions. PBC and Top Rank don’t often work together unless it’s for important fight or for mandatories. In this case, both fighters are interested in making the fight. Spence wants it, as does Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs).

It’s just a matter of the management for the two champions to come together to make the fight happen while there’s still interest from the fans. Crawford, 31, is a little bit older and smaller than Spence. There’s a chance that Spence will outgrown the welterweight division, and move up to junior middleweight [154] which may make a fight between him and Crawford even more difficult to make than it is now.

“I’m a boxing fan. It would definitely interest me, but I’m more interested in the welterweights bringing the belts together,” Andre Ward said to Fighthype. “I get the [boxing] politics. This side doesn’t like that side. I get it, but at the end of the day there are four champions in the welterweight division, and I figure there’s time now to figure it out. You got Spence, you got Crawford, and Porter. There’s a time and a place to build. I think with Spence and Crawford, I think we’re in the fourth quarter with the building piece of it. How much longer do we got to go to build, and are we really building? If you look at [Sugar Ray] Leonard and [Thomas] Hearns, they didn’t say all of a sudden, ‘You know what? Let’s fight next.’ That was built up,” Ward said.

More likely than not, the Spence-Crawford fight is going to need to wait until after Spence has fought Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman and Danny Garcia. We’re probably looking at two years at the very least before a potential Spence vs. Crawford fight gets made. Whether Crawford will still be the same fighter he is today is the big question. Crawford depends on his hand speed to win his fights rather than size and brute strength like Spence. When Crawford starts losing his hand speed, he’s going to be in trouble in the same way Roy Jones Jr. was after he lost his speed.

Spence, 29, is coming off of a 12 round unanimous decision over lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) on Fox Sports PPV. The fight could bring in 1 million buys by the time numbers are tabulated. If Spence branches over to PPV, it’s going to make a fight between him and Crawford hard to make, because Spence will want the lion’s share of the loot for the fight. That might not sit too well with Crawford receiving a smaller split than Spence. Further, there would be the problems with which network would televise the fight. Spence fights on Fox and Showtime, while Crawford’s fights are televised on ESPN. Having the Spence vs. Crawford fight shown on both networks will split the audience for the fight, which would be a good thing for the fighters in terms of pay-per-view money, but it won’t make the networks happy in having smaller viewing audience than if they were the only ones televising the fight.

“I’m ready to see the unification. I’m running out of things to say to the fans to try and explain why guys like that aren’t fighting,” Ward said. “If both fighters are demanding the fight, say ‘no, no no. I don’t want him. I want him.’ The fight can be made. So let’s hope that it can get done. The political lines are strong now. Every service wants to say, ‘we’re the best. My side is the best.’ We got to get it. Come on. There’s enough money for everybody,” Ward said about the management for Spence and Crawford needing to get the unification fight done between them,” Ward said.

The boxing public not only want to see Crawford fight Spence. They want to see him face Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Manny Pacquiao. None of those fighters are with Top Rank, and unfortunately none of them are being talked about facing Crawford anytime soon. The guy that is facing Crawford next, former light welterweight champion Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) on April 20, wanted the fight with him. However, there was nothing holding Khan back from taking the fight with Crawford, because he fights on Sky Sports in the UK. Although Crawford vs. Khan is going to be televised on ESPN PPV in the United States, it’s not viewed as a PPV worthy fight by the U.S boxing fans, and it’s not expected to bring in a lot of buys due to the fight being viewed as a mismatch in favor of Crawford. Khan is no longer an elite fighter in the sport, and never was since moving up to welterweight. Crawford hasn’t had access to the big names during his career. His last two fights were against Jose Benavidez Jr. and Jeff Horn, both of which are promoted by Top Rank, and aren’t popular in the U.S. Before that, Crawford was beating guys like Julius Indongo, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean and Thomas Dulorme. Crawford hasn’t been fighting the guys that he’s needed to for him to build a fan base, and he unified the light welterweight title by facing flawed guys in Postol, Indongo and Dulorme.

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