Terence Crawford: ‘I want the Errol Spence fight’
By Chris Williams: WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) wants the world to know that he DOES want to face IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. in a unification fight so that he can prove to the fans that he’s the number one welterweight in all of boxing. Crawford wants his promoter Bob Arum to sit down with Spence’s management after April 20 to put together a deal for them to fight each other. It would be a shared network fight, since Spence fights on for Premier Boxing Champions on Showtime, and Crawford is with Top Rank on ESPN.
Crawford has to get passed challenger Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) next month on April 20 before he can start thinking about facing IBF welterweight champion Spence Jr. (25-0, 21 KOs) in a unification fight.
“I want the fight. Let me just say that right now,” Crawford said to TMZ. “Just to show the world I’m the best welterweight in the division. I feel confident matching up with anybody. I can box, I can bang, I can switch, I can punch, I’m not slow.”
Although Crawford is ranked high in a lot of the fans’ pound-for-pound lists, that kind of stuff doesn’t mean anything when it comes to real life fighting. That’s all guesswork. The only thing that means anything is real fighting, and Crawford is still unproven because he’s never faced any of the elite fighters in any of the weight classes he’s fought at. Crawford unified the 140 lb division, but he did it against this beatable guys: Thomas Dulorme, Viktor Postol and Julius Indongo. None of them are major players at 140 in 2019.
All the stuff that Crawford talks about with him switching stances and boxing isn’t going to do much to keep Spence off of him. Crawford is no more effective when he switches from the orthodox [right-handed] stance to the southpaw [left-handed] stance. All that stuff is blown out of proportion by broadcasters, who seem mesmerized by it, but fail to recognize that there’s no gain for Crawford when he switches stances. It’s just a waste of movement against over-matched fighters that have little ability. When you see Crawford switching stances needlessly against the likes of Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez and Julius Indongo, it makes you wonder why he’s wasting his time doing that against guys that doesn’t need to do that to beat. Crawford will need to do a lot more than switching stances constantly against Spence if he wants to try and keep him off. All the switching stances didn’t make a difference in his last fight against Jose Benavidez Jr. Crawford was still getting hit, and he was having problems with the size and the pressure from Benavidez, who isn’t a big puncher.
Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum said this on his social media site about wanting to do the Spence fight next following the Khan fight on April 20:
“Errol Spence said he’s ready to fight Terence Crawford. We are ready to do that next, once Bud [Crawford] is successful against Amir King Khan on April 20. It’s what fight fans want. Al [Haymon], should I call you or will you call me? @Premier Boxing Champions.”
Getting the Spence-Crawford made might prove to be too difficult for it to get done right now. Crawford still isn’t well known, and that’s not going to change after his fights Khan on April 20. Crawford needs to beat some credible welterweights or junior middleweights to build his name up. Spence still has four good fights that need to be made against Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia. Those are all Premier Boxing Champions fighters, and they’re doable fights for Spence. Crawford is on the other side of the fence in fighting for Top Rank on ESPN.
Provided Crawford gets passed Khan on April 20 on ESPN PPV, he can face #1 WBO Egidijus Kavaliauskas. That’ll be a good fight. But after that fight, there’s not much for Crawford in terms of doable fights that Top Rank can put together. They’ll probably look to get #3 WBO Jessie Vargas by throwing a lot of money at him to see if he’ll agree.
It’s doubtful that Vargas will agree to take the fight with Crawford if it means he’ll have to chase him around the ring the way Viktor Postol did. Vargas probably will say not, which will leave Top Rank either matching Crawford against 37-year-old Luis Collazo (39-7, 20 KOs) or #5 WBO Kerman Lejarraga. Neither of those fights will do much to raise Crawford’s profile. Collazo is nearing 40-years-old, and he’s never been a hugely popular fighter in the U.S.
Lejarraga is an unknown with casual boxing fans in the United States, so that’s not a great option either. Crawford is in a bad position where he’s not going to raise his level of popularity with the guys that Top Rank has to match him against.
WBC light welterweight champion Jose Carlos Ramirez is talking about wanting to move up to fight Crawford for his WBO title, but he’s not a star and if he stays at 140 a little bit longer, he’s likely going to lose his World Boxing Council light welterweight title to Regis Prograis or Josh Taylor. Spence is in a better position to become a huge star in the next two years than Crawford is.
There is one way for Crawford to become a star by moving up to 154, but he probably take that route because it would be too hard and would require him to take a major career risk. If Crawford could move up to junior middleweight, and beat Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara and Jaime Munguia, his popularity would skyrocket. Crawford and/or his promoters at Top Rank wouldn’t take that route. They’ll have Crawford stay at 147, and try and turn him into a star by matching him against the likes of Khan, Kavaliauskas, Jessie Vargas, Lejarraga and Collazo. Those are the same type of fighters that Crawford was fighting when he was at 140. Crawford became a pound for pound fighter on the cheap by beating these guys: John Molina Jr., Julius Indongo, Dierry Jean, Felix Diaz, Viktor Postol and Hank Lundy. Ring Magazine, the ones that have Crawford at #2, did it based on his wins over those guys. None of them are considered elite fighters at 140 today. Look around. None of them are major players at light welterweight. Postol just got beat by Josh Taylor. Dulorme, Diaz, Indongo and Lundy aren’t relevant. Regis Prograis did a better job knocking out Indongo than Crawford did in stopping him in two rounds.
“Crawford-Spence looks to be now what Canelo-GGG was a couple of years ago. It’s simply the best fight that can be made in boxing, period,” ESPN’s Max Kellerman said in discussing the Spence vs. Crawford mega-fight. “My pound-for-pound list at the moment; Crawford is still at the top followed by [Vasiliy] Lomachenko. Canelo is at #3, and Spence is in the top five at #4,” Kellerman said.
You can argue that Spence vs. Thurman or Manny Pacquiao is just as big if not bigger than Spence-Crawford. If Thurman started fighting more often, he could be popular. There’s talk that Thurman and Pacquiao will be facing each other next. The winner of that fight will be an excellent opponent for Spence to face. Pacquiao said he was going to fight Spence next, but it looks like he’s changed his mind and won’t be doing that after all.
Here’s Kellerman’s top 10 pound-for-pound list:
1. Terence Crawford
2. Vasiliy Lomachenko
3. Saul Canelo Alvarez
4. Errol Spence Jr.
5. Oleksandr Usyk
6. Gennady Golovkin
7. Naoya Inoue
8. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
9. Mikey Garcia
10. Anthony Joshua
Kellerman’s top 10 pound-for-pound list is flawed. You can’t put Crawford at #1, based on the weak opposition he fought at 140, and his equally weak opposition at 147. Crawford’s only two fights at welterweight have come against Benavidez, who has a knee problem and never considered an elite guy, and Jeff Horn, a fighter that won a controversial decision over Pacquiao in a foul-plagued fight in 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.