Ellerbe says Spence vs. Crawford isn’t happening soon
By Allan Fox: Leonard Ellerbe laughed off the recent comments made by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum about him saying that he plans on contacting Errol Spence’s adviser Al Haymon next week to put together a Spence vs. Terence Crawford fight.
Ellerbe says a Spence-Crawford fight is NOT happening anytime soon, because Spence has a lot of other options in front of him for big fights involving Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao that they plan on exploring before they look in the direction of the Top Rank promoted Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs).
In effect, Ellerbe is saying that Spence is just going to be fighting PBC fighters, and Top Rank, Arum and Crawford need not apply. Ellerbe is being honest, so you can’t fault him for that. The knowledgable boxing fans already knew that Spence was going to be matched against all the top PBC fighters – Thurman, Porter, Garcia and Pacquiao – before he was eventually matched against Crawford. It makes sense though.
Crawford isn’t popular enough right now for a Spence-Crawford fight to bring in a lot of pay-per-view buys. If PBC waits until Spence cleans out all the other PBC welterweights, then a fight between him and Crawford will be bigger. Just how much bigger is unclear, because that will depend also on how Top Rank matches Crawford in the next two or three years. If they only put him in with beatable fighters like Khan, Benavidez and Horn, then he’s not going to become a popular enough fighter to bring much to the table for a fight against Spence. In that case, we might not ever see Spence fighting Crawford. Crawford would be in the same position WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade is in with him not being sought out by the more popular middleweights in the division like Saul Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs.
Ellerbe says Top Rank Boxing can’t deliver big fights for Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko, and he feels it’s unfortunate. Ellerbe says Crawford is a good kid, but he’s in a bad position where his promoters at Top Rank have nothing for him. Hence, Crawford is being matched against Amir Khan, who isn’t a major player in boxing any longer.
“It should be good for Terence Crawford. I think he wins in comfortable fashion,” Mayweather Promotons CEO Leonard Ellerbe said when asked by by the boxing media what his thoughts are on the Crawford vs. Khan fight.
Crawford will be defending against Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) this Saturday night on April 20 on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York. The reaction to that fight by the boxing public has been a mixed bag. While some fans think it’s a great fight, others point out that it’s another example of Crawford being matched against a soft opponent that has little chance of beating him. Khan has been knocked out a number of times in the past, and he hasn’t beaten a big name for almost a decade. Khan’s last big win was against Marcos Maidana in 2010. Khan’s wins since then have come against lesser opposition.
“I don’t have a reaction. What does that mean?” Ellerbe said when told about Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s remarks about wanting to contact Al Haymon next week after Crawford beats Khan in order to setup a fight between Terence and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence. “Errol Spence has business to take care of him right there in front of him. Do I have to name guys right there in his house, in his stable that he can make a fight, that he doesn’t need to make a call and argue with there. We all know the problems they [Top Rank] have. I’m not going to call it a problem that I have or Al [Haymon] has. That’s THEIR [Top Rank] problem. Top Rank can’t deliver a big fight for Terence Crawford or [Vasiliy] Lomachenko. That’s what it is, period, point blank. So all this masquerading around, saying, ‘I’m going to do this or do that.’ That’s just Bob [Arum] doing Bob, and it’s OK. He’s a good promoter, and he’s made a great living and built a great company doing those kinds of things. That s— is old, prehistoric stuff. The ranting and raving don’t mean nothing in 2019. Nobodies even listening other than the 10 or 12 people in front of him. The fighters have a voice, a platform and they’re very, very intelligent. You can’t even trick the public anymore with any of their nonsense. He [Arum] knows that a Crawford-Spence fight isn’t getting ready to happen soon. Errol Spence has a plethora of options right in front of him one by one,” Ellerbe said.
As you can see, Ellerbe doesn’t think too much of Top Rank’s ability to make big fights for Crawford and Lomachenko. It would be nice if one could argue that both fighters have been and will be involved in big fights, but that’s not happened and it doesn’t look like it’s going to in the near future. If Crawford beats Khan this Saturday night, the only really big fight that appears to be available to Terence is a match against Kell Brook, who has expressed interest in fighting him if he beats Khan. Whether Top Rank would take that fight with Brook or not is unclear. Brook is risky fight for Crawford. Although Brook was beaten by Spence and Gennady Golovkin, those two had problems with him, and they had size going for them. Crawford, 5’8″, doesn’t possess the size or the power that GGG and Spence have. Brook could pull off an upset against Crawford, and you wouldn’t be able to call it a true upset, because we have no way of knowing right now how good Crawford is. Top Rank hasn’t matched him against anyone talented yet at 147. He’s had two fights at welterweight against Jeff Horn and Jose Benavidez, and those lower level guys. Crawford didn’t fight any of the good light welterweights when he was competing at 140. Despite unifying the light welterweight division, Crawford didn’t have to fight the talented guys, because the sanctioning bodies weren’t ranking the cream of the division high enough at the time for them to be in Crawford’s solar system.
“We’re going to see how the s— stacks out in the end,” Ellerbe said. “Danny [Garcia] feels he’s the best welterweight. He lost two close decisions to Keith [Thurman] and Shawn [Porter]. Shawn thinks he’s the best guy in there. All this s— is going to shake up sooner rather than later. If Terence is the last man standing, I’m sure that’s what it exactly comes down to. These two guys have to fight. But in the immediate future, what’s going on right now in 2019, Errol Spence has a number of options. He’s the boss. Each of the welterweights think they’re the best. We’re going to find out soon who is the best. Terence Crawford thinks he’s the best. The difference is, Terence doesn’t have those options. Unfortunately, I feel bad for the kid. He’s a nice guy, a great fighter. It’s just unfortunate that he’s not going to be in any of those great fights in the immediate future, because I know what the plans are for those guys that I just mentioned, and Manny Pacquiao is in the mix too. These guys are going to be fighting each other. These are all big fights. We’ve seen Keith [Thurman] on big platforms doing six million, five million, 4.2 million, whatever it be on CBS or NBC. We seen Errol Spence on Fox. He did six million. These are big platforms, that these guys have options, and the fights are right in front of them. They don’t have to argue with nobody [Top Rank]. It’s one phone call. They’re talking to the same guy Al [Haymon]. This year, you’ll see those guys mixing it up. You’ll see Errol in with one of those guys in his very next fight. You’ll see Manny Pacquiao in a fight with somebody. If Danny [Garcia] wins [against Adrian Granados], you’ll see him in a big fight. If Adrian pulls off an upset, you’ll see him in a big fight. Adrian was talking to me about fighting Keith Thurman. Nobody is talking about doing that,” Ellerbe said in response to a question of whether Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions is locking out Crawford from fighting any of their fighters. “He’s a tremendous fighter. This is business. There are fights that we can make right away, and we ain’t got to argue with nobody about nothing, and we got all the big fighters,” Ellerbe said.
It sounds bad what Ellerbe is saying about Spence being matched against the other PBC fighters before they make the fight with Crawford, but it makes good business sense. Why would Premier Boxing Champions look across the pond to Top Rank to help out Crawford if they have their own fighters that can gain by facing Spence? Crawford is with another promoter, and he’s not popular enough right now for PBC to have their guys face him. If Crawford was in the same league as Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Canelo Alvarez in terms of his popularity, then it wouldn’t be a problem. Spence, Pacquiao, Thurman, Garcia and Porter would all be rushing to fight Crawford if that were the case. Unfortunately, it’s not that way. Crawford is arguably less popular than those fighters, so PBC would be doing Crawford and Top Rank a big favor by matching their top guys with him. Style-wise, Crawford has a style that’s not good for other promoters to match their fighters against him. He’s a counter puncher, mover, and he likes to turn southpaw a lot, and he’s not a big star. Crawford has a lot of negatives about him that makes it easy for PBC to ignore him, and put on their own big fights.