Arum: If no Crawford-Spence fight, Terence will face the best available opponent in November
By Mark Eisner: Bob Arum is still holding out hope that Errol Spence Jr. will agree to face Terence Crawford in 2019. The Top Rank promoter Arum says Spence vs. Crawford is the biggest fight that can be made in the welterweight division today. If IBF 147 pound champion Spence decides to face WBC champion Shawn Porter next, then Arum says he’ll match his fighter WBO champion Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) against the best available contender for a fight in November.
That would probably be #1 WBO Egidijus Kavliauskas, who is waiting for a fight with Crawford. He’s a big upgrade from Amir Khan, who Crawford stopped in six rounds last April on ESPN pay-per-view. Khan quit after being hit low by Crawford in the sixth.
Golden Boy Promotions are interested in Spence for a fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez, but that’s a match that will likely take place in 2020. It’ll also depend on whether Spence beats Crawford. If Spence loses to Crawford, then there would be no point in Golden Boy matching Canelo against Spence. They would look in a different direction for an opponent for Canelo.
Arum: Spence vs. Crawford fight is biggest match in welterweight division
“It really depends on whether Spence has booked a fight with [Shawn] Porter,” said Bob Arum to IFL TV in discussing a possible fight between Crawford and Errol in 2019. “If he hasn’t, I think it would be a very, very successful fight. If not, Crawford will fight the best available [fighter] sometime in November, and then hopefully we’ll look for next year and make the Spence fight. The Spence fight is huge! It’s the biggest welterweight fight, the biggest fight at that level that can be made. The fight is so huge because there are people on both sides of the aisle who have strong views of the [Spence vs. Crawford] fight,” said Arum.
Spence’s negotiating position will be strengthened if he beats Porter
Spence and his management at PBC likely see the Porter fight as one that will help strengthen their negotiating position for a unification fight with Crawford. If Spence can go into the negotiations with Crawford as the IBF/WBC welterweight champion, then he would have two belts to compared to Crawford’s one. That would make it difficult for Top Rank to argue that Crawford deserve a 50-50 split. That’s what Arum wants for Crawford. He doesn’t like the idea of Crawford taking less than a 50-50 split. Spence wants a 60-40 split for the Crawford, but it’s unclear if that’s doable. If Spence draws a line in the sand over wanting the bigger split for the Crawford fight, he may end up with nothing.
“Once you have a betting fight, boxing has always thrived on betting fights,” said Arum in talking about the Spence vs. Crawford fight. “From the time professional boxing started, there were these great old books that I had about the old days, when fighters took boats down rivers to get away from the police to stage boxing. The major matches were so well attended…so if you get a major fight where the odds are close to even, then you have a real big attraction,” said Arum.
Spence vs. Porter on PPV: Is it a wise move?
It’s looking like Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) will be fighting Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) in a unification fight between these two Premier Boxing Champions fighters in September, so the Crawford fight is likely going to need to wait until 2020. What might be a little bit of a bad call is to have the Spence-Porter fight on pay-per-view, and that’s what they’re talking about doing. If the Spence vs. Porter fight brings in poor PPV numbers, it’ll weaken Spence’s hand in negotiating a unification fight with Crawford for 2020.
Spence has gotten a little spoiled from the big money he made in his fight against Mikey Garcia last March. That bout took place on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View. Mikey’s big fan base made it possible for the fight with Spence to be on PPV. Spence vs. Porter isn’t a pay-per-view fight in the eyes of a lot of fan. It would be wiser for Spence to fight Crawford in 2019 if he insists on fighting on pay-per-view. If Spence beats Crawford, his popularity will increase to the level where he can face anyone and have the fights on PPV. Right now, Spence isn’t a big enough name to force the boxing public to pay to see him fight guys that lack a big fan base like Porter.