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Arum lists Crawford’s options: Brook, Thurman, Porter or Ugas

Keith Thurman Kell Brook Manny Pacquiao Shawn Porter Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford has four options available to him for the next defense of his WBO welterweight title if his promoter Bob Arum is unable to negotiate a fight with Manny Pacquiao. That’s the guy that the Top Rank promoter Arum wants and needs most of all for the 32-year-old Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs).

Arum has repeatedly said that Pacquiao and Crawford are a possibility this year, but the facts don’t bear that out. Pacquiao and his management haven’t brought up Crawford’s name.

Freddie Roach, the trainer for Pacquiao, said two weeks ago that Gennadiy Golovkin is someone that he might go after. Roach wants Pacquiao to fight Mikey Garcia, but he thinks he’ll aim high by taking on IBF 160-pound champion Golovkin.

The Top Rank boss Arum has four options potentially available to Crawford if he can’t get Pacquiao to sign. Those four are as follows:

  • Keith Thurman
  • Shawn Porter
  • Yordenis Ugas
  • Kell Brook

Keith Thurman Kell Brook Manny Pacquiao Shawn Porter Terence Crawford

Thurman = ideal opponent for Crawford

Arum would like former WBA/WBC welterweight champion ‘One Time’ Thurman to agree to fight Crawford, but that fight is likely out of reach.  Thurman wants a rematch with Pacquiao, who beat him by a 12 round split decision last July.

Although Thurman said he’s interested in fighting Crawford, he seems more focused on fighting Pacquiao again or Errol Spence.

The other three options – Porter, Brook, and Ugas – for Crawford’s next match aren’t so great. Former IBF 147-pound champion Brook’s career has imploded due to a combination of injuries and inactivity in the last three years.

Arum admits that he needs a big offer to be made from another country to stage the Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight, and it’s not likely to happen given the situation with the pandemic.

Also, Pacquiao vs. Crawford isn’t viewed as a massive fight outside if the United States. A foreign country isn’t likely to throw big money at a Pacquiao-Crawford match because it doesn’t rate as a mouth-watering match-up.

Arum lists four-fighter list for Crawford

“There is a number that are possibilities. Thurman, Porter, or this kid Ugas,” said Arum to Talk Sport on Crawford’s options for next fight. “There’s Kell Brook, whose management contacts me on almost a weekly basis.

“The first possibility is Pacquiao if that’s possible. The second possibility is a fight against one of Al’s guys. And the third possibility is Kell Brook if we can get him in the United States,” said Arum.

Keith Thurman Kell Brook Manny Pacquiao Shawn Porter Terence Crawford

Most boxing fans see Kell Brook as the likely next opponent for Crawford in 2020. The 34-year-old Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) recently emerged from a 14-month layoff to defeat junior middleweight contender Mark DeLuca by a seventh-round knockout last February in Sheffield, England.

Brook is HIGHLY interested in facing Crawford, and he’s been pushing for that match hard. Not surprisingly, Crawford and Arum haven’t shown the same kind of interest in making it, and it’s understandable. Brook is dangerous, and someone that ruin all the years of careful match-making done by Arum with Crawford.

Brook is capable of hurting Crawford and beating him. If that happens, then all that time that Arum put in selectively matching Crawford and hyping him during interviews would be ruined.

As we saw in Crawford’s last fight against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in December, he’s not as good as many boxing fans thought he was. Crawford struggling against a puncher is something this writer suspected. Crawford has glided through an entire 12-year pro career without fighting the best in any of the divisions he’s competed.

When he fought much smaller Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014, he got hurt by the Cuban fighter, and he appeared to be losing the fight through the first four rounds.

Porter unlikely to get picked for Terence

Former IBF/WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter is another fighter that has shown a tremendous amount of interest in facing Crawford, but it’s not paid off for him. Porter has called Crawford out, hoping to get a fight with him, but Arum hasn’t taken him up on his offer.

Out of all the fighters in the 147-pound division, Porter would be the most difficult for Crawford. The inside game that Porter utilizes would be a significant problem for Crawford, who doesn’t fight well in close. Crawford, a counter puncher, who uses his switch-hitting gimmick,  to impress the media, doesn’t have an inside game.

Like most counter punchers, Crawford needs space for him to land his counter shots. When his opponents get in close, Crawford is a very average fighter. On the inside, Crawford is just like any other fighter.

Keith Thurman Kell Brook Manny Pacquiao Shawn Porter Terence Crawford

That’s perhaps why Arum hasn’t gone after Porter to match him with Crawford because there is too much potential for things to go wrong for Terence. Although Crawford’s popularity would go through the roof if he beat Porter, the risk would be too high for him to take the match.

Porter would make Crawford resort to running to try and win an ugly decision, and that would be the equivalent of a loss. When a fighter wins an ugly spoiling affair, the fans lose interest in them and focus their attention more on the exciting fighters.

Crawford says top 147-pounders can’t avoid him forever

“They can’t avoid me forever,” said Crawford on the top welterweights. “They want to keep everything in-house.  They’re going to have to see Terence Crawford. I believe that all those fights that I want and the fans want, we’ll get to see.

“That’s what I’ve been calling for since I came into the welterweight division. That’s what I’m in the sport of boxing for, to take on the biggest and baddest challenges,” said Crawford.

The Premier Boxing Champions welterweights have been fighting each other, which makes sense because they’re arguably more popular than Crawford. No one is ducking Crawford at 147.

What we’re seeing is the popular welterweights like Pacquiao, Thurman, Porter, and Errol Spence are fighting each other because it makes sense.

While it’s true that Crawford has captured world titles in three weight classes,  but he’s not fought the big names to win those titles. As such, when you pick up world titles against weak/mediocre opposition, then it results in a fighter not gaining popularity. The belts might as well be meaningless trinket titles because the fans don’t care.

Interestingly, Crawford thinks the top welterweights have been running from him, especially considering he’s only been fighting at 147 since 2018. Crawford has most of his career at 135.

When Crawford did move up to 147, he took the soft path in targeting WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn instead of the arguably more talented champs. Since he moved up to, Crawford has beaten Jose Benavidez, Amir Khan, and the little known Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

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