Crawford must fight Boots Ennis or Spence in 2023 or vacate WBO belt

By Boxing News - 11/23/2022 - Comments

By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford must defend his WBO welterweight title against Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis or Errol Spence Jr in 2023 or vacate the belt.

Crawford, 35, is going to need some willingness to stick it out with the negotiations with Spence next year if doesn’t want to have to defend his WBO title against Boots Ennis and wind up getting knocked out by him.

There are two options available for Bud Crawford to avoid fighting Boots in 2023, and that’s as follows:

1. Fight Errol Spence

2. Vacate the WBO belt

Given the lack of patience Crawford showed during his previous negotiations with Spence, it’s unlikely he’ll stay with the talks until a fight is produced with the popular pay-per-view star.

At this point, it’s unclear whether Spence and his management at PBC will even bother trying to set up another fight with Crawford.

They got to be concerned about what happened the last time they tried to negotiate with him because they can’t afford to waste their efforts trying to set up a clash against a fighter [Bud] that could bail out without warning and not even tell them about it.

Suppose Crawford chooses to repeat history and give up on the negotiations with Spence. In that case, he will have to defend his WBO belt against his new mandatory Boots Ennis, and that could be the end for the Nebraska native as a belt holder at 147.

With the WBA ordering their secondary 147-lb champion Eimantas Stanionis to defend against #1 ranked Vergil Ortiz Jr, that means #2 WBO Boots Ennis moves up to the #1 spot as the leading contender to Bud Crawford’s belt.

If Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) doesn’t get the undisputed fight against IBF, WBA & WBC champion Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) next year, he’s got to defend the WBO belt against Boots Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs).

It’s doubtful that Crawford will want to risk fighting the young 24-year-old Boots, especially at his advancing age. Crawford is 35 years old now, and that’s old for someone to be taking on a dangerous young lion like Boots Ennis.

As a PPV attraction, Spence has many more options available to him than Crawford. Understandably, if Spence chooses not to revisit negotiations with Crawford, it’s going to leave the WBO champion with the options of either fighting Boots Ennis or vacating the belt to avoid an unpleasant situation.