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Terence Crawford not worried if Errol Spence fight never happens

Image: Terence Crawford not worried if Errol Spence fight never happens

By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford says he’s not worried about his legacy if a fight against Errol Spence Jr never happens. The 35-year-old Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) feels he’s done enough during his 14-year career to be content.

Terence was on the precipice of facing his first elite opponent in his career against Spence, but he suddenly pulled out and signed to fight David Avanesyan.

That move by Crawford sent alarm bells to the fans, who interpreted it as a case of him getting cold feet.

Crawford points out that he’s a former three-division world champion and undisputed champ, and he thinks he’s done more than enough to leave a solid legacy.

Fans would beg to differ, feeling that Crawford’s world titles and the majority of his victories have come against weak opposition. We just saw a fighter with a similar built-up fluff record get badly exposed in Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs) last weekend.

Like Crawford, Ramirez compiled a glittering undefeated record. Still, it was smoke & mirrors, though, as he never fought anyone good until he met up with Dmitry Bivol last weekend and was defeated.

Max Kellerman: “It was looking like you and Errol Spence were looking to make the biggest & the best matchup in boxing a reality, and then it all fell apart. What happened?” said Max to ESPN.

Terence Crawford: “Well, you know things were dragged out tremendously We tried our hardest to get that fight made. We got close to it, but we wanted a little transparency on writing off on the budget. When money comes in, we wanted an open book.”

Kellerman: “You agreed to fight Spence without a guaranteed purse just for money on the backend. Not the gross of the net of the profits on the fight.

“So you wanted oversight over the books. What are they spending on the promotion, etc., and you wanted access to it, and you wanted the ability to agree to what the expenses are.

“Al Haymon, Spence’s adviser, but the guy that seems to be running the show over there [at PBC] wasn’t going to have it. So eventually, you said, ‘We can’t go forward.’ Is that an accurate description of what happened?”

Crawford: “For sure. It was a whole bunch of, ‘Why do you need this? Why you need that? Can I ask you what’s the reason behind this and what’s the reason behind that?’

“It was basically an ongoing thing until I was, ‘Alright, cool. I’m going to go elsewhere,’ and that’s when we started hearing from them.”

Kellerman: “I and many others not only think that Crawford-Spence is not only one of the best matchups you can ever make, but is vital for the legacies for both of you guys. How do you feel about that?

“Do you believe the fight will ever happen, and if the Spence fight doesn’t happen, is that something you think damages your legacy in any way, or would there be anyone else at 147 pounds that would pique your interest in the same way?”

Crawford: “Well, I think it’s a great fight for both of our legacies and for boxing as a whole. But at the same time, I think a lot of people are reaching out when they say that it’s going to damage my legacy.

“I’m a three-weight world champion; I’m a former undisputed champion. I’ve accomplished a lot in boxing, so I don’t think it’s going to damage my legacy. It would just go down as one of the biggest fights that never happened.

“When you look back and Sugar Ray Leonard and Aaron Pryor, they never fought each other. Both of them are considered two of the greatest fighters that ever fought.”

Kellerman: “Terence, yes, that fight never happened, and it would have been a really interesting fight. But when the dust was settled, Sugar Ray was over here, and Tommy Hearns was over there, and they got it on. That happened.

“That’s why he’s Sugar Ray Leonard. It was a tough fight. He looked like he was going to lose. By the way, Errol Spence, a long, rangy southpaw with a high work rate, a good chin, plays defense when he wants to, good jab. How does Bud overcome that?

“Even when I think you should be favored in that fight and others, it has that same juice because the dust has settled. There’s Bud, and there’s Errol Spence. Do you mean to tell me right now that’s not important for you to get that man in the ring?”

Crawford: “No, by no means am I saying it’s not important to get that fight. Like I’ve been saying for years, that’s the fight that I want. That’s the fight that I’ve been trying to secure.

“That’s the fight that the fans want to see. At some point, I can only do so much. I’ve been doing all I can to try and get that fight, and I’m still the one to be blamed for that fight not happening.

“I’m going to continue to try and get that fight done and sealed so everybody can see who the best fighter in the world is. That’s all I can do.”

Kellerman: “From a fight fan’s point of view, when I think the best things I can see in this world, some of the most sublime stuff. The stuff that makes life worth living as a fight fan. I think of Bud Crawford and Errol Spence.

“I need to see that, and I do appreciate that you seem to be the one trying to make it happen. I have a question for you about one other fighter at welterweight, and he has not proven it yet.

“I used to ask you this when I was working for ESPN and covering your fights. I would talk to you when you were eyeballing the other guys out there. Game recognize game; real recognize real, who do you see. I was really saying that it was going to be Errol Spence.

“The other guy I see out there that’s really interesting is Boots Ennis. If you can’t get Errol Spence in the ring when you look at Boots, do you see something special there?”

Crawford: “Yeah, of course. He’s a very talented kid; he’s young, he’s strong, he’s big, he’s fast, and he switches. I’ve been watching him since he was in the amateurs, just like I’ve been watching Errol Spence.

“I see a lot of determination, skills, and dedication in the kid. He’s on his way up. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Kellerman: “Bud, you’re now in your mid-30s. You were at lightweight, light welterweight, and now you’re at welterweight. How much longer are you still going to be doing this?

“You still look to be at the height of your powers. How much longer are you going to be doing this?”

Crawford: “I don’t know. Right now, I’m still in love with the sport, and I’m still fairly young in my soul. I don’t drink; I don’t smoke, so my body isn’t going through any crazy wear & tear. I haven’t been in any wars that wore me down or anything.

“I always said that I wanted to retire at 33, and here I am at 35 and still moving along. Who knows?”

Kellerman: “One of the reasons I got to see you and Spence, it’s almost never happened in the history of boxing, two guys in or around their primes, in or around their best weight class, boxer-puncher, speed, power, skills, defense, switch up.

“You guys can do every single thing, and it looks like a 50-50 fight. Boxing fans are dying to see this. Tell me this is going to happen. Are you really going to let your career go by without making this fight happen?”

Crawford: “Why does everybody keep telling me that I got to make the fight happen? What do you want me to do? I guess I got to go over there and say, ‘Listen, I’ll fight for no guarantee, no backend, no nothing. Let’s just fight because this is what the fans want you to do.’

“I’m trying my hardest to make this fight happen. I just want everybody to know. I’m trying.”

Kellerman: “Bud doesn’t smoke, drink or do any of these things. What he does is beat the hell out of fighters for a living. This is you and Spence that I just need to see.

“I hope we can see this thing. I know it’s not going to happen in 2022. I hope before the end of 2023, and I appreciate your persistence in trying to make it happen.”

Crawford: “For sure. I think Spence wants it to. It’s just the politics behind boxing that’s holding it up. Crawford has been trying to get the fight made for years now.”

Kellerman: “Fighters don’t duck. Promoters, managers [duck].”

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