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Stephen Espinoza likes Boots Ennis for Crawford’s next fight

Image: Stephen Espinoza likes Boots Ennis for Crawford's next fight

By Jim Calfa: Stephen Espinoza says a fight between IBF welterweight mandatory Boots Ennis and undisputed champion Terence Crawford is the biggest match that can be made at 147.

Jaron Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs) might be the best option for Crawford if he wants to fight again this year. It’s either he takes the fight, or he sits and waits until 2024 to potentially face Errol Spence Jr., Tim Tszyu, or Jermell Charlo.

If Crawford feels Ennis is too beneath him in terms of popularity, he’ll miss out on a payday and an opportunity to increase his star power. It would be better for Crawford to take the fight with Boots rather than to sit and wait on Spence or Charlo.

Espinoza, who works for Showtime, thinks the rematch between Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) and Spence Jr won’t happen until 2024.

Crawford wants a fight with Jermell Charlo, but he’s tied up with undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on September 30th, and there’s no telling how that one will go.

Crawford vs. Spence rematch possible for 2024

“When someone takes a tough fight like that, you want to make sure you’re not rushing them back. Maybe early next year. It’s either late next year or early next year if it happens,” said Stephen Espinoza to Hardcore Boxing News on the Crawford vs. Spence rematch.

Spence will likely rest from his punishing fight with Crawford and then return to the ring for a confidence booster in early 2024. It’s important that Spence figure out the best weight class for him because it might not be 154.

If Spence is better off at 160 or 168, he needs to find that out in camp and pick an opponent from that division rather than attempting to fight at 154 and coming into the contest half dead from weight loss.

“I don’t know where Crawford is in his career, whether he wants one more fight, two more fights,” said Espinoza. “He’s been pretty clear that the thing that excites him the most is a possible Jermell Charlo fight down the line,” said Espinoza about Crawford. “We’ll wait and see what happens with Canelo [vs. Charlo] and see how that plays out.”

Crawford will likely stick around long enough to fight Spence again, Jermell, and Tszyu. He’ll obviously make an offer to Canelo Alvarez to fight him at a catchweight, which will be dismissed immediately by the Mexican star.

Has Crawford’s win gone to his head?

One big win over Spence isn’t enough for Crawford to call the shots against Canelo or Gervonta Davis. Some boxing fans think Crawford’s victory over Spence has taken his ego into another galaxy, giving him delusions of grandeur and making him think he can dictate terms with stars like Canelo.

Like many fighters that taste big money for the first time, they only want similar paydays, so they sit & wait, looking only for a massive payday and inactive for lengthy periods. Andy Ruiz & Gennadiy Golovkin are two notable examples of fighters that sat & waited for massive fights to fall into their laps and stopped fighting often.

Their popularity declines, they miss out on numerous paydays, and they never get the massive fight they were waiting for. Crawford sounds like he’s going to be one of those fighters. He’ll reject quality fights that would increase his popularity, like Boots Ennis, and he’ll sit & wait, doing nothing.

“Some of this can be dictated by the market. If Crawford thinks he can get a bigger pay-per-view fight against Charlo, he’ll probably go that way,” said Espinoza. “Part of it is his judgment of what will sell the most on pay-per-view. That’s really going to determine the biggest payday,” said Espinoza.

Crawford-Boots = Best fight at 147

“At the same time, he [Crawford] is the undisputed champion, and there are mandatories,” Espinoza said. “The IBF has a mandatory coming up [Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis]. There are others that have mandatory’s coming up.

“The WBA, whether Stanionis is in line, and the IBF, Boots is in line. That’s what mandatories are there for. To make sure guys like Boots get their shot. I think that’s one tool Boots can look toward in forcing a mandatory. If not, get him a title shot against somebody else.

I love the Boots fight. I  think it’s the best fight that can be made in the welterweight division. That’s a toss-up. You put Thurman, Boots & Crawford in the mix. Any two of those three fights is a top-tier fight.

“I haven’t spoken to Crawford about it or his team. Look at what he’s been saying publicly.  It’s been pretty clear. His preference probably is Charlo. If that can’t happen, then a big fight at 147,” said Espinoza.

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