Crawford’s Issue: Will the WBO Title Be Worth It Without Tszyu?

By Nationvegas - 03/30/2024 - Comments

Terence Crawford could be stuck with the option of fighting for the vacant WBO junior middleweight titles next against Josh Kelly if the winner of tonight’s fight between champion Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora will vacate the WBO belt to face Errol Spence Jr. next in a lucrative fight on Prime Video PPV.

Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe revealed this week that the former unified welterweight champion Spence (28-1, 22 KOs) would be the next opponent for the winner of tonight’s fight between Tszyu and Fundora for these reasons:

1. Spence’s ties to PBC
2. Financial incentives: Errol is a bigger money fight

What this means for the 36-year-old Crawford is that he would need to decide whether it’s worth it for him to still go ahead with his plans on using his WBO mandatory position given to him by the World Boxing Organization as the ‘Super Champ’ to force a title shot at 154 for their belt or give up on the idea.

Crawford vs. Kelly: A Low-Interest, Low-Payday Prospect

With the WBO belt vacated, Crawford battling Kelly (15-1-1, 8 KOs) for the strap won’t draw flies, and he will not get the massive payday that he would if he were fighting the popular Tszyu and could wet his beak on some of the Australian PPV money from that country, where Tim is a massive star.

Terence won’t get a taste of the Aussie green if the WBO belt is vacated by Tszyu, and he’s stuck fighting Kelly for the worthless strap.

Crawford vs. Kelly won’t sell in the U.S., and there aren’t enough Brits that would be willing to pay to see that fight on PPV for Terence to get the money he’s hoping. If the WBO 154-lb belt is vacated, it’ll be intriguing to see what Crawrford’s next move is.

Paths for Crawford:

  • Fight for vacant WBO 154-lb title: Does Terence go after the belt in a low-money fight against Kelly, banking on Tszyu returning to reclaim it after his fight against Spence if he’s victorious in that clash.
  • Test the waters at 160 or 168: Crawford could move up in weight to position himself to get the lucrative retirement money against Canelo at 168 or 160. He must be forewarned that if he does move up to 168, he will need to fight a high-caliber fighter to get the Canelo clash. Fighting an easy mark like the badly flawed Edgar Berlanga won’t be enough.