Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Red Corner: Sadly, Crawford-Spence is in the hands of the promoters

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World Boxing Organization welterweight champion, and No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Terence Crawford added another impressive win to his resume on April 20 after his sixth-round TKO over Amir Khan.

Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) was declared the winner in the sixth stanza after he landed an accidental low blow on Khan, who was unable to continue. Ending aside, he spent most of the fight dismantling his opponent, beginning with a counter right and a left hook that sent Khan to the canvas, and may have finished the fight inside 12 rounds, even without the accidental low blow. The WBO titlist has finished his last six fights. 

With Khan's name the latest on Crawford’s fight record, the undefeated champion has one name on his mind for his next fight – International Boxing Federation champion Errol Spence Jr.

Crawford and Spence have expressed their desire to fight each other, even trading verbal jabs on special media. Of course, boxing fans want this fight as well, but it’s going to take some cooperation on both sides for this to happen, which won’t be easy.

As ESPN’s Dan Rafael pointed out in his April 22 column, Crawford’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, and Al Haymon, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) promoter and the man behind Spence, don’t get along and rarely do business with one another.

While Crawford celebrated in the ring, Arum gave a presidential-like speech, saying he would do everything in his power to make the fight happen – a declaration that I'm sure was easy for him since the cameras were on him.

But there is one evil force that stands in the way of Crawford-Spence, according to Arum said, and that is Haymon, who he assured will persuade Spence not to take the fight and face another contender.

Arum also blamed the boxing media for not calling out his managerial rival when it comes big fights not happening. Rest assured, If boxing writers had as much say as Arum thinks we do, Crawford-Spence would have already been signed. Heck, we wouldn’t have waited five years for Manny Pacquaio versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. to finally happen.

Crawford versus Spence would be an amazing fight for boxing fans, but booking it will be easier said than done. 

Crawford’s fights air on ESPN while Spence’s bouts air on either Showtime or Fox, the home for PBC’s events. This fight would involve two companies trying to co-promote a pay per view. It’s not an easy task for two different promoters to order coffee together, let alone try and book a pay per view with details ranging form who will get a larger percentage of pay per view buys.

That doesn’t mean two promoters working together can’t be done. In Rafael's column, PBC spokesman Tim Smith noted that Haymon has worked with different promoters to create bouts in recent years. Arum refuses to acknowledge and instead refers to Haymon as a “scamster.” Sadly, this is just a desperate ploy from Arum to get a reaction from Haymon while deflecting any responsibility he might have in this fight not happening. Yet, Arum's tactics won't make negotiations move faster.

I understand that boxing is a business and both Crawford and Spence deserve the chance to make a lot of money. However, if anything is going to hold up this bout from happening, it’s going to be the promoters. While I doubt Haymon is easy to negotiate with, I’m sure Arum is going to throw back most of the offers that come his way until the eleventh hour, which is sad.

Like Rafael, I'm betting that Crawford-Spence won't be made for some time, but it's a fight that needs to happen sooner than later. 

It took Mayweather-Pacquaio five years to finally happen and we know how much of a stink it left on boxing. 

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