Arum says he’ll try to make Crawford-Spence deal

1094476340.jpg.0 - Arum says he’ll try to make Crawford-Spence deal

Is the welterweight superfight in the works?

The welterweight division is loaded with talent, but there’s one big problem: almost all of the top names are under Al Haymon’s PBC banner, fighting on FOX and Showtime, while there’s also Terence Crawford, the WBO titleholder promoted by Top Rank, fighting on ESPN.

PBC has various big matchups to make, and at last rumor, the working idea is for them to next match IBF titleholder Errol Spence Jr with WBC titleholder Shawn Porter, and WBA “super world” titleholder Keith Thurman with WBA “world” titleholder Manny Pacquiao.

But the fight everyone really wants to see, and see now, is a matchup between Spence (25-0, 21 KO) and Crawford (34-0, 25 KO). It seems near impossible, as it would have to be a pay-per-view fight — well, it wouldn’t have to be, but if Spence-Mikey Garcia and Crawford-Amir Khan are, then yes it would — and getting all the various angles of that figured out isn’t easy.

OR IS IT?!?!?!?!

Top Rank’s Bob Arum does think it’s easy, or at least that’s the line he’s selling to the media right now. As Crawford prepares for his largely buzz-bereft pay-per-view defense against Khan (33-4, 20 KO) on April 20, Arum says that if Crawford wins as basically everyone anticipates he will, then he’ll call Al Haymon the following Monday and attempt to make the fight.

What makes Arum say it’s easy? He believes they can use the blueprint from the Mayweather-Pacquiao event in 2015, when Showtime and HBO worked together for the pay-per-view. That had happened once before, too, for the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight in 2002. Both were massive pay-per-view hits, setting all-time PPV buy records at the time; Lewis-Tyson sold 1.95 million pay-per-views in the States, which has since been surpassed several times, none bigger than the 4.6 million sold by Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Getting FOX or Showtime and ESPN to work together could be a whole other deal, though, plus before any of that, you actually have to convince PBC to do it if you’re Arum. Arum has little-to-no leverage here, it would seem — it’s his fighter, Crawford, that desperately needs a major fight. If Crawford beats Khan, who is a Matchroom fighter that Top Rank overpaid to get something even remotely appealing for this date, then in-house, they’re left with the following possible options, at least as of this moment:

  • Egidijus Kavaliauskas, who just went to a draw with Ray Robinson and wouldn’t be taken seriously as a Crawford challenger
  • Luis Collazo, a still-solid veteran, but about to turn 38 and hasn’t been a serious contender in several years
  • Chris van Heerden, a South African vet who was thrashed by Spence in 2015 and also isn’t a serious contender
  • Alexander Besputin, a 27-year-old Russian and a good fighter on the rise, but has no name value
  • Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, a 25-year-old from Uzbekistan, also has no name value, and is sitting on an IBF mandatory to face Spence (in theory)

On the other hand, Spence has the Porter fight potentially next if he stays within the PBC family, and that’s a good fight. After that, he could have the Thurman-Pacquiao winner or Danny Garcia, also good fights.

Even most of the division’s second-tier names are aligned with PBC: Yordenis Ugas, Omar Figueroa Jr, Sergey Lipinets, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Devon Alexander, Jamal James, Josesito Lopez, etc. — all PBC guys.

Is Arum sincere about making Crawford-Spence? You can never really judge that just by what is said out loud while media are around to take notes. Boxing promoters say all kinds of things.

But even if he is, it doesn’t mean PBC would be in any rush to share money with him. They’re simply in a much better spot with Spence than Top Rank is with Crawford.

Here’s hoping it happens, because it’s the absolute best possible fight in the division and maybe the sport period, I just wouldn’t count the chickens just because Arum is indicating a willingness to deal. But I’m rooting for him on this one.

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