Leonard Ellerbe sounds off on the welterweight situation and Top Rank’s issue with Terence Crawford.
Mayweather Promotions’ Leonard Ellerbe, who has worked closely with Al Haymon for many years now, discussed the current situation at welterweight, and chiefly the spot that WBO titleholder Terence Crawford finds himself in with a lack of good opponents.
On Crawford vs Khan
“It’s a good fight. Great deal of respect for both fighters. Should be a good win for Crawford. I think he wins in convincing fashion.”
Bob Arum saying he’ll call Al Haymon to make Spence-Crawford
“(Laughing) He said what?! OK. I really don’t have a reaction. What does that mean? It’s, like — I don’t know. Errol has business to take care of right in front of him. I mean, do I have to name the guys that are right there in his house, in his stable that he can make a fight, he ain’t gotta call nobody and argue with them?
“We all know what the problem — I ain’t gonna call it a problem because it’s not a problem that I have, it’s not a problem that Al has. That’s their problem. They cannot deliver a big fight for Terence Crawford or Lomachenko. That’s what it is! Period and point blank.
“So all this masquerading around, talkin’ about ‘I’m gonna do this,’ that’s just Bob just doing Bob, and it’s OK. He’s a great promoter and he’s made a great living and built a great company by doing those type of things. But that shit is old. That’s prehistoric stuff. The yelling, screaming, ranting, raving, that shit don’t mean nothing in 2019. Nobody’s even listening other than the 10 or 12 people that’s right there in front of him.
“The fighters have a voice, they have the platform, and they’re very, very intelligent. You can’t even trick the public anymore with any of that nonsense. He knows that a Crawford-Spence fight is not getting ready to happen any time soon. Errol Spence has a plethora of options right in front of him, one-by-one-by-one.
“We’re gonna see how all this shit shakes out in the end. Danny (Garcia) feels as though he’s the best welterweight. He lost two close decisions, obviously, to Keith (Thurman) and Shawn (Porter). Shawn thinks he’s the best guy who’s out there. All this shit is getting ready to show up sooner than later.
“If Terence happens to be the last guy standing, I’m sure eventually that’s what it comes down to, those two guys will fight. But in the immediate future, what’s going on right now in 2019, Errol Spence has a number of options. He’s a boss. Each and every one of the welterweights, they think they’re the best. We’re soon gonna find out who is the best.
“Terence Crawford thinks he’s the best, but the difference is, Terence don’t have those options. And it’s unfortunate, I feel bad for the kid. He’s a nice guy, a great fighter, but it’s just unfortunate that he’s not gonna be in any of these big fights in the immediate future, because I know what the plans are for these guys in the immediate future, and Manny Pacquiao.
“These guys are gonna be fighting each other, and they’re all big fights. We’ve seen Keith on big platforms doing 5 million, 4.2 million, whether it be CBS or NBC. We’ve seen Errol Spence on FOX, I think it was FOX, he did 6 million. These are big platforms that the guys have options and the fights are right in front of them. They don’t have to argue with nobody about nothing. It’s one phone call. They’re talking to the same guy, and that’s Al.”
(Editor’s Note: These numbers are outrageously exaggerated. While PBC on NBC did once do a peak of 4.2 million viewers for a broadcast, that was for its premiere episode on the network in 2015. They’ve never reached that height again on any network.)
On whether we will see all these welterweight fights in 2019
“I wouldn’t say the end of the year, because it takes time to make fights, but this year you will see these guys mixing it up. You will see Errol in a big fight with one of these guys in his very next fight. You’ll see Manny Pacquiao in a fight with somebody, you’ll see Keith Thurman in a fight with somebody. If Danny wins, you’ll see him in a big fight. If Adrian (Granados) pulls off the upset, you’re gonna see him in the mix. Granados was talking to me a while ago about fighting Keith Thurman. You know?”
On PBC having the 147-pound division in a “stranglehold”
“I wouldn’t call it a stranglehold, I mean, it’s just business. … Nobody’s looking to (lock Terence Crawford out), he’s a tremendous fighter we all have a great deal of respect for. This is business. These are fights that we can make right away and ain’t gotta argue with nobody about nothing. And they all are big fights.”