By Mike Smith: Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum is going to need to settle in for a long, long wait before PBC management are ready to match superstar in the making Errol Spence Jr. with Terence Crawford for a mega-fight. The fight is not going to happen yet, according to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. He says there’s too many other important fights that need to be made between Premier Boxing Champions welterweights Shawn Porter, Spence, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Manny Pacquiao before he sits down to make the Spence-Crawford fight.
Ellerbe states that while some boxing fans believe that Spence and Crawford are the two best fighters in the 147 lb division, he says there’s no way of knowing that. That’s all guesswork at this point. Until Spence works his way though the top guys, and Crawford beats whoever, you can’t that those two are the best. For example, Crawford’s best career wins of his career have come against these beatable fighters: Amir Khan, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Raymundo Beltran, Thomas Dulorme, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo and Hank Lundy. Those are all fighters that Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Manny Pacquiao would all beat.
Crawford has just beaten guys that six or seven other welterweights would all beat in the division. That’s the unfortunate thing. Crawford is being hyped as if he’s beaten elite level guys when in fact, he’s been beating B-level and C-level fighters his entire career. He’s never a true elite guy, so it’s premature for Spence to be fighting him right now. Both fighters still need to prove themselves. Spence has beaten only one A-level guy and was Kell Brook, who clearly wasn’t at his best given that he was coming off of an eye injury against Gennady Golovkin.
I think he’s the best pound for pound fighter out there, but I just don’t think he’s the best welterweight,” Ellerbe said to Fighthype about Terence Crawford.
You can’t rate Crawford as pound-for-pound yet for him beating the guys that he’s been matched against. Thurman would trounce everyone that Crawford has faced during his career, and likely have a better record. The same with Spence. Instead of Spence or Thurman having a 35-0, 26 KO record like Crawford, they would likely both have a perfect 35-0 with 35 KO record if they fought the same guys. Those fighters are better knockout punchers than Crawford, who is more of a single shot, hunt and peck type of fighter.
“No, that fight not happening right now,” Ellerbe said to Helen Yee Sports. “The fans are anointing those two as the best two out there . They’ve got to go out there and prove that. How do they’ve got to prove that? They’ve got to fight the fights. They’re both great fighters, but so is Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and so is Manny Pacquiao. I’d like to see Errol Spence fight who he wants to fight in his very next fight, and it’s going to be a massive fight. It’s not going to be Terence Crawford, I guarantee you that. Both guys got to continue to win. I understand the business side of it. The boxing fans don’t understand that side of it. I think it’s disrespectful to all the guys I just mentioned; Keith Thurman is a tremendous fighter. He’s beaten two of the guys I just mentioned. He beat Danny, and he beat Shawn in a tremendous fight. Keith Thurman thinks he’s the best welterweight out there. Shawn Porter thinks the same thing. He’s looking to fight in big fights, and prove he’s the best, and Danny feels the same way. Those guys I can say are excellent match-ups and excellent fights. But more importantly, the one thing those guys have in common is they want to fight in a unification fight, and these unification fights can happen immediately. It can definitely be put to rest [Spence vs. Crawford]. It’s a great fight on paper. It’s a terrific match-up. Both guys are exceptional fighters. If they fight, I would pick Errol Spence to win the fight. But Errol Spence is getting ready to fight in a big fight really soon. All these guys are going to be fighting very soon. We’re going to see these match-ups in 2019. I have no control over what Bob does with Terence. I have no control over that. If Terence is what we think he is, he’ll fight somebody; one of these guys. He’ll win, and it’ll be sorted out and he’ll fight. When these fights become big enough, these last two will be standing. Whoever, they are, we don’t know. It will play itself out,” Ellerbe said.
Ellerbe is right about Spence and Crawford needing to still win fights to prove that they’re better than the other guys in the welterweight division before they face each other. Right now if the Spence vs. Crawford fight were to be made, the boxing public wouldn’t appreciate it as much because the two fighters haven’t faced enough big name opposition yet to show the fans that they’re the true best in the division. The Spence-Crawford fight wouldn’t be as big if it happened now rather than late if/when the two of them clear out the other top welterweights in the division. If Spence and Crawford are as good as people think they are, then they’ll defeat all the top dogs and end up being the last guys standing at the end. At that point the fight can be made, and it’ll make a ton of money.
Crawford’s promote Bob Arum is obviously upset that Al Haymon isn’t making the Crawford-Spence fight now. You can understand why Arum would be upset. A win for Crawford right now over Spence would make him an instant money maker, and he could bring in good dough for Top Rank for the next four or five years before he ages out in his mid-30s and starts taking losses. There’s not a lot of time left for the 31-year-old Crawford, who with his speed more than his power. Those type of guys are generally over-the-hill as soon as they lose their hand speed and reflexes. Fighters that thrive on their power like Spence tend to have longer careers. If Crawford has to wait two or three years to get the Spence fight, then he’ll only a short period of time to enjoy the success from a win over him, if he can beat him. Crawford would be finished as a year or two after the Spence fight, and that would be it.
“Al Haymon won’t make fights. [Deontay] Wilder won’t fight [Anthony] Joshua. Why? Because of Al Haymon,” Arum said to ESPN.com. “Spence won’t fight Crawford, not because of Spence but because of Al Haymon. … He is a scamster, and unless he’s called out, and unless you people [the boxing writers] get off your ass and call him out, it’s gonna continue. I really put a lot of the blame on the boxing writers. It is inexcusable not to make fights that people wanna see.”
Arum is clearly not handling it well with him not getting his way with Haymon choosing to wait before he makes the Spence vs. Crawford fight. That fight will get made. Arum might need to wait two to five years before it happens.