By Chris Williams: Terence Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum is hopeful that he can make a fight between him and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in the first half of 2019 if possible. The chances of the networks agreeing to the Spence vs. Crawford fight are unlikely. Spence fights on Showtime/CBS and Crawford on ESPN.
Having the Spence-Crawford fight televised on both networks would split the audience to where both networks would wind up with fewer fans than if the fight were to take place on one network alone.
“I would hope it’s 2019, we’d like to do it next year. The first six months or any time of the year,” said Arum on Everlast’s TALKBOX podcast.“We just want to make the damn fights.”
Even if Arum is serious about wanting to make the Crawford-Spence fight, which I doubt that he is, it’s still too early to make the fight. Crawford lacks a fan base outside of his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska and a segment of the hardcore boxing fans that like watching switch-hitting counter punchers. Spence has only been a world champion for one year, and he hasn’t beaten any big names during his career other than Kell Brook, who is popular in the UK but nowhere else. Spence needs to still establish himself as a star in the welterweight division by being matched against Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Amir Khan and Danny Garcia. One or two of those fights are possible for Spence, but not all of them and clearly not soon. Spence’s best chance for big money fights is if he moves up to 154 and 160 and goes after the top fighters in those weight classes.
Spence has said recently that he would like to fight Saul Canelo Alvarez at middleweight. Golden Boy Promotions, the promoters for Canelo, seem to be interested in that fight. That might be an option for Canelo sooner or later depending on how good Spence looks. If Spence, 28, looks too good, he might scare Golden Boy off, since he has no qualms about fighting on the inside with the Mexican style. It would be a grueling fight for Canelo to fight Spence, because he’s not going to stand on the outside and backup when Canelo come forward like we saw from Gennady Golovkin in his fight against the Mexican star last Saturday.
It’s nice that Arum is talking about wanting to make the Crawford vs. Spence fight, but it’s unlikely to happen. Arum’s name dropping of Spence’s name might help bring more viewers to Crawford’s fights on ESPN. As long as Arum name drops Spence’s name, it help Crawford get a few more boxing fans without the fight ever taking place. We saw how Manny Pacquiao’s popularity was increased by Arum name dropping Floyd Mayweather’s name from 2009 to 2015. It was six years before the two fighters finally fought each other. In the years before they fought each other, a lot of boxing fans would get excited each time Arum would mention wanting to make the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight, but then nothing would happen. The fight was always seen as being just around the corner, and yet the fight still took six years. When it finally did take place in 2015, Mayweather and Pacquiao had lost a step and were no longer the super talents they had been in their primes six years earlier.
Crawford will be fighting next on the 13th of October against Jose Benavidez on ESPN in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s not a good fight, but then again it’s typical for Crawford, who tends to fight a lot of guys that aren’t well known in the U.S. In Crawford’s recent fights, he’s beaten Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, John Molina Jr., Felix Diaz and Viktor Postol. Crawford needs to fight bigger names like Spence, Danny Garcia, Thurman, Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Porter, but none of those fights are likely to happen soon.