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Commentary: The Road To Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford Goes This Way

Only a showdown between Crawford and Spence will prove who's the best welterweight.
25
Apr

Bob Arum and Al Haymon want the same thing, believe it or not. They are not both captains in the boxing industry for nothing. Haymon is brilliant. Arum is brilliant. Both are Harvard grads who know the best fight in boxing today, other than Deontay Wilder meeting Anthony Joshua, is a mega-clash between welterweight stars Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.

The one thing they don’t agree on is the timing.

Haymon would like to build the fight up. Arum wants the fight now.

The grand scheme is for Spence, the IBF welterweight titleholder, to fight WBC counterpart Shawn Porter in the fall, and the winner of that fight would take on the winner of the WBA titleholder Keith Thurman-Manny Pacquiao bout, which would take place this summer.

The winners of the respective fights would meet, unifying three of the four major titles, in spring of 2020, with a mega-fight unifying all of the belts against WBO ruler Crawford in the late-summer or fall of 2020 in an undisputed welterweight championship – much to the chagrin of Arum.

If things hold to chalk, which means the 29-year-old Spence (25-0, 21 knockouts) would most likely face Crawford in the fight everyone wants to see sometime in 2020.

The fight would go to the highest bidding platform, regardless of network affiliation.

Until then, how Crawford, 31, maintains his relevance would be an issue, as will the challenge Arum would face in finding competitive fights for him. Haymon has everyone who is someone at 147, not only with Spence, Porter, Thurman and Pacquiao under the Premier Boxing Champions flag, but also former two-division champ Danny Garcia, who would be a great option for Crawford in the interim.

It’s probably why Arum, the 87-year-old Hall of Fame promoter, went off the way he did after Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), made easy work out of the disinterested Amir Khan Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

According to Keith Idec of BoxingScene.com, Arum told a group of reporters Saturday night that Spence-Crawford won’t happen tomorrow or anytime soon because “… you can hear what he’s gonna say, ‘Spence, listen to me. Don’t listen to the white guys, because if you listen to the white guys they’re gonna steer you down the road. Listen to me, brother. We’re part of a brotherhood. And if I tell you not to fight Crawford, I’m telling you not to fight Crawford.’ That’s exactly what he will say,” said Arum, referring to Haymon.

Arum then went on to suggest the stumbling block to Spence-Crawford is caused by the boxing media.

According to Idec, Arum said, “He is a scamster and unless he’s called out, and unless you people get off your ass and call him out, it’s gonna continue,” referring to Haymon again.

“I really put a lot of the blame on the boxing writers,” Arum said to Idec and a group of reporters. “It is inexcusable not to make fights that people wanna see. It’s inexcusable. Now, I don’t believe that he thinks that Spence is gonna beat Crawford. Some people think that Spence is gonna beat Crawford, and Spence thinks that he can beat Crawford. I know that for a fact. But Al Haymon doesn’t believe that Spence will beat Crawford, and he won’t do the fight. And they’ll say, ‘Well, he did Mayweather and Pacquiao.’

“He did Mayweather and Pacquiao because [former CBS chairman and CEO] Les Moonves forced him to do that. Les Moonves said Showtime wouldn’t put on another one of his fights unless he agreed for Mayweather to fight Pacquiao. Now God, you guys have gotta realize when a scam is going on. A guy got $500 [million] from a mutual fund, pissed it all away. He’s a scamster.”

The reason why Spence-Crawford won’t happen anytime soon has nothing to do with boxing politics as it does good boxing business. Crawford and Spence don’t carry the crossover, household cache that Floyd Mayweather once did.

Arum should know that.

Yet, it seems, he doesn’t.

Arum, who it should be pointed out worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1960s and did a great many things for Civil Rights, despite what some may construe by his comments last weekend, would rather play the blame game.

“I don’t care what publications you write for, what website, who’s supporting it, Al Haymon won’t make fights,” Arum once again railed to reporters Saturday night. “Wilder won’t fight Joshua. Why? Because of Al Haymon. Spence won’t fight Crawford, not because of Spence, but because of Al Haymon. He’s running a scam and a company, and people have to realize that. He is ruining the sport of boxing.”

No, it might be more of a case that Haymon has designs in turning Spence, from DeSoto, Texas, into a crossover star. The talent is certainly there. Haymon envisions Spence to carry a Steph Curry-LeBron James-type appeal in boxing, which may require more seasoning—along with a nice gauntlet run of beating Porter and either Pacquiao or Thurman while driving towards a Crawford showdown.

Spence-Crawford is something everyone in boxing wants. Arum does, and so, too, does Haymon. The fans are certainly clamoring for it. But it has to be a fight, to borrow a phrase from Arum, “that needs to marinate.”

 

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