By Steve Kim
As part of their deal with ESPN, the founder of Top Rank, Bob Arum, has promised that his boxers will be kept more active. Or at least be fighting more than twice a year as most world-class boxers do nowadays.
Terence Crawford, who is one of the crown jewels of the Top Rank stable fought twice in 2017 (defeating Felix Diaz and Julius Indongo). So will Crawford - who recently vacated all his belts at 140 to move up to welterweight - fight at least three times in 2018?
"Terence is in a different category,"Arum explained recently to BoxingScene.com. "His next fight will be against the (Jeff) Horn-(Gary) Corcoran winner, the winner is obligated to fight Terence. So that probably would happen in March or April, maybe not till April. And then after that fight we're certainly going to get in another fight in the summer and one in the fall."
Horn, the reigning WBO welterweight belt-holder, faces Corcoran in a voluntary defense on December 13th in Brisbane, Australia. The World Boxing Association recently named Crawford as the mandatory challenger.
Arum continued,"But scheduling for (Crawford) is complicated because it's one thing to schedule for a champion and for somebody who's going to challenge for a championship. You don't have much control over that."
Looking much further ahead, are fights against blue-chip welterweights like (IBF champion) Errol Spence and (WBA/WBC champion) Keith Thurman feasible, given their association with the Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime?
"Sure, not even a question, if the money is right,'' stated Arum. "Now obviously if (Al) Haymon is planning a Thurman-Spence fight that's going to take precedence for him. But if there's a fighter who's not one of his better welterweights, who is not scheduled in a major fight, then I don't think there's any question that he would be available to fight us."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com