By Keith Idec
OMAHA, Nebraska – Bob Arum doesn’t really rate Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman as legitimate threats to Terence Crawford’s perfect record.
Errol Spence Jr., however, is the welterweight Arum assumes would give Crawford his most difficult fight at 147 pounds. Arum reiterated after Crawford’s 12th-round stoppage of Jose Benavidez Jr. on Saturday night that he is willing to make a Crawford-Spence showdown next.
That’ll require a collaborative effort between Arum and Al Haymon, who advises Spence, to make a 147-pound title unification bout between boxers backed by different networks. That shouldn’t be all that hard, according to Arum, because ESPN (Crawford) and Showtime (Spence) could work together on what would be a pay-per-view event.
“All the other guys I discard,” Arum said following Crawford’s win at CHI Health Center. “They’re not in the same league [as Crawford]. Spence may be in the same league. I would love to make the Spence fight. You hear me now – I’m ready to make that fight next. I’m ready to make it on very fair terms, where no fighter or no network has an advantage, to do that fight. We’re prepared to sit down and get that fight done. But I can’t force the other people into doing it. You understand?”
Based on what Spence said last month in Brooklyn following Porter’s victory over Danny Garcia, it seems highly unlikely that the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion’s next fight would come against the 31-year-old Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs). Spence cited their network and promotional allegiances as obstacles and appears more interested in opposing Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs), the WBC welterweight champion, or Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), the inactive WBA 147-pound champ.
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, doesn’t have a fight scheduled. The powerful southpaw most recently knocked out Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (23-1, 14 KOs), his mandatory challenger, in the first round June 16 in Frisco, Texas.
Crawford wants to face Spence, too. The WBO champion realizes, though, that he can’t force Spence or anyone else to fight him.
“Al Haymon and Bob could sit down and talk to each other about it,” Crawford said. “That’s it. I want all them [welterweight champions]. I’ve been saying it. How bad do you want me to say something over and over and over. I said what I said and that’s it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.