NEW YORK – With Errol Spence Jr. unavailable, Bob Arum has turned his attention toward another PBC welterweight as a potential opponent for Terence Crawford.
Arum informed BoxingScene.com that if the heavily favored Crawford defeats Egidjius Kavaliauskas on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, he would like to match Crawford against Shawn Porter in Crawford’s following fight. Crawford’s promoter previously criticized Porter for his fighting style, but the 88-year-old Arum was impressed with Porter’s performance in an action-packed, close loss to Spence on September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Arum and Crawford had hoped to finally secure a showdown with Spence in 2020, but the unbeaten IBF/WBC 147-pound champion is recovering from injuries suffered during a car accident October 10 in Dallas.
“I’d like Crawford to fight one of the PBC guys who’s sitting around doing nothing,” Arum told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Wednesday at The Garden. “A couple guys would be interesting to us. One would be Shawn Porter and maybe a lot less, but he’d still be interesting, is Danny Garcia. Porter’s not gonna get Manny Pacquiao, so who’s he gonna fight? And I thought [Crawford and Porter] wouldn’t fight each other because they’re very good friends, but both guys now say they’d fight each other. So hopefully, we can make that match next.”
Pacquiao’s next opponent hasn’t been solidified, but Arum doesn’t think the Filipino legend would fight Porter due to the rugged Porter’s physical style. Porter has already fought many of the other top welterweights affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions – most notably Spence, Garcia, Keith Thurman and Yordenis Ugas.
Las Vegas’ Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs) has expressed interest in rematches with Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) and Spence (26-0, 21 KOs). Thurman is not expected to oppose Porter next and there’s not a known timetable for Spence’s return.
“I don’t say this cold-blooded, but I’d understand if Al had a use for [Porter] in his programming,” Arum said. “Then [Crawford-Porter] might not be possible, if he hadn’t fought these guys. But having fought these guys, it’s a natural progression for Porter [to fight Crawford], and hopefully we can make that match.”
Arum and Haymon will have various discussions over the next couple months during the promotion of the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight championship rematch, which is scheduled for February 22. That, according to Arum, should lead to constructive conversations regarding matching their fighters in bouts that make business sense.
If Crawford succeeds Saturday night in making a mandatory defense of his WBO welterweight title versus Kavaliauskas, there aren’t any current welterweights promoted by Arum’s Top Rank Inc. that he could match with Crawford to attract interest comparable to what Crawford-Porter would generate.
“Spence-Porter was a very close fight,” Arum said of a battle Spence won by split decision. “It could’ve gone either way. And Spence you can’t talk about, because right now he’s on hiatus. But Porter’s an exciting fighter, makes exciting fights. And, after all, that’s my big job, to present exciting events to the public.”
The 32-year-old Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is consistently listed as at least a 16-1 favorite to beat Lithuania’s Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) in their 12-round, 147-pound championship match. ESPN will air it as the main event of a three-bout broadcast set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.