Terence Crawford wouldn’t wait any longer.
The unbeaten WBO welterweight champion contended Thursday night that the announcement of his fight with David Avanesyan shouldn’t have come as all that much of a surprise to Premier Boxing Champions founder Al Haymon or the rival Haymon advises, Errol Spence Jr. Crawford told ESPN.com that he informed them repeatedly that he would box before the end of 2022, whether it was versus Spence or another opponent.
When it became clear to Crawford that his long-discussed showdown with Spence wouldn’t materialize by the end of this calendar year, the three-division champion says he turned his attention toward a fight versus Avanesyan.
Crawford confirmed to ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger that he’ll make a voluntary defense of his WBO 147-pound crown against Avanesyan on December 10 at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Their 12-round title fight will headline a pay-per-view event that’ll be distributed by BLK Prime, a streaming service, for $39.95.
Crawford claimed he would’ve preferred to oppose Spence in what obviously would be a much more meaningful fight, the biggest in boxing outside of the heavyweight division. But the 35-year-old Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) has been guaranteed an eight-figure purse for facing Avanesyan, according to ESPN.com, and hopes to revisit the Spence showdown in 2023.
“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Crawford told ESPN.com. “I was really looking forward to the Errol Spence fight. I started communicating with Al Haymon and PBC back in June. And unfortunately, they represent a fighter in Errol Spence who didn’t want the fight as bad as I did.”
Crawford didn’t elaborate as to why he believes Spence wasn’t as committed as him to making their highly anticipated 147-pound title unification fight a reality. He feels he made enough concessions during their seemingly never-ending negotiations, though, to have come to an agreement before he felt he had no choice but to move in a different direction.
“I agreed to all of their bullsh!t and they’ve been dragging their ass for months,” Crawford said. “Spence was nowhere to be found while I was trying to make the deal. I explained to Al Haymon and Errol that I was going to fight before the end of the year. … David Avanesyan is a very tough task. He’s knocked out his last six opponents and this guy is dangerous. Once I’m successful against Avanesyan, my plan is still the same – whoop Errol Spence’s ass.”
Facing Avanesyan seven weeks from Saturday night will allow Crawford to end what will be more than a one-year layoff December 10. The former undisputed junior welterweight champion hasn’t boxed since he stopped Shawn Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs) in the 10th round of their fight last November 20 at Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
The 34-year-old Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs), a native Russian who resides in England, has won six straight fights, all by knockout or technical knockout, since Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas stopped him in the sixth round of their February 2018 bout in Reno, Nevada. Crawford knocked Kavaliauskas (23-2-1, 18 KOs) to the canvas three times and beat him by ninth-round TKO in December 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 32-year-old Spence (28-0, 22 KOs), a southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, is now expected to fight someone other than Crawford next as well. Haymon had hoped to match Spence against Crawford at some point in February at an undetermined Las Vegas venue.