By Keith Idec
Brian McIntyre didn’t mince words Thursday.
Terence Crawford’s manager/trainer applied pressure on Crawford’s promoter, Top Rank Inc., to do whatever’s necessary to make the fights Crawford wants most. McIntyre admitted during a conference call that the only opponents that’ll interest Crawford after he defeats Jose Benavidez Jr. on October 13 are fights against fellow welterweight champions.
McIntyre named IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. as the most attractive future foe for Crawford. Shawn Porter (WBC) and Keith Thurman (WBA) are the other two 147-pound champions Crawford wants to fight.
“We want after the champions, man,” McIntyre said. “There is no reason to be fighting a No. 6 dude or a No. 7 dude. Terence wants the best fighters out there at 147, so I’m glad [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] is on this call, because we’ll put the heat on him. He’s the one who makes the fights happen. He could go to ESPN and make those fights happen. Terence wants the fights to happen. Let’s go. The only fights out there is the other champions.”
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) said last month that a much-discussed showdown with Crawford won’t happen anytime soon because they have competing promotional and network affiliations. Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank and fights on ESPN, whereas Spence is advised by Al Haymon and fights on Showtime.
“Right now, the biggest name at the welterweight division for Terence is Errol Spence,” McIntyre said. “So what we’ll do is, and I’m glad Todd on this call, is just put the pressure on him. ESPN is the leader in sports. They want to be the leader in boxing, they’re gonna go out and make those fights happen. So that’s what Terence wants. They want Terence to be the No. 1 fighter in the world, so they must do their job, we do our job, Todd do his job and then the whole job is going to be done.”
When a reporter pressed McIntyre on which welterweight champion Crawford realistically could fight next, assuming he beats Benavidez, duBoef interjected.
“I think we’re asking everybody to look into a crystal ball, right?,” duBoef said. “And project out what everybody else’s needs are and what somebody else wants to do. We’ve established what we wanna do, all right? We’re not gonna come up to a press conference and, I mean, this call is about Terence Crawford. I’m not gonna divert, like they did. They were giving us all the attention [September 8 at Barclays Center]. We’re gonna go after all those guys. We’re not allowing anything, no politics, no nothing, to get in the way. They wanna do it, we wanna do it, let’s just get it done. We’ll figure out a solution.”
Crawford-Spence likely would have to be a joint pay-per-view venture between ESPN and Showtime. DuBoef declined to discuss those details, yet emphasized that Top Rank is more than willing to work with Haymon to make Crawford-Spence a reality.
“I’m not gonna make a judgment today, on a phone call, without having a conversation with everybody involved, including them on the one side, and us,” duBoef said. “We are open to anything to make those big fights happen for Terence and Bo-Mac, right? That’s what we’re open to. We are not gonna be siloed into a formulaic way of doing things. We are open to everything.”
The 31-year-old Crawford will make the first defense of his WBO welterweight title versus Phoenix’s Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs) a week from Saturday night. ESPN will televise their scheduled 12-rounder from CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford’s hometown.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.