Terence Crawford didn’t hesitate when Andre Ward asked him to list, in order, the opponents Crawford wants to box before he retires.
“If I could fight all the fighters, you know, and then walk away, Pacquiao would be the number one,” Crawford replied during “Relentless: Terence Crawford,” which premiered on ESPN on Sunday night. “Spence, he’ll be right after that. Danny Garcia. Keith Thurman. And that’s it.”
Kell Brook, his opponent Saturday night, didn’t crack Crawford’s list. Crawford agreed to battle Brook because he couldn’t land any of the fights the 33-year-old Crawford wants.
Preliminary negotiations for a fight against Pacquiao didn’t result in a deal for them to fight somewhere in the Middle East late this year in part because fans wouldn’t have been able to attend the event. Crawford-Brook will take place primarily behind closed doors at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
ESPN will broadcast Crawford-Brook as the main event of a three-bout broadcast Saturday night (10 p.m. EST; 7 p.m. PST).
Premier Sports 1 will televise Crawford-Brook in the United Kingdom. That premium cable channel’s coverage of the event is scheduled to begin at 12:30 a.m. GMT.
If the heavily favored Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) beats Brook (37-2, 29 KOs), he hopes his 2021 consists of long-discussed showdowns with Pacquiao and Spence. The three-division champion from Omaha, Nebraska, has drawn criticism for not facing fellow elite welterweights during his 2½-year championship reign in the 147-pound weight class.
Crawford wants the aforementioned fights, but he informed Ward he is proud of what he has accomplished even if he doesn’t face Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), Spence (26-0, 21 KOs), Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) or Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC).
“I feel like I’m able to retire whenever I want, truthfully,” Crawford said. “I feel like I’ve done enough to be in the Hall of Fame right now, today. When I look at fighters that’s in the Hall of Fame, I say, ‘Man, I accomplished way more than them.’ So, I think in my head, ‘I know for a fact if I retire, I’m gonna be in the Hall of Fame.’ [Champion in] three different weight classes. Undisputed [in the junior welterweight division]. ‘Fighter of the Year.’ ESPY award-winner. Everything that I have accomplished in the sport of boxing. So, deep down in my heart, I know, you know, where I’m heading. I’m not ashamed if I walked away from the sport of boxing, because I’ll walk away with my head high.”
Spence, of DeSoto, Texas, and Philadelphia’s Garcia are scheduled to meet December 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. They’ll headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event that night.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.