By Gilbert Manzano
Terence Crawford and his promoter Bob Arum made the first move by calling out Errol Spence Jr. inside the Madison Square Garden ring last week after Crawford stopped Amir Khan in six rounds.
Arum took it a step further by telling Yahoo! Sports he’s willing to do a 50-50 financial split with Spence and his handlers.
"I'm all in," Arum told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports. "We'll do 50-50 and split the TV with both ESPN and Fox, or whoever they want to use. Do it like we did for Floyd and Manny. It's easy.”
Easier said than done, and this superfight is far from being done, as Leonard Ellerbe recently pointed out to BoxingScene.com.
Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, knows from first-hand experience that there was nothing easy about the 2015 megabout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, a bout that took six years to make.
At the time, Pacquiao was with Arum’s Top Rank and Mayweather with Al Haymon, who advises Spence and the rest of the Premier Boxing Champions fighters.
Now, Pacquiao is with Haymon along with welterweight stars Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, all potential opponents for Spence, while Crawford is hurting for quality opponents at Top Rank.
With Spence having a handful of options at PBC, Ellerbe doesn’t see Haymon rushing to the negotiation table to go back-and-forth with Arum.
“You ain’t gotta pick up the phone and call nobody,” Ellerbe said. “You don’t have to argue with nobody, you got nothing to discuss with nobody, and they can make it on their own, and they are all great fights.”
By making the first move, Arum and Crawford are showing the boxing public they’re serious about doing this welterweight showdown that’s drawing comparisons to Sugar Ray Leonard against Thomas Hearns.
But Arum is a savvy promoter, one who has been in this business for more than 50 years. He likely knows this fight isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but at least he can say they tried.
As for the Spence side, they might receive some backlash for not negotiating with Top Rank, but who’s going to complain when Spence is fighting Porter, or Thurman, or Garcia, or Pacquiao? Like Ellerbe said, all great fights.
If Crawford can’t land Spence, then his next best option is luring a different PBC welterweight, like a Garcia, who recently said he’s open to the idea if the money is right. But if Haymon shuts the door on all PBC options, then that means Crawford’s next bout could be against Alexander Besputin or Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
“Bob Arum would love to make those fights tomorrow, but Bob don’t control PBC or Al Haymon,” Ellerbe said. “Bob was talking about Besputin, he can make Besputin and Crawford.”
Crawford versus Besputin doesn’t exactly move the needle. Only time will tell if the boxing world gets Spence versus Crawford, or is it Crawford versus Spence? There’s no A-side. That’s how close that bout would be.
You know, if it ever happens.