By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Errol Spence Jr. thought Bob Arum and Terence Crawford were desperate when they made a Crawford-Amir Khan fight.
The unbeaten IBF welterweight champion feels the same way about a possible Crawford-Kell Brook bout. Arum and Brian McIntyre, Crawford’s manager and trainer, expressed interest in Crawford boxing Brook once Crawford stopped Khan in the sixth round of their April 20 fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.
England’s Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) also indicated he wants to face Crawford (36-0, 25 KOs) in his next fight, not Khan, his longtime rival. Like the 32-year-old Khan, Spence considers Brook, also 32, well past his prime and thus an easy mark for Crawford.
“I feel like Kell Brook is not the same fighter as before,” Spence told BoxingScene.com. “Golovkin broke one eye socket, I broke the other eye socket. He’s not the same fighter. Crawford would fight a shell of Kell Brook. In his last fight, [Brook] didn’t look good at all. I feel like, at 147, [Crawford] will get a broken Kell Brook that I already finished. But they can do the fight. If it happens in the United States, I feel like it still won’t do good on pay-per-view.”
Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) knocked out Brook in the 11th round of their IBF welterweight title fight nearly two years ago in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. Brook suffered a fractured orbital bone around his left eye in that May 2017 loss to Spence.
That marked the second straight fight in which Brook sustained that damaging injury. Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin broke Brook’s right eye socket in a middleweight match Golovkin won by fifth-round technical knockout in September 2016 at O2 Arena in London.
Brook’s physical setbacks notwithstanding, the former champion is one of the two primary candidates to face Crawford next because a Spence-Crawford fight isn’t likely to be seriously discussed until sometime in 2020. Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs), the WBO’s No. 1 contender for Crawford’s 147-pound championship, also could challenge Crawford next.
“They’re desperate,” Spence said. “I mean, even making the Amir Khan fight, I feel like they’re desperate. They don’t have any opponents. They’re flipping rocks over, trying to find somebody. It is what it is.”
Spence expects to pursue a Crawford fight, one of the biggest in boxing, only after facing WBC champion Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) and the winner between WBA champ Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) and Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs). The DeSoto, Texas, native told BoxingScene.com that he’ll oppose Porter next, perhaps as soon as August.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.