Let’s get this on the record.

I think Terence Crawford is the best welterweight in the world. 

And, if it ever happens, I think he’ll handle Errol Spence to prove that very point.

But I’m tired of wondering about it. I’m tired of thinking about it.

I’m tired of rationalizing why either team might be avoiding the fight if they indeed have been.

If they’re ducking one another, great. If they’re not ducking one another, terrific.

Either way, I feel about it these days exactly the same way I felt about Mayweather-Pacquiao until a plan was finally hatched by which everyone would make their millions. 

Wake me when it’s signed.

Because there are plenty of perfectly worthwhile things to think about in the meantime.

By becoming the first man to stop Porter, the division’s most-established non-champ, Crawford added a bullet point to his resume that no other 147-pound fighter – Spence included – can boast. 

Lest anyone forget, in addition to pushing Spence to his competitive limit in 2019, Porter had officially beaten both Yordenis Ugas and Danny Garcia – the two fighters who round out the current top five.

Which means, based on accomplishment, Crawford is officially the man until proven otherwise.

And even if the Spence fight never gets made, that status brings with it great opportunity.

A unification with Ugas is attractive competitively, if not promotionally, given the Cuban’s defeat of Manny Pacquiao a few months ago and his downing of a then-teenage Crawford as an amateur.

And there’s always the specter of Keith Thurman, though “One Time” has been more mirage than oasis since his own thrilling win over Porter at the Barclays Center five summers ago.

Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr. have thrown their verbal hats into the ring, too, though each could use another truly significant name on their resumes before a title-level callout truly resonates.

To me, though, the most intriguing non-Spence options require a look at the ladder.

A rung above Crawford at 154 pounds resides Jermell Charlo, a three-belt champ who’s stopped five of seven title-fight foes since capturing his first belt against John Jackson five years ago.

Charlo and Crawford have repeatedly jawed back and forth via social media – the modern form of an actual face-to-face confrontation – and a jump to junior middle to face a skilled 5-foot-11 rival would surely provide Crawford a more daunting challenge than anything currently residing at 147.

Still, if a Charlo-Crawford domestic grudge match doesn’t nudge your needle, perhaps a champ-champ duel with some international flavor might give it a push.

Like Crawford, Josh Taylor is an unbeaten champion who achieved undisputed status by unifying his division’s four significant belts with three victories over 24 months. He became the second 140-pounder to capture all the worthwhile jewelry, matching the feat Crawford performed from 2015 to 2017.

And Taylor has also mentioned Crawford’s name, though he struck a far more reverential tone.

“I think he's a great fighter,” he said after beating Jose Ramirez in May. “But I just think two undisputed champions going at it at 147 would be awesome, would be amazing.”

Bob Arum, now Crawford’s promoter-in-limbo after the fighter’s apparent decision to handle his own career-related business, had suggested a showdown with Taylor could draw big numbers in 2022.

And even if “Bud” does test promotional free agency, it’s hard to imagine a bigger spectacle elsewhere.

“We hope, early next year we will be able to do a fight that will blow the lid off of everything in the UK,” Arum told Sky Sports. “That would be Taylor challenging Crawford for the welterweight title. It would be primetime in the UK. We'd love to do it there in the spring with 60,000 people in Scotland.”

Edinburgh in the spring. Omaha in the summer. Las Vegas in the fall.

When you’re as good as Crawford is, the itineraries create themselves.

And he’s good enough to make every trip unforgettable.

“Crawford is skilled, versatile, punches hard and his mean streak is a massive X-factor,” said ex-HBO blow-by-blow man Jim Lampley, who called several of Crawford’s fights on the network. 

“Can hurt opponents with either hand and from either stance and that makes it difficult to put him on the defensive. Most of his fights have ultimately devolved to target practice. (He) is intimidating. He has an unsettling edge and it is a big part of his game. His confidence is borderline obscene.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

This week’s title-fight schedule:  


Vacant IBO cruiserweight title – Bolton, United Kingdom

Bilal Laggoune (No. 23 IBO/No. 31 IWBR) vs. Jack Massey (No. 41 IBO/No. 72 IWBR)

Laggoune (25-2-2, 14 KO): First title fight; Lost only previous fight in the United Kingdom (MD 12, 2020)

Massey (18-1, 9 KO): First title fight; Lost only career fight beyond eight rounds (UD 12, 2019)

Fitzbitz says: The Belgian contender is ranked higher and has more of a resume, such as it is. But Massey’s the hometown guy and seems to have more upside. Good enough. Massey in 7 (85/15)


IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight titles – New York, New York

Teofimo Lopez (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. George Kambosos Jr. (No. 1 IBF/No. 10 IWBR)

Lopez (16-0, 12 KO): Second IBF title defense; Six KOs in six fights at MSG (13 total rounds)

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KO): First title fight; Fourth fight in the United States (3-0, 1 KO)

Fitzbitz says: Kambosos is a legitimate contender and seems eager to be in this position, but if Lopez is everything he claims to be then the challenger is in deep here. Let’s say he is. Lopez in 8 (90/10)

Vacant IBF junior lightweight title – New York, New York

Azinga Fuzile (No. 2 IBF/Unranked IWBR) vs. Kenichi Ogawa (No. 3 IBF/Unranked IWBR)

Fuzile (15-1, 9 KO): First title fight; Second fight outside South Africa (1-0, 1 KO)

Ogawa (25-1-1, 18 KO): Second title fight (0-0, 1 NC); Lost IBF title (2017) after failing drug test 

Fitzbitz says: There are a lot of reasons to like Fuzile. He’s younger and he’s on a nice roll. But Ogawa was good enough to beat a long-term champ and should be here, too. Ogawa by decision (75/25)

WBC/WBO super bantamweight/junior featherweight titles – Las Vegas, Nevada

Brandon Figueroa (WBC champ/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Stephen Fulton (WBO champ/No. 8 IWBR)

Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KO): First WBC title defense; Held WBA title at 122 pounds (2020-21, one defense)

Fulton (19-0, 8 KO): First WBO title defense; Held IBO title at 122 pounds (2019, zero defenses)

Fitzbitz says: This is a tasty unification for the hardcore set. Figueroa beat a legit commodity in Luis Nery. Fulton doesn’t have a signature win, but he’s got skills. I’ll go with them. Fulton by decision (75/25)

Last week's picks: 4-0 (WIN: Akhmadaliev, Andrade, Dalakian, Crawford)

2021 picks record: 43-14 (75.4 percent)  

Overall picks record: 1,199-389 (75.5 percent)  

NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.  

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.