By Keith Idec
With Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. scheduled to box a week apart next month, their much-anticipated welterweight showdown surely will receive more attention than ever.
Whatever you read or hear, don’t expect Crawford-Spence to happen any time soon. Spence said as much during a media day Tuesday at R&R Boxing Club in Dallas, where the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion is preparing for his mandatory defense against Carlos Ocampo on June 16 in Frisco, Texas.
When asked why some people perceive that he doesn’t mention facing Crawford when he is interviewed, Spence explained his stance on one of the most intriguing boxing matches that can be made. The strong southpaw told a small group of reporters, including one from BoxingScene.com, that he wants to beat the top welterweights who also are affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions before pursuing a 147-pound championship unification fight against Crawford.
That’s assuming, of course, Spence overcomes Ocampo and Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) defeats Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) on June 9 to take the WBO welterweight title from the Australian champion.
“Well, basically, let me clean up my side of the street,” Spence said. “Basically, I’m saying my side of the street, you know, Al Haymon and Showtime. Let me clean up my side of the street and I’ll come over there and take up that side of the block, too. That’s what I’m doing.
“I mean, we’ve got a lot of fighters signed with Al Haymon. We’ve got Danny Garcia, we’ve got Shawn Porter, we’ve got all these – you know, we had Lamont Peterson, we had Keith Thurman, but he’s doing whatever he’s doing right now. So let me clean up my block. Then I’ll come over there and take over their block later on.”
Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. Haymon and Arum have worked together on previous events, but the allegiances of Spence and Crawford will make putting their fight together more difficult.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Las Vegas’ Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) will fight for the WBC welterweight title Thurman gave up last month either August 25 or on an undetermined date in September. The often-injured Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs), of Clearwater, Florida, is expected to fight at some point this summer for the first time since defeating Garcia by split decision in their welterweight title unification fight nearly 15 months ago.
If the 28-year-old Spence continues winning, “cleaning up” his “side of the street” could take him well into 2019. The DeSoto, Texas, native made it clear, however, that he wants to fight Crawford at what he feels is the appropriate time.
“Terence Crawford, well, he don’t have a belt yet,” Spence said. “But if he does get the belt from Jeff Horn, you know, I’m coming to take that belt, too, because I wanna be undisputed welterweight champion of the world.”
The 30-year-old Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, will challenge Horn a week from Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (ESPN+). A week later, Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) will meet Mexico’s Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) in the main event of a Showtime telecast from Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.