LOS ANGELES — Errol Spence Jr. rarely passes up on the opportunity to take a jab toward Terence Crawford.
When Spence announced his Aug. 21, FOX Sports PPV fight at the T-Mobile Arena against Manny Pacquiao on social media, he did so by taking a shot at Crawford promoter and Top Rank boss Bob Arum, writing: “Done deal! See y’all in Vegas for the biggest fight of the year.” The caption was also accompanied with #blameBOB.
Arum was adamant on getting Crawford a career-defining fight against former stablemate Pacquiao in the Middle East but ultimately couldn’t secure the sizable site fee desired to stage a fight. The opening allowed Spence to swoop in to land the deal instead of his welterweight rival.
When Spence was asked in an interview if he got extra satisfaction in winning the Pacquiao sweepstakes instead of Crawford, the 31-year-old Texan took the higher road.
“No, I wish the best for Terence Crawford. I don’t hate on another athlete -- especially a Black athlete. I feel like there’s enough people hating on us. I’ve got nothing but respect for Terence Crawford,” said Spence.
The WBC and IBF welterweight titlist Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) and 147-pound WBO champion Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) have long been intertwined together with the public calling for a super fight.
After years of back and forth banter, Spence hit Crawford with somewhat of a dagger demanding the more favorable end of the pot.
"I'm the big dog in the welterweight division," Spence said in December following his unanimous decision win over Danny Garcia. "He gotta take a backseat and take that 60-40 [split] or 70-30, whatever we give him."
Crawford responded on social media to Spence's comments shortly afterward.
"And they said it was me," Crawford tweeted in addition to a shrugging emoji. "I rest my case now, on to the next. That chapter is now close[d]."
When Spence was asked if he’d reconsidered his stance on a more even purse split in a potential fight with Crawford, he preferred to keep his focus on Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) instead.
“It’s something we’re not even thinking about right now,” said Spence. “The goal is Manny Pacquiao, and the goal has been Manny Pacquiao for a couple of months now. It’s something that we’re 100% focused on. We’re not looking into the future. If you look into the future, you get distracted. So right now, it’s Manny Pacquiao.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com