The kings of the welterweight division will have to wait some more if a fight they’ve long been wanting will finally happen.
On Thursday, hours after BoxingScene.com senior writer and columnist Keith Idec reported there was growing concern on Errol Spence Jr's side that Terence Crawford's team wasn’t committed to an undisputed championship fight for all of the belts at 147 pounds, Crawford announced that he was skipping on a slugfest with Spence and instead would face Armenian welterweight contender David Avanesyan on Dec. 10 in Omaha on a pay per view that would be distributed by BLK Prime for $39.95.
And just like that, the monthslong negotiations around the Spence-Crawford contest suddenly crumbled and came to a crash.
"I don't know who [Avanesyan] is," Spence told the Dallas Morning News on Thursday night soon after Crawford had told ESPN a fight with the Texan was no longer in the cards.
"I've done everything that I said I was going to do and I'll fight him next and we'll see who is holding the fight up. Everybody sees now who is holding the fight up. He had this [fight against Avanesyan] I guess in his back pocket."
The WBC, WBA, and IBF champion Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and WBO titlist Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) – a promotional free agent – have both been adamant in recent months that they were working on a deal to fight on a PBC PPV.
A deal could not get hammered out, however, and viable dates kept passing by.
"I'm excited about this opportunity," Crawford told ESPN. "I was really looking forward to the Errol Spence fight. I started communicating with [boxing manager] Al Haymon and PBC back in June. And unfortunately, they represent a fighter in Errol Spence who didn't want the fight as bad as I did.
"I agreed to all of their [B.S.] and they've been dragging their ass for months. Spence was nowhere to be found while I was trying to make the deal. I explained to Al Haymon and Errol that I was going to fight before the end of the year. ... David Avanesyan is a very tough task. He's knocked out his last six opponents and this guy is dangerous. Once I'm successful against Avanesyan, my plan is still the same: Whoop Errol Spence's ass."
The three-division champion and 35-year-old Crawford has not fought since November, a tenth-round stoppage win against Shawn Porter.
Spence has been on the sidelines since his tenth-round stoppage victory against Yordenis Ugas in April.
The 32-year-old Spence has fought as a welterweight ever since turning professional in 2012.
He reiterated again Thursday that he’s not long for the division.
"I got to talk to my manager but I already told them I'm at this weight too long. I might be moving up I don't know. I might be moving up,” said Spence.
Earlier in the day, after Spence retweeted Idec’s BoxingScene.com story, he wrote on Twitter: “[Crawford] been stalling for months I could’ve fought in November … Been fighting at this weight for over a decade this sh!t ain’t easy or fun.”
Just like Crawford carved his own path by taking on a surprise challenger, Spence can throw a wrench of his own into the picture by moving up to 154 pounds.
As the Crawford fallout was unfolding throughout the night, Spence liked two different tweets that suggested he should fight undefeated super welterweight upstart Sebastian Fundora instead.
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.