By Manouk Akopyan
Terence Crawford is arguably one of boxing’s best fighters, but for now, the southpaw sits on the sidelines waiting to see who he will square off next.
A fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Crawford is what fans — and both fighters — have been calling for to settle the score on who is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport.
It’s a matchup Crawford’s promoter Top Rank wants to make as well. But will it ever happen?
“I wish there was a start to negotiations,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef told BoxingScene.com. “We’ve been wanting to do that fight for a while. Let Spence do his fight in the fall. Then hopefully soon after the first of the year, we could get something done with a winner. If it’s, Spence great. If it's Shawn Porter, great. So we're open. We've always put ourselves out there saying that we're open to doing that fight. That's the type of fight that we think the fans want. The fighters want it, too. We’ve already said, ‘we’re ready to go.’”
Ever since he easily demolished Amir Khan in April, the WBO welterweight champion Crawford has been waiting for a game opponent.
Bob Arum is working on getting Crawford back into the ring this fall. For now, the exact foe remains unknown, as in-house options from the top 10 in the division are few and far between.
Arum has been vocal in recent months expressing serious intent to make a Spence-Crawford fight a reality, but Spence has a slew of options within PBC’s stacked 147-pound division that makes the superfight seem like a pipedream for the time being.
If Spence were to get by Porter, a who’s who of PBC welterweights like Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Yordenis Ugas, Sergey Lipinets and Jamal James await Spence, the IBF champion from Dallas.
Arum is no stranger to superfights. He maneuvered around yearslong negotiations and pulled off what seemed to be the unimaginable for the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao in 2015.
What’s puzzling is that before Pacquiao’s contract with Top Rank expired, Arum never matched Crawford with the all-time Filipono great.
Arum told FightHub TV in January that he killed a Pacquiao-Crawford fight because he feared Crawford would badly hurt Pacquiao.
“I know how it would end... not that I knew that it would end in serious disability for Manny — that I wouldn’t know — but as a fight it would only end one way,” Arum said. “Forget my emotions, I wouldn’t wanna see him take that kind of damage because it might affect his quality of his future life.”
Arum might have saved Pacquiao from Crawford’s crippling power, but now, the Filipino is waiting in the wings for perhaps the same fate from Spence while his idle fighter seeks a star dance partner.
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can reached on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org