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Errol Spence Has Terence Crawford Right Where He Wants Him

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  • Errol Spence Has Terence Crawford Right Where He Wants Him

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    By Kelsey McCarson

    Like it or not, Errol Spence has Terence Crawford right where he wants him. Certainly that would be a much harder thing to do inside a boxing ring should the two men ever actually agree to fight each other. But as it stands now, Spence is clearly the A-side in regards to any potential negotiations for one of boxing’s most anticipated fights.

    It might not have been so clear before their last outings. After all, the fruit of Crawford’s impressive, pre-welterweight labors included lineal championships in two different weight classes and frequent inclusion among the top two or three fighters in the world on various pound-for-pound lists.

    Perhaps of equal importance, Crawford has been promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. all this time. Didn’t that use to mean something? Arum, after all, was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a promoter way back in 1999, almost a full decade before Crawford had even competed in his first professional prizefight. The 87-year-old promoter was at least partial architect to some of the most storied prizefighting careers in the history of the sport, and there’s no denying what the Top Rank media machine was capable of producing for fighters with even half the talent Crawford possesses.

    But somewhere along the line, despite everything already mentioned, Spence seems to have overtaken Crawford, if not on pound-for-pound lists quite yet then at least in the race to become the loudest, deepest voice at the negotiating table.

    That’s what the available data suggests anyway, because Crawford has fought twice on pay-per-view, and neither event went as planned. In July 2016, Crawford defeated Viktor Postol by unanimous decision on HBO PPV. In terms of craft and history, it was a dominating performance that netted Crawford the lineal junior welterweight championship of the world according to most historians. But in terms of PPV buys, it was a dismal failure. The bout reportedly only sold 55,000 units in the United States. Arum later reported having lost at least $100,000 on the event.

    Crawford had a chance to redeem himself against Amir Khan last month. Even as huge a favorite as Crawford was heading into that fight, there was some thought beforehand that his popularity had grown enough over the course of the three years since that Postol debacle that the 31-year-old might now be ready to become boxing’s next big thing. Heck, even Arum touted Crawford as the sure-fire successor to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

    But the PPV sales for Crawford-Khan were apparently so bad that nobody involved with the promotion even bothered releasing them. According to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, the best it might have done is 150,000 buys, a number no one would brag about in terms of box office power. By comparison, Canelo Alvarez’s bout against Khan in 2016 did close to 600,000 buys.

    Does Top Rank’s relationship with supposed worldwide leader ESPN have any value at all? Heck, HBO, with one foot out the door, mustered 1.1 million buys for their last big PPV hurrah, the Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin rematch.

    If the reported Crawford-Khan numbers are correct, there went Crawford and Arum’s bargaining power when it comes to negotiating with Spence and powerful boxing promoter Al Haymon for the proposed superfight.

    Spence recently defeated Mikey Garcia by unanimous decision on the first ever PBC on Fox PPV event. The 29-year-old Dallas-based welterweight, in his first PPV appearance, amassed well over Crawford’s combined efforts in just one show. Sure, some of it could be attributed to his opponent. Garcia was undefeated, ranked among the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and at least seemed capable of being somewhat competitive in the fight.

    But it’s not like Garcia was some huge PPV star heading into the fight. Spence-Garcia wasn’t billed Garcia-Spence for a reason. This was Spence’s show. Besides, are we also to assume the 4.8 million people who tuned in to watch Spence fight on NBC in 2016 did so because of Leonard Bundu?

    More importantly, Spence has an easier path to making profitable, star-marking fights. While it’s been frustrating to watch the PBC cards over the last few years without seeing Spence against the very best welterweights on their roster, it might be considered a genius move in retrospect.

    Because now in 2019, Spence has a hugely successful PPV appearance under his belt, a top-five rating on pound-for-pound lists and the golden road ahead of him which includes potential matchups against other top welterweight stars.

    According to Fox Sports Boxing Insider Mike Coppinger, Spence is honing in on unification bout against IBF titleholder Shawn Porter. Other potential bouts on the horizon (with or without Crawford) include former champion Danny Garcia and the winner of the July 20 match between WBA titleholder Keith Thurman and secondary titleholder Manny Pacquiao.

    All this while Crawford languishes in relative obscurity with nothing to look forward to except rumored potential fights against the likes of Kell Brook and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

    So like I said, however great Crawford might be, however impressive his historical credentials and however many grand things Arum continues to say about him through the press, Errol Spence Jr has Terence Crawford right where he wants him.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    I was gonna make the fight, but then I got high. 🎶

    I was gonna promote Gamboa-JuanMa, but then I got high. 🎶