Bill Tibbs on the fight that all the boxing world wants
What a fight. What a night. We hope…
The two best welterweights in boxing have kept up their part of the equation. Both boxers are sitting with unblemished records, and performances, that have ignited discussion as to whom is the best fighter (at 147-pounds) among boxing fans. The networks want to get the contracts signed and it now seems that we just need to get the promoters together to seal the deal.
However, the competing promoter roadblock scenario, as old as boxing itself, can be problematic on Hatfield vs. the McCoys’s-esque levels.
Terence “Bud” Crawford (35-0, 26 KO’s) is certainly one of the best welterweights in the world and he might very well be the very best fighter in all of boxing (along with lightweight star Vasiliy Lomachenko). Errol Spence, (25-0, 21 KO’s), is undefeated and many are calling him the best welterweight in the game. So, P4P lists aside, fight fans are clamouring for a matchup between these two undefeated, 147-pound stars.
The major hurdle is that Texas’ Spence is represented by Premiere Boxing Champions (PBC), and its boss Al Haymon, while Omaha’s one-man franchise, Terence Crawford, is handled by Las Vegas-based Top Rank Promotions and its legendary founder Bob Arum.
One would think that when there is a fight that boxing fans are clamouring for, the networks would be thrilled to present, and the predictions for pay-per-view numbers seem very strong, then that event would be a slam dunk.
But folks, this is boxing. Well, let’s be fair, it is the business of boxing. And, history has shown that when the boardroom and the boxing ring cross paths things often get complicated.
Arum recently tried to make his case that the only one holding up Crawford-Spence was Haymon. He zeroed in on Haymon naming him as the only thing stone-walling the matchup. Arum recently refereed to Haymon as “scamster” who is only looking to match his welterweight star in-house.
"He’s gonna say, ’Spence, listen to me. Don’t listen to the white guys (like Arum), because if you listen to the white guys, they’re gonna steer you down the road,’" Arum told the writers. "’Listen to me, brother. We’re part of a brotherhood. And if I tell you not to fight Crawford, I’m telling you not to fight Crawford.’ That’s exactly what he will say, “said an agitated and frustrated Arum.
While many people would accuse Arum of the same tactic (always trying to match his champions with contenders also under contract to Top Rank), the reality is that Top Rank is doing shows with many other promoters on a regular basis and has for a long time. Was there a time that Arum always kept it in-house? Perhaps, but that is just smart business if you can do it. But, Arum knows that to make the best fights, and ultimately grow the sport and the Top Rank brand in today’s competitive market, he needs to be willing to match his fighters with the best fights out there and be willing to work with a variety of other promoters to do it. Top Rank is doing this on a regular basis and it would be a shame if PBC didn’t get on board to make the only fight at 147-pounds that people are really clamouring for. No disrespect to any other contenders and champions out there but any fight at welterweight that isn’t Crawford vs. Spence is a consolation prize at best for fight fans.
In a recent interview, Mayweather Promotions’ Leonard Ellerbe, said that, in reference to a Crawford-Spence fight in the near future, things don’t look good.
“That’s fight is not happening right now” he said. “The fans are anointing those two as the best out there but they have to go out there and prove that”. When pressed to answer who he would like to see Spence in the ring with next, Ellerbe said, “I would like Errol Spence to fight whomever he wants to fight in his next fight and it’s going to be a massive fight”, he continued.
“Errol has business right in front of him, they can make a call right now, and the fight is done. Do I have to name the guys? The problem they have (Top Rank) is that they can’t deliver a big fight for Terence Crawford or (Vasiliy) Lomachenko. That’s what it is, period and point blank. So all this masquerading around with Bob saying ‘I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that’, that’s just Bob doing Bob. And its OK, he’s a great promoter who has made a great living and made a great company by doing those kinds of things. But that sh** is old, it’s prehistoric stuff, it means nothing in 2019. Nobody is even listening, except the 12 people talking to him at that time. The fighters have a voice, they have a platform and they are very intelligent” he said.
“Spence has a plethora of options right in front of him and we are going to see how it plays out. Each one of the welterweights think they are the best, we soon gonna find out who is the best”, he said. ”
Boxing’s ever changing windows open and close quickly. When there is an opportunity to make a fight that fighters and fans all want, and the fighters are at, or near, their best, it is shame to let it sit until a time when the fight just plain and simply doesn’t mean the same. You have to strike while the iron is hot and the Crawford-Spence iron is red hot right now.
Yes, with Haymon having Pacquiao, Thurman and Garcia, among others, under contract he indeed does have numerous big fight options for Spence. But, until he is willing to sit down with Arum and make the Crawford fight, something both fighters have indicated they want, Haymon can make big fights, just not the big fight.