Saturday night, after the split decision draw between junior middleweight titlists Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño, WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford hopped on his seldom-used Twitter account to launch a burn Charlo’s way.
"I been gone for a min but @TwinCharlo last night is the reason you not on the P4P list sir," Crawford write. "Gotta do better."
The comment is a payback to a remark Charlo made to ESPN about Crawford being placed too high on the network’s pound-for-pound list. However, this opportunistic barb also opened the door to Crawford receiving some flak. Notably, flak concerning his inactivity and overall lack of appropriately high-end opposition since moving up to the welterweight division.
Things have soured considerably for Omaha, Nebraska native "Bud" Crawford. Where he was once lauded by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, that support and regard has gradually been pulled back as his level of opposition has remained firmly second tier.
At 147, the former 4-belt unified junior welterweight champ and lightweight titlist has yet to face an elite-level opponent since capturing the belt against weakest-of-all-titlists Jeff Horn in 2018 and it doesn’t look like he’s going to do so in 2021, either. Rumored October opponent Jose Zepeda, a decent 140 lb. contender moving up in weight, will join Horn, Jose Benavidez Jr, Amir Khan, Egidijus "Mean Machine" Kavaliauskas, and Kell Brook on Crawford’s welterweight resume. It’s a resume very unbefitting a fighter of his skill and ability.
Those familiar with the story, however, know that boxing business plays a big role in the lack of quality, big-name challenges to Crawford’s mastery. The 33-year-old’s contract with Top Rank Promotions and ESPN have placed him firmly on the wrong side of the welterweight fence, separated from the biggest and best of the division, who happen to do their business with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and Fox/Showtime. Because of this obstacle, Crawford has been left out in the cold when it comes to quality legacy-making opposition such as Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Keith Thurman.
Of course, Crawford is no innocent party, entirely caught up in a business dynamic out of his control. He opted to sign an extension with Top Rank in the fall of 2018, fully knowing that doing so would probably continue to see him cut off from the biggest and toughest challenges out there. If he had opted for free agency, he’d already be hip-deep in career-defining wars and big ticket paydays.
Crawford’s contract is up at the end of October and, reportedly, he may be looking to break free from his Top Rank entanglements. Last year, a separation seemed guaranteed after Top Rank bossman, Bob Arum, blasted Crawford publicly and famously said he was "no longer in the business of losing money on Terence Crawford" after the fighter’s growing dissatisfaction with his lack of big ticket fights started to be made public.
Now, Arum is dangling a potential spring 2022 clash with welterweight-bound unified junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor to possibly entice Crawford into staying with Top Rank. But, from hearing recent comments made by members of Team Crawford, "Bud" may be set to finally jump over the virtual fence and grab at some of the PBC welters.
“If y"all know your history, you know that the best fighters in the world were with Top Rank at some point in time…But the business wasn"t right, and they left and got their s*** right" said Red Spikes, Crawford"s longtime coach and friend, on the “Bernie the Boxer" YouTube show. “That"s what"s going to happen after Bud"s contract expires in October.
“So all y"all laughing and joking, talking about resumes and all this s***, but we"re going to get the last laugh. It"s coming to fruition right now!"
“Y"all tell Spence to stay at 147 for another fight, and we"ll fight him next when we"re a free agent. We"ll go knock on [head of PBC] Al Haymon"s door and be like, ‘hey, we"re not with Bob Arum no more, so what"s the excuse now? What y"all want to do now?'"
In the meantime, "Bud" remains where he’s at, with no room to cast stones at a fighter in Charlo, who HAS been facing the very best in his division. The immaculately-skilled Crawford, in this particular beef, left himself wide open for a huge counter.