Boxing

If Mayweather Signs Crawford, We’ll Never See Spence-Crawford

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Floyd Mayweather’s recent talk about signing WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford should send chills up and down the spines of fight fans eager to see a welterweight title unification clash between Crawford and three-belt champ Errol Spence Jr. Because, if Mayweather gets his mitts on any part of the Spence-Crawford competitive rivalry, it’s almost a sure thing it’ll never happen.

Based on what we’ve seen from Mayweather, the promoter, what we’d end up getting is a lot of pointless soft-touch fights for Crawford and a refusal to even address the Spence fight because “Crawford won’t need Spence to be the biggest star in boxing” (or some such nonsense) or “we’ll fight Spence when the time is ‘right.’”

This assessment is based on the nonsense promoting of Mayweather Promotions in general and, specifically, their work with Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who is bursting at the seams with talent and has developed a huge grass roots level of support, yet has been steered around the biggest, best, and most legacy-defining fights possible for him– precisely the kind of fights he needs to become a next-level star.

Floyd Mayweather seems to think that he’s got the formula for turning a great fighter into a superstar. But, nope, he doesn’t.

The five-division world champ and future first ballot Hall of Famer knows what worked for him, what made him the biggest money-drawing fighter of all-time. The Mayweather “strategy,” as it applied to himself, involved taking an elite-level, once-in-a-generation talent with a certain degree of charisma and have him brought up by an established promoter like Bob Arum, then branching out as an independent contractor. Along the way, helping augment his popularity and bankability, there were several marketable opponents who provided boosts to his brand. Names such as Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, and Oscar De La Hoya all served as stepping stones in building Mayweather’s star power. And to send things into the absolute stratosphere, there were six years of Manny Pacquiao fight rumors helping fortify his crossover star power. All of this helped make him the superstar that he became.

But, based on his history as a promoter, Mayweather doesn’t have the slightest idea of how to make that formula work for anyone else. And, for the most part, that’s because his own rise to next-level stardom was, in great part, due to a series of coincidences and lucky breaks, stars aligning at the perfect time to his benefit. It seems that the mega-talented fighter actually believes that the secret of his success came in intentionally keeping himself from fights the fans wanted to see for as long as possible, fostering animosity, and then banking on the hate. On the surface, maybe it worked for him…but, realistically, it’s only going to work for him, because of who he was and when he fought.

Mayweather would’ve been a successful, elite-level fighter in any era, but it took a series of big-names, who were mostly post-prime and over-matched to bring him to superstardom. Gatti, Judah, De La Hoya, along with Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, and a young Saul “Canelo” Alvarez paved the way for greater and greater drawing power until the extreme payout against Pacquiao.

Terence Crawford may have the talent to get to Mayweather-level, but he doesn’t have the charisma or disposition and he certainly doesn’t have the piggyback ride-ready opposition available to him that Mayweather had. At 34, Crawford also doesn’t have the time to build his brand, like a 28-year-old Mayweather did.

So, what can Mayweather, the promoter, bring to Terence Crawford?

A couple of empty paydays and then nothing. All while Mayweather smugly sits back, convinced of his genius, believing that intentionally antagonizing fans and keeping his fighters from the fights everyone wants to see is the key to boxing success.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com