Boxing

Spence-Crawford, Davis-Garcia Close; Says Showtime Exec

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The boxing world can be a very cynical place. The modern fight fans deal more with frustration and “settling” than big fights and Fight of the Year ring wars.

To blame for boxing’s penchant of letting down its most loyal fans is an awful business model, which has taken the sport away from the general public’s eye and put it behind paywalls and subscription services for several decades. In recent years, the pay walls and subscription demands have been even greater and more prevalent. The sport has been divvied up to such a degree that many of the top fighters are separated from one another, preventing some of the biggest battles from happening.

Occasionally, though, good things do manage to happen. Often, not after some significant and long-unfolding drama, but they can happen nonetheless.

Could this be the case when it comes to two of the sport’s biggest fights: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford and Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia?

Two recent tweets from online boxing editor for talkSPORT.com, Michael Benson, give fans hope that these two potential blockbusters could be just around the proverbial corner.

Quoting president of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza, the boxing journalist injected a bit of sunshine into the dreary lives of fight fans heading into what looks to be a bleak winter:

“Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza has insisted that he remains ‘very, very optimistic’ about Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford and said he is ‘very confident it’s gonna happen.’ [Town Bizznizz]”

“Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza has declared that he believes Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia is ‘very close’. He said they have ‘largely a deal in place’ with some details and the TV network situation still to be worked out. [Town Bizznizz]”

Now, although this news is very, very extra unofficial, if there’s one industry source who WOULD know of any behind the scenes rumblings it’s Espinoza, who not only has unlimited contacts throughout the sport, but who may have a stake in staging these fights.

Spence vs. Crawford is a welterweight unification bout that has been brewing and stewing for years already. Nebraska’s Crawford has been WBO welterweight champ since 2018, with five successful defenses under his belt. Texas native Spence, meanwhile, won the IBF title in 2017 and has managed to add the WBA and WBO titles over the last three years or so. The winner of this highly-anticipated 147 lb. clash would be the fully unified champ, something which the division hasn’t had at any point in the 4-belt era. The last fully unified champ at 147 was Zab Judah, during the sport’s 3-belt era, who held the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles from February, 2005 to January, 2006.

Davis vs. Garcia has risen from social media rumor to “maybe, possibly, it could happen” buzz in the traditional media. In recent weeks, however, both young fighters have hinted strongly that this fight might actually happen sooner rather than later. Born of disdain for one another’s skills and the attention they receive from fans and media, this lightweight (or junior welterweight) battle of 20-somethings will pit two of boxing’s best raw talents against one another. The 27-year-old Davis is already a 3-division world champ, while the 23-year-old Garcia, who boasts a tremendous social media following, is a top contender with definite world champ probability.

Realistically, if these two major fights happen, they might not hit a ring until early next year at the earliest. Unless they agree to terms and sign contracts almost immediately, squeezing either of these fights into the schedule this year would seem unlikely.

But will waiting several more months sour fans’ enthusiasm for these fights and, more importantly for organizers, fans’ willingness to purchase either cards on pay-per-view? We shall see.

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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: [email protected]