Former two-division world champ and current ESPN analyst Timothy Bradley has been generating plenty of headlines lately for eye-grabbing statements made about elite-level main stage active boxers.
His recent take on three-belt welterweight champ Errol Spence and the Spence-Terence Crawford unification holdup was another one of those "wow, what did he say" instances.
"Man, Errol Spence is running from [Terence] Crawford," Bradley told Fight Hub TV. "He running like a son of a gun. He"s getting the hell out of Dodge way. That’s the only fight that you said you wanted, that’s the fight that you said you were gonna deliver to the fans after you won the three titles. It’s been a long time. You straight up lied. Straight up lied. And now you"re gonna get called out for it, not just by me, but by the fans as well"
Bradley would then respond to a question regarding the rumored upcoming Spence bout with former welterweight titlist Keith Thurman, slated to take place at 154 lbs. rather than 147, where the bout had been ordered by the WBC.
"How the hell you gonna go up to 54 and then come back down to 147 pounds to face Crawford? Isn"t one of your brothers that"s in camp with you at 54 as well? You just going up there for what? Because Thurman can’t make the weight or is it you that can"t make the weight? I don"t know what it is. Maybe it’s both of y"all can"t make the weight."
"But The fight we want to see, that we"ve been waiting on is Crawford and Spence."
“All along people been saying it"s Top Rank"s fault. “Oh, you signed with the wrong promoter, signed with the wrong promoter, giving hell to Crawford."
The former champ would go further, though, essentially laying the blame for the failed welterweight unification bout at the feet of Spence’s advisor and Premier Boxing Champions head Al Haymon.
"Crawford said…in an interview he did on IG or one of these social media platforms, saying ‘Bro, I had the money for it. I had the money secured," Bradley blasted. "And obviously, Al Haymon is in total control of Errol Spence. Crawford is his own boss, but he had the money to pay…Twenty racks, twenty million…and he [Spence] didn"t take it because he can"t move unless Al Haymon says [snaps his fingers] ‘Hey boy…nuh-uh, we ain"t doin" that.""
Showtime Sports head Stephen Espinoza, who was actually a part of the Spence-Crawford negotiations, has a different take on why things fell of the rails and then fell apart.
"I don’t want to point fingers, but if you ask this side, I think a lot of the dragging on was due to Terence’s own asks and the timetable he was responding," the Showtime exec also told Fight Hub TV. "It seemed like a lot of time would go by after each offer, and there was a stubbornness that dug in after certain points that we thought shouldn’t have been insurmountable.
Whatever the case, though, talks DID fail and both parties have moved on. WBO welterweight titlist Crawford would beat David Avanesyan in a one-sided contest for a huge payday of, reportedly, $10 million on high-end boxing upstart service BLK Prime. And, now, Spence appears to be close to facing Thurman in a bout one division heavier than his current weight class. The divide between the two sides and the clear evidence of drifting further apart does not bode well for the chances of putting aside differences to revisit the making of this important title clash.
If Spence does, indeed, move up in weight, he’ll have a direct line to a shot against 4-belt unified junior middleweight champ Jermell Charlo. Crawford’s best options, meanwhile, would involve fending off the challenges of young, hungry rising welterweight contenders Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr.