WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford has been beating the drums for a main stage blockbuster welterweight showdown since before he was actually competing at welterweight. And now that he’s two years and three defenses into a world title reign, that drum-beating hasn’t stopped.
“I wanna fight all the big names at the end of the day and that’s what I’ve been calling for since I came into the welterweight division,” Crawford recently said in an interview with TalkSport.
“They can’t avoid me forever. But at the same time it’s a business, they wanna keep everything in-house and they have the right to do so. But at the end of the day, they’re gonna have to see Terence Crawford.”
The “they” Crawford is referring to is the collective group of top welterweights currently fighting under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner. Specifically, he’s talking about fellow elites Errol Spence, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia.
Crawford is clearly an elite-level welterweight and, perhaps, a generational talent. The problem is that his level of opposition thus far has not been “elite.” Blame that on him not being able to fight the big shots at 147. But blame it, also, on him re-signing an exclusive deal with Top Rank Promotions– a company NOT doing business with the PBC crew.
So, maybe Crawford only has himself to blame for not having access to the top welters.
In a perfect world, this would not be an issue. Competing companies would find a way to make the biggest, best bouts. However, the boxing business is not set up that way anymore. It’s currently in the powerbrokers’ best interest to stay “in-house” and feed the broadcast company that is paying for the rights to exclusive content.
And without this spirit of cooperation, Crawford finds himself on the outside, looking in. He has to resort to jabbing at the best from long distance and justifying his own body of work against theirs.
“In my own defense, I would say ‘Mean Machine’ [Egidijus Kavaliauskas] Jeff Horn and [Jose] Benavidez, they wasn’t no B-level fighters in my eyes,” Crawford told Brian Custer on the “The Last Stand” podcast. “You know, I feel like you can put any one of those fighters up against any of those top PBC fighters and they’ll give ‘em hell.”
Does Crawford deserve a shot at the big money fights with the PBC crew?
Well, “deserve” is a loaded word. He’s definitely talented enough to have a shot at proving himself to be the best. He’s also good enough to, most likely, become the best.
But should others rush to facilitate his competitive desires and hurdle business obstacles that he, essentially, put up for himself? Absolutely not.
How this Crawford vs. the world standoff plays out is anyone’s guess. Rumors have been flowing regarding Pacquiao possibly being eyed for a Crawford clash. Top Rank and PBC’s non-working relationship is reportedly thawing out. There has also been talk of Crawford possibly meeting Yordenis Ugas, a PBC welterweight just a half-step below their blockbuster elite.
We shall see. In the meantime, expect the same “nobody wants to fight me” laments from Crawford and his team.