After recent wins by top welterweights Terence “Bud” Crawford and Errol Spence Jr, who beat Kell Brook and Danny Garcia, respectively, the call for a Crawford-Spence or Spence-Crawford fight has grown louder.
Neither of the fighters, though, seem all that interested in demanding that it happen next. In fact, in a backstage interview during the ESPN+ broadcast of tonight’s Stevenson-Clary prelims in Las Vegas, Crawford (37-0, 28 KO) stated flatly that it’s not what he wants next.
“He got the job done, he got the victory, and that’s all that matters,” Crawford said when asked about Spence’s win over Garcia on Dec. 5.
When asked if he wants Spence next, Crawford told Bernardo Osuna, “If I can have my way, I’ll have the Pacquiao fight next, and then the Spence fight.”
A fight with Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO) isn’t bad, mind you; Manny’s the No. 3 welterweight in the world still, even as he closes in on his 42nd birthday this coming Thursday. But he is a part-time fighter and will have sat out all of 2020. The demand from the public is Spence, not Pacquiao, and that goes for Spence’s side, too — the demand is for Crawford, not Pacquiao.
As for Pacquiao-Crawford, that could certainly happen. Bob Arum has said he was close to a deal to do it this year, but the money fell apart with the COVID pandemic. Pacquiao hasn’t fought in association with Top Rank since he controversially lost to Jeff Horn in Australia back in 2017 after spending years with the company, but there’s apparently no bad blood there, and Pacquiao isn’t with anyone else, either.
We’ve said this before, but this is a special situation where it’s probably time to stop blaming promoters and broadcast affiliations and political lines. Crawford and Spence simply are not forcing this fight, which they could. I know people are generally much more comfortable blaming Old Man Arum and Shadowy Al Haymon for these things, but this couldn’t be much clearer right now.
We may also be seeing a sweepstakes for the services of a 42-year-old fighter. It’s good to be Manny Pacquiao, at least. (I’d say “until the bell rings,” but Manny’s still Manny on some level and has made a career out of defying expectations.)