Terence Crawford’s options seems slim!
A question on the minds of many boxing fans is who should WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford fight next?
There’s been talk that Egidisjuis Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17KO) could be next, however, there hasn’t been much buzz about him as of late.
This is probably due to his ESPN debut where he only managed a majority draw against Ray Robinson (ironically the last man to defeat the champion). It’d be safe to assume that Top Rank would like to put their WBO champion in a meaningful fight for his 2019 debut.
Crawford hasn’t fought since October of last year, and is definitely losing momentum. With the promotional landscape not in his or Top Rank’s favor, its going to take some creative matchmaking and a big purse to manufacture a major event.
The most viable option for Crawford would be Yordanis Ugas. While most most pundits would be skeptical of such a match-up, due to the PBC/Top Rank rivalry, it makes a lot of sense for both parties.
For Ugas, this fight would give him the title shot that he covets. Plus, with stablemates Errol Spence and Manny Pacquiao looking at unification, or possible money fights, he doesn’t really fit into PBC’s short-term plans.
The best he could hope for are fights with Danny Garcia or Sergey Lipinets. Those match-ups are highly unlikely, because Garcia is on the short list for Pacquiao.
As for Lipinets, he could find himself in play for Garcia if a major player doesn’t fight him. Therefore, it’d be unlikely he would commit to fighting someone as difficult as Ugas for short money.
Because of it being a cross-promoted deal, Arum may also have to get creative and offer a sweetener of some kind. Something that would be mutually beneficial might be offering Oscar Valdez vs Gary Russell.
Both fighters are looking to move to super featherweight, and both have enough name recognition to make a successful fight. With Top Rank and the PBC struggling to find in-house bouts for both fighters, it would be a logical trade.
There’s also a great back story to Crawford vs Ugas, as the latter won a bout between the two in the amateurs. Hell in this case, you could even throw the aforementioned Robinson in the fray as he also defeated Crawford in the amateurs.
The next possible option for Terence Crawford would be Jessie Vargas. The upside to this fight is that Vargas has name recognition, he always comes to fight, and is rated #2 by the WBO.
He has been in some credible fights with Pacquiao, Tim Bradley, Adrian Broner and Sadam Ali. This would be a showcase fight for Crawford and give him a platform to perform for his fan base.
A dark horse candidate for Crawford would be Rashidi Ellis, who’s ranked #8 by the IBF and #7 by the WBO. He hasn’t fought since October of last year, and with the minimal promotional boost he’s received, it might be the best path for him.
The problem is he lacks name recognition, even among casual boxing fans. As for the fight, he’d start out competitive but, would be too green to ultimately challenge the WBO champion.
The last and least likely fight you could attempt to make is Crawford vs Garcia. If Top Rank could pull this fight off, it’d be a major achievement.
Bob Arum attempted to make this fight before but was quite a ways on money, as Garcia was able to make the same amount he was offered by fighting Adrian Granados.
Arum, who now has control of ESPN’s boxing budget, would have to bite the bullet on such an endeavor, and he’s historically been adverse to making this type of move.
The problem is Garcia is on the shortlist of a lot of potential bouts, and has great popularity. It might be worth it though because, if Arum pulled this off, it gives Crawford parity with Spence in future negotiations.
A Garcia fight also makes sense as a stand alone event due to the background of them splitting wins in their amateur careers.
To Sum Up
In conclusion, it’s been frustrating for fans waiting on Terence Crawford to make a ring return. With the final quarter of 2019 approaching rapidly, it’s important that Top Rank find a way to boost Crawford’s standing. Bob Arum and his brain trust will need to be creative if they want to keep Terence Crawford relevant.
By: Corey Cunningham