After months of heated discussions and publicity, talks between WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and his WBC, WBA and IBF counterpart Errol Spence Jr have resulted in a fight. For some ungodly reason, this fight is Crawford defending his title against European welterweight champion David Avanesyan.
To this day, boxing has shot itself in the foot. I wrote in these pages not long ago that men’s boxing cannot go out of its way. With the collapse of Crawford-Spence, boxing is not just in his way, he has built a wall around himself to protect himself from anything that looks like logic.
As usual in these cases, the fighters blame each other. Without permission being given in the chat room, it is difficult to find out exactly where the fault lies. But if both men were as serious about this fight as the fans are, they would have done it. The same can be said about Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua and his successor in Fury-Derek Chisora, a fight up there with Crawford-Avanesyan in a series of fights that no one asked for.
Avanesyan is not a shy world title challenger in any category. He is a former WBA belt holder and is currently enjoying one of the best runs of his career. The Russian is on a six-game winning streak. But none of these came to the level approaching that occupied by ‘Bud’ Crawford or Spence. Avanesyan is a load of B-teer that we are fed instead of a solid fight.
Men’s boxing does this over and over again. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather met five years late. The Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan fight earlier this year, as it stands, is arguably over a decade old. Other battles don’t happen at all. This is perhaps the biggest fear surrounding Crawford and Spence. 35 and 32 respectively, there is no big window of opportunity to compete.
A Crawford fight would push that potential match back, and that’s if he wins. If Avanesyan pulls off the miracle, we could lose the Spence crisis forever. Similarly, Spence himself may be looking for his opponent now. This comes with its own challenges. Either a person can get injured or beaten in these fights. When a boxer enters his 30s, the chances of both increase. This is a heavy duty fighter that sits on the edge of a knife.
The reason the discussion is so broken is simply because Crawford vs Spence is a great fight. It’s what boxing really needs to put its best foot forward. Two dominant 147-pounders of recent years, both unbeaten, meeting all four welterweight title belts on the line. It really ticks every box for a modern superfight.
For months, each person has a specific schedule. The moment is there. The conversation is ongoing. Whatever the reasons for the collapse of this fight, they are not enough. Crawford, Spence and those who run the business owe it to the fans and the sport to carry out this fight. Hopefully it can be saved, hopefully all is not lost. Crawford vs Spence shouldn’t be a heated “who will win?” boardroom debates or fantasy stories. It should be in the boxing ring where we can all experience it. This game at its best is truly unique. Often times, those in power don’t allow it to be.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Subject of Change