Terence Crawford has an attractive, if no less difficult to realize, Plan B in mind if he fails to land a legacy-defining showdown against long-sworn welterweight rival Errol Spence Jr.
The WBO welterweight titleholder from Nebraska stated in a recent interview that took place in London during the final press conference for the Amir Khan-Kell Brook grudge match that he would “love” to fight the winner of undisputed 154-pound title bout between Houston’s Jermell Charlo (WBA, WBC, IBF) and Argentina’s Brian Castano (WBO). That fight, originally scheduled for March 19 in Los Angeles, has been postponed after multiple reports state that Castano had suffered a partially torn right biceps.
Crawford, a titlist across three divisions, suggested the move up to 154 as a possibility in the event that he cannot get the winner of the welterweight unification between IBF and WBC titlist Spence and WBA titlist Yordenis Ugas of Cuba on April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Spence’s home turf.
“If I can’t get the Spence-Ugas winner, I’d love to get the Jermell and Castano winner,” Crawford told Behind the Gloves. “I can have that fight and be undisputed at 154.”
Gunning for the undisputed distinction at the junior middleweight limit is no doubt an attractive option, but it is not clear how much more easily attainable that fight is for Crawford than the Spence fight. Both Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) and Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs), after all, are aligned with the same entity as Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) and Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs), Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, an organization with which Crawford has few concrete connections.
Although Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) is now a promotional free agent, having fought his final bout on his contract under longtime promoter Top Rank Inc., last September with a 10th-round technical stoppage over Shawn Porter (another PBC client), there does not appear to have been any meaningful discussions between Crawford and the PBC. Crawford, moreover, is currently suing Top Rank and its head, Bob Arum, for breach of contract and racism.
Regarded as one of the top fighters in the sport, Crawford has struggled to get top-shelf opponents to join him in the ring, especially as it relates to the welterweight division, where most of the champions and top contenders are under the PBC banner.
If there is urgency on the part of Crawford, 34, to get the Spence fight, he did not show it in this interview, suggesting he could tolerate a fate in which the Spence fight never materialized for him.
“I want that fight,” Crawford said. “If it happens, it happens. I’ve been calling for it for years now. If it don’t, it don’t.”
Crawford said he has done everything that he could to make the fight happen, and put the onus on the fans to put pressure on Spence and his backers to make the fight. A spokesperson for the PBC suggested recently that Crawford’s purse demands were exorbitant and out of step with the business reality of that fight.
“The fight fans gotta be the ones that push for it,” Crawford said. “They gotta be the ones that demand it. I did my part. I’ve done my part by being professional by going through everybody they put in front of me. I don’t know what I can do any different[ly], any more.”