Terence Crawford is great, but his opponents haven’t been and that’s why he hasn’t gained mainstream recognition
There is always joy, as well as surprise, when he has the honor of seeing the best in the world perform.
Terence Crawford is the best in boxing, a truly great fighter with a list of skills and talents beyond that of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Crawford has pretty much shut down the field at welterweight, just as he has done in the past at lightweight and super lightweight.
He is a first ballot slam dunk Hall of Famer who is selected on his first day of eligibility.
But he is 35 years old and despite being a world champion in three weight classes and the undisputed champion at super-lightweight, he has yet to face an outstanding fighter who was close to his prime .
He put up the best fight he could take, probably the best fight boxing could take, and so, instead of fighting a unified champion and a punching star- on-pound Errol Spence Jr. for the undisputed title on the big stage in Las Vegas, he is on a much smaller stage in Omaha, Nebraska, where he will defend his WBO welterweight title on Saturday against David Avanesyan good but not great.
Before we go any further, as former President Richard M. Nixon would say, let’s make one thing absolutely clear: The blame for not making the Crawford-Spence fight equal rests on Crawford and Spence shoulders. One of them is not to blame than the other; each must share in this failure.
The best fighters that Crawford has fought to this point are Shawn Porter who was in his prime, Yuriorkis Gamboa who was well past his prime, Viktor Postol who was strong but not great and Amir Khan who was previously his prime minister. They are good fighters, all of them, but even at their prices, none of them were good like Crawford is, like Floyd Mayweather was, like Sugar Ray Leonard was.
Leonard won a gold medal at 20 in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. By 23, he had beaten his first future Hall of Famer, Wilfred Benitez. By 24, he had added a second to his resume when he defeated Roberto Duran, and by 25, he was a third favorite when he scored a solid come-from-behind KO victory over Thomas Hearns.
If Crawford had grown up in an era where there were welterweights like Leonard, Duran, Hearns and Benitez, not to mention Pipino Cuevas, Milton McCrory and Marlon Starling, there would be no doubt about his greatness.
But as he prepares to fight Avanesyan on Saturday on a pay-per-view card produced by an entity called BLK Prime, one of his goals is to prove himself to the crowd. -continue.
“My goal is to remind the world that I’m the best fighter on the planet, so everyone needs to tune in [Saturday] on this new BLK Prime PPV platform,” he said.
Now, let’s be honest here: The second sentence of that quote by Crawford is complete BS. Crawford doesn’t care what other fighters do – and he shouldn’t – as much as he cares what patrons, ticket sellers and security staff at CHI Health Center do. ‘ hourly earnings to work his fight.
Crawford has been handsomely paid throughout his career, although he has never been a ticket seller anywhere but Omaha (where the prices are much lower), and he has not been a pay-per-view seller. He has complained that pay-per-view fights on ESPN+ made it impossible to sell, and he observed that it was impossible to sell fights on an app. But that ignores the huge marketing push ESPN provides as well as the many fighters, both in boxing and the UFC, who have outsold pay-per-views. than he has ever been able to do.
And Canelo Alvarez has fought “on app” at DAZN and is largely recognized as the biggest PPV star in the game right now.
It would be a huge success over Saturday’s high if his pay-per-view did up to 50,000 sales. It would be good if he did, because it would be good for the sport. You know what they say about a rising tide lifts all boats.
There is one reason Crawford didn’t sell, and it has nothing to do with fighting on an app or his talent. It is the talent of his opponents.
Mayweather was not a good seller early in his career. But when he fought Oscar De La Hoya, a big name and the biggest draw in the sport at the time they met in 2007, he sold over 2 million units and turned into a household name. From that point on, he turned into the biggest draw in boxing history.
Leonard had four fights against three boxers who would go on to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame before he was 25. Alvarez fought Mayweather when he was 23. He was then fighting Miguel Cotto when he was 25 and Gennadiy Golovkin just two months before he turned 27.
Alvarez was in big fights against elite opponents with recognizable names, and he sold.
Simple, isn’t it?
Avanesyan is no slouch, but don’t rule him out as a big threat. There’s a reason Crawford is a -1400 favorite at BetMGM.
There is time for Crawford to get all the fights the public wants to see, hits that would enhance his image. There’s no reason he can’t get back to the negotiating table with Spence and work out a deal for his next fight. Young welterweights like Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr. on the brink of stardom which would be big fights for him at some point. Crawford even talked about moving up to true welterweight champion and undisputed challenger Jermell Charlo.
Fight those fights and Crawford’s attitude will change dramatically. He is a great talent who has yet to be pushed by anyone close to him in ability.
When, or if he finally does, will he suddenly start selling tickets and PPVs.
Until then, well, he’s just letting a great major career slip through his hands.