Ahead of his Saturday night clash on Premier Boxing Champions Errol Spence Jr sat down with Chris Mannix to discuss his fight camp, the opponent choice and the possibility of the Terrence Crawford fight. DAZN has not put the clip on YouTube and those who do not have DAZN can see a small part of the interview here. I felt at the announcement that facing Danny Garcia coming off the fourteen month layoff without a tune up was unnecessarily risky. We have not seen the unified WBC/IBF Welterweight champion since his horrific car accident that led to the initial delay in his return prior to COVID-19. When Mannix asked Spence Jr about the lack of a tune up, the young champion responded that everything they would need to know about his readiness came from sparring. In regards to Garcia being risky given all of the surrounding circumstances, Spence Jr. stated that he wants to face a top fighter in order to be completely focused and up for the fight. I like that answer though it hints at the idea that he could potentially take an opponent lightly in the future. Besides those two points Mannix basically asked him the obvious questions about his camp and confidence which Spence Jr responded the only way you would expect him to,, affirming a good camp and complete confidence. When asked about a meeting with Terrence Crawford, Spence started saying the words promoter and deferred away from it which is an answer I’ve never liked. I want to see fighters who say who they want to fight and make their call outs known.
Dan Rafael came on to the show to discuss the possible fight between Crawford and Spence Jr. According to Dan both men are demanding a 60/40 split so its hard to say if this fight will be made anytime soon without anyone making a compromise. With Terrence Crawford becoming a free agent by the end of next October I have a feeling we do not get that fight until after that point. Already discussed on this blog is the frustration coming from Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions regarding dealing with Crawford and the likelihood that Arum decides to move on from Crawford rather than negotiate a new deal. According to Rafael, Crawford dragged his feet in signing the contract with Kell Brook though the terms had already been agreed upon. This prevented Arum from running a larger advertisement for the fight during the broadcast of Lomachenko vs Lopez which drew a large television audience. Due to the delay Arum was only able to get about a thirty second announcement from Joe Tessitore rather than a one on one interview with Crawford via satellite. The next mystery is what does Arum do with Crawford in 2021? Arum told Rafael in a separate interview that it is still difficult to make the money from these events because of the obstacles related to COVID-19 and having to meet the guaranteed purses of these big fights. Without the right capacity in the venue the gate suffers, without bars and restaurants they lose out on those purchases, and without theaters and other areas they lose on closed circuit. All of that compounds into a big obstacle of getting these events done and Rafael did not indicate to Mannix that he felt that Bob was dishonest about that assessment. From my perspective there are not any real threats in the Top Rank stable at welterweight. Josh Taylor is still at 140 lbs. and is looking to unify with Ramirez. Even if Taylor was going to move up, I doubt Arum is going to risk Taylor losing to a fighter he is about to cut loose anyway. The short answer for now is everything points to waiting until Crawford is a free agent before he faces Spence Jr or the situation will have to change with COVID-19 prior to October. Arum’s big negotiating point is that Top Rank has an exclusive agreement with ESPN+ and that they have the largest audience for PPV and that audience is Arum’s leverage in bringing in the big fights. He uses the Fury vs Wilder rematch as his example and that was co-promoted. Maybe this will create urgency on the Spence side to get the fight on that platform and take less of the risk as a sole promoter.