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TERENCE ‘BUD’ CRAWFORD: THERE IS ONLY ONE FIGHT TO BE MADE

By Anthony “Zute” George – The Pound-for-Pound discussion is always a hot topic in boxing. An issue that always has much debate, however, the same five pugilists typically fill out the top five. It is just a matter of where they are placed by the boxing pundit. Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is almost always in the top two or three on the Pound 4 Pound list, and deservedly so. With that being said, it can be argued that Bud has been involved in the least desirable fights from the P4P contenders recently.

It is time to make a fight. 

With Errol Spence Jr. fighting Manny Pacquiao, there is only one fight for Bud Crawford to get those juices flowing for boxing fans the same way a Spence showdown would have, and that is against the number one contender for Crawford’s WBO strap. Mr. Vergil Ortiz, Jr. A fight with Crawford and Ortiz is a super fight and has to happen now. Yet, there is hardly even a whisper about this fight being made. Why? When Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas was the WBO mandatory, there were no issues with getting that fight made. A contest, by the way, the public was not craving to see. Still, it was an understandable matchup because Mean Machine was ranked number one.

The history of boxing tells us that great champions must face a mandatory challenger that sometimes produces a fight that might not be at the top of our list, but we understand the process, nonetheless. Think Marvelous Marvin Hagler in both rematches against Fully Obel & Mustafa Hamsho.   

Can we get the same outcome now that Ortiz is the number one guy in the WBO? Please? If you love sugar we can put plenty on top!

What is most astonishing is that I do not hear that much of a demand for this fight. Perhaps I am just not looking in the right places. However, if I am accurate about this, I have a newsflash for you: If the demand for Crawford vs. Ortiz is not overwhelming, there is extraordinarily little chance the promoters will try and make it. 

This is a very tough fight for both men. The kind of risk that boxers will only take unless there is a significant financial reward attached to it. 

The fact that this matchup is more pie in the sky than reality is a significant problem, and this dynamic has plagued boxing for a long time. The fight boxing fans all demanded was Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence, which is obviously on hold. 

Why that fight could not be made will have different answers depending on who you ask. The blame game does not interest me (as I am sure there is plenty of blame to go around); I would rather focus on what is next for Terence Crawford. That answer seems to be more secretive than what lies beyond the walls of Area 51. 

Indeed, they are going to have to reveal Crawford’s next opponent eventually. When that happens, let us all hope it is a name the boxing world can get excited about. I may be in the minority here, but nothing about Errol Spence’s next fight excites me. I hope we do not get a double whammy with Crawford. 

I do not kid myself into thinking it may be Vergil Ortiz. Which does not leave us with unbelievably delicious options. Shawn Porter appears to be a non-starter. Yordenis Ugas seems to be avoided by the top fighters like the plague. Danny Garcia looks unlikely as well. All three options would be intriguing. Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis would also be a lovely choice for Crawford, but I have a better chance of landing on the cover of GQ. 

So, what does that leave us? Joseito Lopez is the name being rumored. I certainly hope not. Mikey Garcia would undoubtedly welcome the challenge, but I cannot see that fight catching fire. The dark horse may be Josh Taylor moving up from 140 pounds, exactly what Bud did before him. While that fight would not be at the top of most fans’ wishlist, it is more intriguing than the realistic possibilities being floated around.  

The frustrating thing is that Bud Crawford is being cheated from showing the world just how great he can be. I call him ‘The Shapeshifter’ because he has the ability to take on any style and can fight at any pace.  

However, we can only honestly know how great he can be if he faces some of the great options he has. Right now, Vergil Ortiz would be his ultimate dare to be great moment. The more likely outcome is a much less desirable match and will not move the needle of legacy for Crawford one iota.  

I hope I am proven wrong with that statement. 

Stay tuned…   

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

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