Terence “Bud” Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) survived one of the toughest tests to date when he defeated Shawn Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs) by technical knockout in the 10th round to retain the WBO world welterweight title. This was Crawford’s fifth successful defense of his world title and extended his stoppage streak to a career-best nine fights.
The big news came after this fight, which represented the last on the contract extension he signed with Top Rank in late 2018. He is now a promotional and broadcast free agent.
Crawford was not ready to commit to anything related to his next move. A smart move for Crawford is to continue as a free agent, which would allow him to leverage his status and unbeaten record to score one-off fights across all of boxing’s promotional scenery. This formula has worked for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez since he split from Golden Boy Promotions in Nov 2020. He has fought under Matchroom Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on his way to unifying and becoming the undisputed super-middleweight champion.
Crawford could sign with PBC which manages most of the top fighters in the welterweight division to include, Errol Spence Jr. (WBC & IBF title holder), Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Yordenis Ugas (WBA title holder).
Most believe the biggest fight to make would be between Spence Jr. and Crawford. The two have gone back and forth while also blaming the other for the fight not happening. Crawford said, “I don’t need Spence, I been the No.1 guy in the division since I came here (in 2018). You know, three-weight world champion… Like undisputed world champion (at junior welterweight). You know, coming in the welterweight division, my first fight, and win a title (by knockout of Jeff Horn). Like the things that I been doing in my whole career is nothing compared to Spence. You know, not to take nothing away from him.” PBC fighters, Spence Jr. and Ugas are scheduled to fight on April 16.
Predicting what could happen in boxing is as difficult as picking numbers for a mega-millions lottery ticket, but here are three fights Crawford should consider while Spence Jr. keeps kicking the bucket on a their fight.
Keith Thurman (Former WBA Title Holder)
Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) looked “okay” in a unanimous-decision victory over Mario Barrios. This was Thurman’s first fight since July 2019 split-decision loss to Manny Pacquiao. Thurman, who owns wins over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, could offer some excitement in this clash and this fight is more plausible than now that Crawford is a promotional free agent.
I see Crawford dominating Thurman in what would be a much hyped fight, but the skill level of “Bud” and his tenacity would overwhelm Thurman.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. (No. 4 Ranked Welterweight)
Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs), is one of boxing’s fastest-rising stars and owns victories over former champion Maurice Hooker (7th-round TKO) and scoring an eighth-round stoppage of Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Ortiz has called out Crawford after both wins. Ortiz isn’t a household name as of yet, but he has a solid ranking and skills to match.
I don’t know if calling out Crawford is enough to get his attention but maybe Golden Boy Promotions could make an offer that could be hard to refuse.
Jaron “Boots” Ennis (No. 5 Ranked Welterweight)
Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs) has continued to see his stock rise. Recently, Ennis made it look easy while taking care of business against respected veterans Thomas Dulorme and Sergey Lipinets (former champion) stopping both before the final bell. Crawford said of the 24-year old Ennis, “He’s very talented, dude got skills… I take my hat off to him. He’s doing what he needs to do to get his name out there. He’s going to be the next one up as well.”
Ennis is scheduled to fight Custio Clayton in an IBF welterweight title eliminator in spring of 2022. If Ennis could win the IBF title, I think Crawford would jump at the chance to fight Ennis and secure another piece of the welterweight title.
“Bud” is considered by most as the best fighter in the welterweight division and is currently ESPN’s No. 1 ranked welterweight. He has said he doesn’t need to fight Spence Jr., although most fans and media would disagree. I think there are other challenging fights out there for him.
One thing is for sure though, Crawford is still interested in testing his skills against the upper echelon of the division…