By Allan Fox: Tim Smith of PBC says the reason the Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr. welterweight clash hasn’t been made is based on economics. Smith believes that boxing fans won’t purchase the Crawford vs. Spence fight. Instead, they’ll pirate it and won’t pay.
The unbeaten WBO 147-lb champion Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) hasn’t been built into a PPV star by his promoters during his 14-year professional career.
Smith says Crawford will want too much money for the fight with Spence to be made, and the fans won’t support it by purchasing it in high enough numbers.
Crawford hasn’t been built into a PPV attraction
“Economics and you don’t really want to insult a guy like Terence Crawford, who is a tremendous talent, and I’m not taking away anything from his talent,” said Tim Smith of Premier Boxing Champions when asked why the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Crawford fight hasn’t been made.
“But he hasn’t been built into a pay-per-view star,” Smith continued about Crawford failing to capitalize on his success inside the ring by turning into a big money attraction.
“I’m not saying that to throw shade at the guy, but you’ve got to go on his track record,” said Smith about Crawford not being a PPV draw. “You’ve got to go and look at what he’s done in the pay-per-view fights he’s been at, been involved in.
“It’s not my job to tell anybody how to tell him [Crawford] how to make him a pay-per-view star. We have enough work on our hands trying to make our own guys into pay-per-view guys, but he just hasn’t been built,” Smith said of Crawford having not been built into a PPV star by his former promoters.
“Trust me, if there was money in him fighting Errol Spence and he could get what he wants, and Errol could get what he wants, that fight would get made, but you don’t want to insult the guy,” Smith said of Crawford.
The reasons why Crawford hasn’t become a PPV attraction:
- Counter puncher
- Lack of combination punching
- Too focused on defense
- Shy/reserved personality
- Not comfortable trash talking
Smith: Fans will STEAL Crawford vs. Spence
“Nobody wants to insult the guy and make him an offer that’s insulting,” Smith continued about Crawford. “Nobody wants to do that. Like I said, he’s a proud champion, and you don’t want to do that to him.
“From a business standpoint, it’s a fight that might excite the fans and all the people out there yelling about pay-per-view and too much. They’re not buying it [Spence vs. Crawford] anyway. They’re not going to plop down any money to make it successful.
“They’re going to steal the fight, but they’re not going to support it on pay-per-view. The numbers won’t be enough to give him what he needs,” Smith said of Crawford. “Well, not necessarily what he needs. What he wants.
“I don’t know what that number is, but I would think that number would be VERY high. I’m not involved in those talks. That’s just looking at the sport historically, and I don’t think he should be insulted, I really don’t,” Smith said of Crawford.
It’s too risky to make a fight between Crawford and Spence if you’re a promoter because Terence doesn’t have a proven track record on PPV.
All you can go on is Crawford’s failed PPV fights with Shawn Porter, Amir Khan, and Viktor Postol when trying to determine whether it’s worth the risk of putting together a match between him and Spence.
Crawford & Spence are running out of time
“Your confidence in this fight taking place in 2022? Is that a 6.5 out of 10?” said Max Kellerman on his Max on Boxing show on ESPN when asked if the Spence vs. Crawford fight will take place in 2022.
If the Crawford vs. Spence fight doesn’t get made soon, these guys will be old relics, fighters living off their accomplishments from years earlier.
It’s likely that by the time the Crawford-Spence fight gets made, these guys won’t be the best fighters in the 147-lb division.
Already, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis might be the #1 fighter in the division, but he’s not going to be given the opportunity to prove it against either of these guys because they won’t fight him.
Spence and Crawford will avoid Ennis like the plague and leave it up to the fans to come to their own conclusion that this guy is the best at 147.
“Yes, I feel relatively good about this one because now that Terence Crawford is a promotional free agent, and has left Top Rank, it opens the door a little bit because we know PBC doesn’t want Errol Spence losing to Crawford if he’s not with them,” said Mike Coppinger.
“So, is Crawford going to be with PBC? I’m not so sure, but that was a big-time win he had in knocking out Shawn Porter. Errol Spence is going to have his hands full with Yordenis Ugas.
“I don’t see any reason why this fight can’t happen early in the year or early 2023, but we’re running out of time with this one too,” said Coppinger about Crawford vs. Spence. “That seems to be the theme, Max.
“That’s the one thing I don’t like about the PBC and how Al Haymon is conducting business over there,” said Kellerman.
“It bothers me because throughout history we’ve had where a dominant promoter with a large stable usually tries to get options on an opponent that they don’t control for their money-maker or they don’t make the fight or else they try to wait out the other guy’s contract, right? Or they don’t make the fight.
“That’s what it appears has happened here. They’ve [PBC] tried to wait out Terence Crawford’s contract, which was a strategy that was obvious from the beginning but maybe it works. If we get the fight, great,” said Kellerman.
Crawford-Spence has a short shelf-life
“The problem is for me, the fight has a shelf-life for how much longer before we don’t believe these guys are really in their primes anymore,” said Kellerman. “I mean, are we already there for Errol Spence because of the car accident?”
Crawford and Spence are already showing signs of being past it in their recent fights, and it’s going to get worse as they wait.
In Crawford’s last fight, he took punishment from the washed-up gatekeeper Shawn Porter. Just imagine if that had been Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis or Vergil Ortiz Jr inside the ring with Crawford. It would have been bad for the Nebraska native.
Spence is also aging since his war with Porter in 2019. Since then, Spence has fought just once, looking unimpressive in beating Danny Garcia in 2020. Spence’s car crash in October 2019 took a lot out of his game, and he’s not likely to get back what he lost.
With Spence’s eye injury he suffered last August, his career is now in jeopardy. Some fans think Spence is crazy choosing to fight Yordenis Ugas in April in his first fight back from eye surgery for a torn retina, and they could be right.
“They need to make this right now in the next 12 months, 18 months because it won’t exist in the same way that it once could have,” said Kellerman on the Crawford vs. Spence fight needing to be made soon.
“Max, look at the Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan fight. They’re fighting next month,” said Coppinger about the two over-the-hill British welterweights Khan and Brook. “Does anybody care anymore?
“That fight should have happened eight years ago, and I would hate for that to happen here. Errol Spence is coming off of surgery to repair a detached retain. So who knows where he’s at? But he’s one big performance away from making the fight bigger than ever,” said Coppinger.
“That’s one of the bad lessons from the Mayweather era, 50-0,” said Kellerman. “Another lesson is sometimes the interest from fighters and fans are diametrically opposed.”
Mayweather created a blueprint for non-risky fights
“Fans want to see fighters take risks and take great fights, but great fights mean these guys are sustaining damage that can last them the rest of their lives,” Kellerman said. “The blueprint Mayweather showed is, no, don’t give them what they want.”
Kellerman is right about Mayweather creating the blueprint in choosing not to give fans the fights they want to see. Mayweather paints himself as a genius for waiting years until the interest from fans were at the hugest point before making his fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
What Mayweather did was initiated by fear of Pacquiao rather than an actual strategy. Before fighting him, Floyd waited until Pacquiao faded and lost to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Fighters and their promoters now avoid the risky fights that they don’t believe they can win, but not because they’re following Mayweather’s blueprint.
They’re avoiding making the risky fights out of plain fear, and they’re worried about fans losing interest in watching them once they start taking losses.
“Then there’s pent of demand, and then it’s a bigger event eventually, number one. And number two, if you’re opponent is past his prime, it’s also a less dangerous fight,” said Kellerman. “It makes a lot of sense from the fighter’s point of view.
“But it’s not as good for the fans; let’s be honest about it,” said Kellerman.
“This is where the boxing industry gets it really wrong,” said Coppinger. “For me, it’s less about the fighters and more about the fights. Let’s give the best fights in the ring because no one cares about losses.
“We want to see action, and we want to see entertainment. And the bigger fights that you’re in, the more bigger you are as a marketable star, in my opinion. Manny Pacquiao had eight losses, and this is where the UFC gets it really right.
“Yes, different dynamics, different pay structure, but boxing needs to veer towards making the biggest fights and less worry about building stars,” said Coppinger.