Crawford rules out Vergil Ortiz fight: ‘He’s got to work his way up’

By Jeff Sorby - 03/21/2021 - Comments

Terence Crawford had a busy night last Saturday, letting the media know that he no intention of fighting Errol Spence Jr or Vergil Ortiz Jr. In Spence’s case, Crawford says he’ll “never” fight him.

You have to wonder if Crawford is thinking things through clearly or not. If he wants to improve his chances of beating the 22-year-old Ortiz, now would be the time to fight him rather than waiting.

If Crawford is lucky, he can pull a Mayweather move in picking off a talented fighter that hasn’t hit his prime yet in Vergil Ortiz.

Floyd was smart to fight Canelo Alvarez when he was only 23, and not in his prime, fighting at a catchweight that benefited Mayweather.

Most would agree that if Floyd had waited until Canelo hit his prime, he would have been massacred.

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It’s reasonable to assume that Vergil Ortiz will be a real handful in three to four years, and he’ll simply be too powerful for the aging Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) to deal with.

It’s odd that Crawford, 33, is already ruling out a fight against #2 WBO Vergil Ortiz (17-0, 17 KOs) because he would be an immediate massive upgrade to the opposition he’s faced since turning professional in 2008.

Ortiz is already ranked behind #1 WBO Shawn Porter, who is dragging his feet about forcing his mandatory against Crawford. If Porter doesn’t make the move soon, he may lose that spot to Vergil Ortiz.

“Vergil’s got to work his way up, that fight ain’t even ready yet, he’s not ready yet,” said Crawford to Fino Boxing last Saturday night.

Does Crawford truly want Vergil to continue to improve to the point where he can beat him or this just an excuse so that he doesn’t have to fight him?

By saying that Ortiz has “got to work his way up,” that’s a cop-out on Crawford’s part to deflect criticism that will come his way when he ducks Vergil for a lesser opponent.

If Crawford were facing better opposition than the still green Ortiz, you could buy his comment about Vergil not being ready. We’re not seeing that from Crawford.

We weren’t hearing Crawford rule out fights against the shot Kell Brook and Amir Khan. Why didn’t Crawford say that Jose Benavidez Jr, Jeff Horn, and Egidijus Kavaliauskas needed to work their way up to earn their spot?

Kavaliauskas had never beaten anyone good when he was given a title shot, and the same with Benavidez Jr. Those two guys had horribly poor resumes, and yet Crawford still fought them.

It’s going to be bad for Crawford if he chooses to make Vergil wait two to three years before he gives him a title shot. By then, Crawford will be 36 or 37, and likely slower and more beatable.

“Never. That fight’s never gonna happen, it’s over with,” said Crawford to DAZN last Saturday in letting them know he will “Never” fight Spence.

You can sort of understand why WBO welterweight champion Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) doesn’t want any part of IBF/WBC champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs). Errol is a bigger star, holds more titles, and he’s a pay-per-view.

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