Freddy C. (Raleigh, NC): Terrance Crawford is a guy that I never really cared for initially, but after watching him again, this kid is solid. Give us your thoughts on where you place him as a talent and who you would like to see him face going forward?
Vivek W. (ESB): I’ve watched Crawford develop over the past few years and I can say unequivocally, this is the most polished “fighter on the rise” in the sport, today. When I look at young talents out there that seem to grab headlines at will…..guys such as Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Golovkin, etc.; each of those young studs are great in their own way, but Crawford is without question the most complete talent of them all. What I love most about him is the hybrid type effect he exudes. You get the cerebral, fundamental type execution; yet when he gets touched, you see the ‘dog’ in him surface and take over, as well! Literally, the best of both worlds!
I can’t think of any fighters at his raw level with such poise and ability. When I look at a talent like Terrance Crawford it reminds me of all the idiosyncrasies that I hate about the sport that I love! We see a 30+ year old like Golovkin grab headlines, despite a resume that boast no elite opponents in more than 30 pro fights. Then we see unproven talents like Nonito Donaire or Zhou Shimming that are basically network manufactured stars who put cheeks in seats as a result of having one or two key attributes, yet rarely do we see the sport celebrate Crawford’s type of skill level. How can anyone logically explain this one?
Relative to “where I place him”? I don’t see a way to dispute his position at the very top of the lightweight division. And considering his fight night weight, (153lbs), I think we could very well see him attempt to conquer another division real soon. When I look at the 140lb landscape, to be quite frank, I love his chances of being the last man standing there, as well! The most intriguing names on that ledger to me for him are Danny Garcia, Brandon Rios, and believe it or not, I’d have to throw in Zab Judah.
Starting from the bottom, Judah’s experience and speed make him interesting, and also allows Crawford to put a once highly credible veteran on his resume. Brandon Rios would present an unrelenting pressure. Danny Garcia could be the biggest test, as his skill level is greater than the others and he has pop to match. Sadly for him, Crawford I view as far too poised, and in the end, this isn’t a matchup I could see Garcia winning. When we look at that proverbial ‘toolbelt’, Crawford simply has too many skills at his disposal, and trying to land one thunderous shot is simply not enough to get the job done, as it probably won’t connect.
There are other names out there, such as Matthysse and Broner, but personally, those aren’t matchups I have any true interest in seeing. I think the only other matchup I’d really love to see Crawford in would be Timothy Bradley. One warrior possessing a huge heart against an opponent whose skill level has been known to take that very thing (heart) from every owner he’s faced! Both men have that ‘dog’ in them, but I just think Crawford’s defense makes all the difference in the end on a narrow card score decision, as Bradley is just a tid bit more hittable. I don’t know who we’ll see him face next, but any of these names would bring him closer to the pay day he deserves and the name recognition he has earned. Stay tuned….
Andre B. (San Francisco, CA): Talks surrounding Mayweather vs Pacquiao have seemed to gain steam lately. How strong would you rate the odds of this fight happening in 2015?
Vivek W. (ESB): This topic has managed to steal headlines yet again, but for the first time during this past 5 year stretch, I can openly admit that I feel optimistic about the chances. There are three major pieces to the puzzle that we need to see fall in place in order to make this dream a reality, and if we want to be gullible enough to buy what we’re hearing, a few of them are already in place. Boxing Executive, M. Akbar Muhammad, (United Arab Emirates Group), has pledged to make sure that all parties involved are happy with their compensation, stating that Mayweather would earn an unprecedented $110M, while Pacquiao would bag a solid $60M.
Secondly, sources are citing that Arum has privately gone on record to admit that while there was no agreement made on the alleged $10M that Mayweather offered him to step aside, he and Pacquaio would both gladly relinquish promotional rights, allowing Mayweather to be the sole promoter if M. Akbar Muhammad’s group “makes a solid business proposal” by way of pledging the right amount of dollars! Last but not least, Pacquiao would have to not only agree, but take part in full, blood-based randomized testing until fight night.
If all of these conditions can be met, (and it appears that Arum and Pacquiao are finally ready to meet them), we probably have a fight on our hands! All of that being said, there’s still a little fear factor involved, evidenced by the fact that Arum has also pointed out Jessie Vargas as Pacquiao’s next opponent in a few media circles. Then there’s the rumors of Haymon reaching out the Cotto for a Mayweather rematch at 160, although this was before Pacquiao talks intensified. In the end, there’s far more signs to be hopeful about, currently. Then again, for every one of those hopeful reasons, there’s been a humbling season (to follow) in the past. Like always, again, we’ll just have to wait and see!
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, Twitter (@vivekwallace747), Instagram (ViveksView), and Facebook)