Malignaggi: Canelo vs. Crawford – A Fight for the Casuals?

By Tim Compton - 05/08/2024 - Comments

Boxing expert Paulie Malignaggi views the possible money fight between Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford as more about attracting casual fans rather than having any true sporting value to it.

Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) is moving up three divisions without any intention of acclimatizing himself to the 168-lb division before challenging Canelo for his undisputed super middleweight championship.

Malignaggi feels that Canelo-Crawford will be more for casual fans rather than true boxing fans because it’s not like a true sporting event.

He sees it as a YouTuber-esque, considering that Crawford will be going up three divisions without proving himself or earning the title shot. It’s a joke fight.

Money Talks, Benavidez Walks

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about the money. You can avoid David Benavidez, and for Canelo, that means everything,” said boxing expert Paulie Malignaggi to the Probox TV YouTube channel about the Canelo Alvarez vs. Terence Crawford fight.

“It’s another fight where he can say, ‘Well, you know what? They’re paying me a lot of money here. This is the fight that’s in demand. Sorry, Dave. I can’t still. I’m making another excuse for not fighting you.’

Malignaggi makes a good point. Fighting Crawford gives Canelo a good excuse to give to fans for not fighting David Benavidez. No one can say anything to Canelo about Benavidez if he’s facing Crawford.

Casual Fans vs. True Boxing Enthusiasts

“That’s also big for me. This is a fight [Canelo vs. Crawford] more for the casuals. The #1 pound-for-pound against the most popular fighter in the world. It has a bit of a YouTuber-esque type of feel, but these are obviously two world-class fighters in a way that it’s going to attract a lot of casuals,” said Malignaggi.

It’s definitely a celebrity-esque or YouTuber-esque. Crawford moving up three weight classes, skipping 160 entirely, and not fighting any preliminary matches at 168 before getting the title shot against Canelo.

There’s no sporting value to it because, in an ideal world, Crawford would have to run the gauntlet by fighting Morrell, Benavidez, and Caleb Plant. If Crawford won those fights, then he would get a title shot against Canelo.

“To a degree, Turki Alalshikh could be putting his money toward Canelo and Benavidez, him putting it toward this kind of makes him a casual as well. It’s the fight that everyone wants to see, and I think within boxing circles, you’d rather see Canelo and Benavidez,” said Malignaggi.

If Malignaggi has been paying attention, the fights that we’ve seen with Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua both fighting former UFC champion Francis Ngannou were YouTuber-esque. Joshua and Fury both got big money from His Excellency to fight a novice in fights that should have never happened. Contenders were passed over for Joshua and Fury to fight a novice.

“The amount of eyeballs that are going to be on this fight [Canelo vs. Crawford], the majority of them are not going to be from within boxing,” said Malignaggi. “The majority are going to be casuals or people who are outright not even fight fans. They maybe watch one fight a year, and this would be the fight they watch.”

A lot of boxing fans will tune in to watch Canelo fight Crawford too, but a lot of casuals will for sure be watching as well. It would be interesting to see if Crawford stays at 168 if he’s victorious. I don’t think he will, but it would be interesting to see Crawford fight Jaime Munguia and Caleb Plant. He’s not going to fight Benavidez that’s for sure.

The Real Loser: Benavidez

“I can’t see anybody losing here except David Benavidez, of course. As an amazing fighter as he is, he takes Ls as far as not being able to get these big fights that he’s more than deserving of. I think he deserves the Canelo fight and the world title fight at 168,” said Malignaggi.