Andre Ward of ESPN is cautiously optimistic that fans will see welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford battling it out in late 2021.
Ward believes the fight will occur because both fighters can’t make more money fighting anyone else at 147 other than Manny Pacquiao.
Ward didn’t talk about the tremendous imbalance between Crawford and Spence regarding pay-per-view, selling tickets, and overall marketability.
Do Crawford – Spence want to fight?
Spence is the PPV attraction, and he’s also capable of filling large stadiums in Texas.
In the two occasions that Crawford has fought on pay-per-view, he’s done disappointing numbers. Additionally, Crawford can’t sell out stadiums like Spence.
Crawford has a fan base in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, but he’s not popular throughout the entire state the way Spence is in Texas, which is a huge state.
As of now, it’s not looking promising that we’ll see IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) facing WBO champ Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) because there’s not enough of an incentive on Errol’s part to make the fight.
It’s understandable why Ward, an ESPN employee, wants to see Spence give Crawford a fight. It’ll help the ratings with ESPN and bringing in revenue.
However, from Spence’s side, he doesn’t gain much from fighting Crawford other than showing the boxing world that he’s a better fighter than him, which many people already believe without the fight taking place.
Crawford isn’t more popular than guys that Spence has fought in the past, like Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, and Shawn Porter.
So if Spence is going to fight Crawford and give him the 60-40 or 50-50 split that he’s asking for, Spence would be taking a pay cut from what he got for his fights in the past.
The only way the fight makes sense for Spence financially is if he takes a 60-40 or 70-30 split, and Crawford isn’t going to agree to that. If Crawford had any fan base, it would make sense for Spence to fight him, but he doesn’t. Crawford isn’t as popular as Mikey Garcia.
Spence would be doing ESPN, Top Rank, and Crawford a favor by taking this fight, but he wouldn’t come out ahead. It would be a waste of his time.
“Terence Crawford and Errol Spence, I know both guys personally, and I respect both guys. I’m not taking a side,” said Andre Ward to ESPN. “I will say this; I get what Errol Spence, I get the play.
“I think a lot of people at this point get the play. You have the ace card; you have most of the welterweights [at PBC] on your side. Well played, you won the battle.
“But the war has yet to be fought [between Spence and Crawford], and the war has yet to be won. I think the question is not, ‘Do these guys have to fight one another?’ It’s ‘Do you want to fight one another?'” said Ward.
Spence wants the fight with Crawford, but if it doesn’t bring more money than what he’s gotten in the past, it would be a regressive move on his part to take that fight.
Crawford obviously wants the fight because he has no one to fight right now, and he never has his entire career.
From Spence’s side, he has many options available to him, making it pointless for him to take a low-paying fight against Crawford, especially if he’s expected to give the Top Rank fighter the lion’s share of the revenue or a 50-50 deal.
Crawford’s pride won’t let him accept less than a 50-50 deal, and Spence isn’t going to agree to that because Terence isn’t a pay-per-view attraction.
Crawford and Spence can make big money
“I love Shawn Porter, I love Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman,” Ward continued. “I respect all those guys, and I came up with those guys.
“But those guys are not Terence Crawford. At a certain point in time, you put the politics aside and the business of boxing aside. I’m not saying to forget your money.
“Get your money. But you tap your guy, your representative, on the shoulder and say, ‘Make the fight [with Crawford]. Let’s get as much as we can get, but make the fight.’
“That’s where I think these guys are at right now. And I would challenge both guys, Spence and Crawford;
“I know Crawford is saying he wants it, but outside of a Manny Pacquiao fight, I don’t see Errol Spence making the money that he would make against this guy [Crawford].
“Maybe if he goes up and takes a crazy risk against Canelo, but outside of Manny Pacquiao, neither fighter is going to do bigger business with anyone else but against each other,” Ward said.
Ward thinks Spence will make big money fighting Crawford, but not more than what he can fighting other guys. That’s why it’s not worth it.
It’s beneficial for Crawford if Spence faces him and gives him the 60-40 or 50-50 deal that he’s insisting on, but not the other way around. For that reason, that fight will NEVER happen.
Spence’s part’s no big deal because he’s got so many options, and unfortunately, it will be a big deal for Crawford because his future outlook is dim. Even if Crawford leaves Top Rank and signs with Matchroom or PBC, we’re probably talking about guys like Jessie Vargas and Vergil Ortiz Jr. I think Crawford will lose to Ortiz, and from that point on, it could be a downward spiral.
Crawford didn’t look good against the short Kell Brook before he stopped him with a jab. Brook was lighting him up and had his face swollen. If Brook’s punch resistance weren’t gone, he probably would have beaten Crawford. And we saw Crawford struggle against little known fringe contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Ward optimistic Spence vs. Crawford happens in 2021
“Maybe legacy doesn’t mean as much to everybody as it used to, but here’s the thing. I’m not just talking about your being remembered amongst your fan base,” Ward said.
“I’m not talking about you being remembered among the people that support you. I’m talking about being in the history books where you’re never forgotten.
“In order for that to happen, you’ve got to fight a guy that doesn’t know how to lose, and a guy that is threatening your legacy and everything you’ve earned up until this point.
“So I am cautiously optimistic that we’re going to see this fight [Spence vs. Crawford] in late 2021,” said Andre Ward.
Andre doesn’t seem to realize how many options Spence has in front of him. He can make more money fighting guys for years than he can in a fight against Crawford.
Spence has the following options at 147:
- Canelo Alvarez
- Manny Pacquiao
- Shawn Porter – rematch
- Keith Thurman
- Mikey Garcia – rematch
Canelo is the big one for Spence, and it would obviously be difficult for Errol to go from making massive money to getting just a trifle against Crawford.
With Spence’s large frame, he’ll be moving up to 154 and looking to grab belts in that division. Crawford’s too thin-boned to fight at 154, and he’s not going even to try.
“Outside of Manny Pacquiao, neither fighter is going to do bigger business with anyone else.” @AndreWard says a fight between @TerenceCrawford and @ErrolSpenceJr could be big for their legacies and their bank account💰 pic.twitter.com/25ewkfTecY
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) December 27, 2020