Top Rank promoter Bob Arum wants to match Terence Crawford against one of the top 140-pounders for his next defense at the end of summer.
Arum has nothing to lose by matching Crawford against an excellent fighter because he’s likely to leave the company when his contract expires.
Bob might as well finally get Crawford’s feet wet against a talented guy like Regis Prograis. Even if Crawford is exposed and loses, it’s not a big deal because he’s likely on his way out anyway.
Arum has done a good job promoting Crawford, steering him around different obstacles to keep him unbeaten, but he’s got to throw him in the deep end for the first time.
It’s easy for Arum to find guys from the 140-lb division to move up to face Crawford for a nice payday than it for him to work a deal with one of the top fighters in the 147-lb division.
Crawford’s recent opponents have left a lot to be desired for him defending against Kell Brook, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Amir Khan, and Jose Benavidez.
Those are fighters that the top contenders like Vergil Ortiz Jr, Jaron Ennis, and Shawn Porter would have an easy time beating.
The fans would like to see Crawford face one of the top welterweights like Errol Spence Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, or Shawn Porter.
Those would be difficult fights for Arum to make, which is why he’s looking in the direction of one of the top 140-pounders to match against Crawford.
Crawford, 33, has been inactive for seven months, and Arum must get him back in action soon to fight at least once in 2021, if not twice.
The chances of Crawford getting two fights in this year are low due to his inactivity since his win over 34-year-old Kell Brook last November.
Arum has three excellent 40-pounders in mind, with Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez, and Jose Zepeda as the options.
Whoever gets picked, they would come up to 147 to fight Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) for his WBO welterweight title, which he recently successfully defended against Kell Brook last November.
Former WBC/WBO 140-lb champion Jose Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) wouldn’t be the ideal guy to fight Crawford next, given that he’s coming off a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Josh Taylor last month on May 22nd in their undisputed 140-lb championship.
But then again, it wouldn’t be the first time that Arum has taken a fighter coming off a big loss and thrown them into a world title fight.
We’ve seen it plenty of times by Arum, so maybe the boxing public wouldn’t mind seeing the recently beaten Ramirez challenge Crawford
Taylor outsmarted Ramirez by nailing him with shots while he was coming forward and dropping him a couple of times.
Former WBA light welterweight champion Regis Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) is arguably the best of the three options from the 140-lb division.
The southpaw Prograis suffered his only career defeat against Josh Taylor two years ago in a close 12 round majority decision in London, England, in October 2019.
Prograis has looked superb in his last two fights, beating Juan Heraldez and Ivan Redkach by early knockouts.
With Prograis’s punching power, inside game, and southpaw stance, he would give Crawford a lot to think about.
Zepeda (32-2, 26 KOs) is an excellent fighter with recent wins over Hank Lundy, Ivan Baranchyk, and Jose Pedraza. However, Zepeda didn’t look good in his last fight against Lundy on May 22nd.
Zepeda was slow and not reacting to the shots well from the 37-year-old Lundy (31-9-1, 14 KOs), who he should have dominated if he was in top form.
The war that Zepeda had last October against the big punching Baranchyk may have taken something out of him. Zepeda was dropped four times in that contest before coming on to stop Baranchyk in the fifth round.
It was one of the best fights of last year, but unfortunately, the content may have taken something out of Zepeda because he was nowhere near as sharp in his fight Lundy.
Arum tried to negotiate a fight between Crawford and Manny Pacquiao, but that didn’t work.
Unfortunately, the undisputed light welterweight champion Josh Taylor isn’t one of the options for Crawford’s next fight because he’s defending against his WBO mandatory Jack Catterall next.
Taylor should face Crawford in 2022, as long as he doesn’t lose his titles against Catterall or Teofimo Lopez.