Tim Bradley took the news hard about Terence Crawford being stripped of his IBF welterweight title and the belt given to interim champion Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis.
Bradley wonders why the International Boxing Federation didn’t strip their previous champion Errol Spence, for not defending the belt since 2020.
In Spence’s case, he was involved in a second car crash, and his defense was further interrupted by the COVID situation.
The IBF made the move to strip Crawford when it became clear that he wouldn’t defend it next against Boots Ennis (31-0, 28 KOs), who had been waiting for his shot since earlier this year.
Crawford had already broadcast that he only wanted big fights for the remainder of his career, and he mentioned wanting Canelo Alvarez. Boots Ennis wasn’t part of Crawford’s plans.
It was made known before Crawford & Spence fought last July that the winner would need to defend the IBF belt against Ennis, but that wasn’t going to happen due to the rematch clause being activated by Errol.
Boots Ennis the new IBF champion
Bernardo Osuna: “We criticize sanctioning bodies when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do according to their guidelines, and now we’re going to criticize one because they do what they’re supposed to do,” said Osuna to ESPN’s State of Boxing, reacting to the IBF stripping undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford of his title with their organization and elevating interim champ Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis to the full champion.
“So, how do you explain what the IBF did in stripping Terence Crawford and turning Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, one of the best up-and-coming welterweights, into their full welterweight champion.”
The IBF went by their rules to strip Crawford because he wasn’t going to defend against Ennis next. If they had made an exception to allow Crawford to hold onto his IBF title, it’s very likely they would have needed to keep doing this because he was expected to move up to 154 to chase fights against Jermell Charlo.
The IBF belt would have been just something that Crawford had stowed away and would have been defended if he was going to be fighting for world titles at 154.
Mike Coppinger: “We have another what we call an ’email champion’ now. Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis was elevated from interim champion to full champion by the IBF after Terence Crawford had to go now fight Errol Spence.
“Of course, Errol Spence activated that rematch clause after Terence Crawford absolutely dominated him in July, and Crawford is waiting to see when that happens. It’s supposed to fight in February. Nothing is set yet, but the IBF usually follows its own rules, unlike the other ones, even if their rules don’t always make sense.
“The IBF does not recognize or respect rematch clauses, so because Crawford won the title from Errol Spence, that IBF title that Spence had held forever since he beat Kell Brook all those years ago [in 2017].
“Now, Boots Ennis is elevated, and Crawford is no longer the undisputed champion, and that’s why we have to go for undisputed. If you’re undisputed, you should be pushed up the pound-for-pound list.
“I say nonsense because Josh Taylor won the undisputed, and he was stripped of all his titles but one, and now the same thing is happening to Crawford.
The same thing is happening with Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk also because the IBF has already said that if they fight a second time, and we know they’re going to, then one of them is going to be stripped. Right now, that’ll be Filip Hrgovic and Otto Wallin fighting for that vacant IBF title as well.”
It’ll be a good thing for the Fury vs. Usyk winner of their proposed fight next February to be stripped of the IBF title if they plan on meeting in a rematch.
Crawford deserved to be stripped
Tim Bradley: “So, the question that I would have for the IBF is that we had Jermall Charlo for sitting about a year and a half without defending his world championship or IBF world championship, and that was okay. I don’t get that.
“Why is okay for some and not the other? I don’t get it. You just had Canelo Alvarez. He ain’t been defending. He hasn’t had no mandatory defenses. He faced Ryder and Jermell Charlo, who I’m speaking of right now; I forget their names of which one is which. I think it’s Jermell. I’m going to say Mell Charlo.
“Then check this out. You had Errol Spence, who had been out for a year and a half. He’s holding down three belts, including the IBF, and he doesn’t get stripped. But Terence holds the belt for six months if that. Are you kidding me?
“And there was never a mandatory defense for Spence to face one of these guys, including Boots Ennis? Man, they need to stop playing. Be fair across the board. I understand these sanctioning bodies. I get it. I get what you guys are trying to do, but be strict across the board.
“Not just have a selective few where you say, ‘Nah, we’re going to strip him, but he’s fine because he’s making us more money or whatever it is. We owe this person the pleasure of being head just let him hold the title.’
“That’s wrong, my friends. That’s the only problem I have with it. Yes, you’re right, Copp. I’ll give you this. Boots is well-deserving of a championship, and if Crawford wasn’t willing to face him, I understand why they had to strip him of his title.”
Spence isn’t a good comparison for Bradley to be using because his situation is much different than Crawford. Again, Errol’s ability to defend his titles was interrupted by two car crashes and a COVID outbreak, which slowed his ability to defend the IBF belt.
Obviously, the IBF gave Spence a break by not stripping him of his title. Spence had no control over COVID getting in the way of fights, and the second car crash wasn’t his fault.