The WBO has ordered welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford to defend against #1 Alexis ‘Lex’ Rocha next and they have 20 days to bang out a deal before a purse bid is scheduled to take place.
If Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) will defend in the WBO-ordered fight against the Golden Boy-promoted Rocha (22-1, 14 KOs), we should know soon. It’s still unknown if negotiations are secretly taking place between the 35-year-old Crawford and IBF, WBA & WBC 147-lb champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence.
If the Spence-Crawford negotiations aren’t taking place, Crawford will defend against the 25-year-old Rocha next in a fight that will likely be as one-sided as the Nebraska native’s last defense against David Avanesyan last December.
While Rocha has a higher ranking and a better ranking than Avanesyan, his resume is as weak as they come. Rocha’s best career wins have come against these fighters:
Luis Alberto Veron
Rocha did step it up once against a welterweight contender Rashidi Ellis and lost a 12 round unanimous decision in October 2020. Since that defeat, Rocha has returned to fighting the middle-of-the-road opposition that he’d built the majority of his resume on.
He’s won his last six fights, but again, his opposition has been weak. It’s unclear why Golden Boy didn’t put Rocha in with anyone good after his loss to Ellis, but it doesn’t matter.
He’s getting his mandated title shot now against Crawford unless he fights Spence next. If so, Rocha will fight the winner for the WBO belt.
In Rocha’s last fight, he stopped 38-year-old light welterweight George Ashie (33-6-1, 25 KOs) in the seventh round on January 28th at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California.
Interestingly, Rocha didn’t need to fight in a World Boxing Organization title eliminator for him to get this shot at the WBO belt held by Crawford. The previous WBO mandatory, Vergil Ortiz Jr, chose to fight WBA secondary welterweight champion Eimantas Stanionis rather than stick around and challenge champ Crawford and likely get beaten.
Rocha has the power and the youth to give the aging 35-year-old Crawford massive problems and possibly stop him, but his lack of defense will likely be his undoing against the counter-punching switch hitter from Nebraska.
Of course, when you get an older fighter who only fights on an annual basis like Crawford, there’s always a possibility that he could get old overnight.
In looking at Crawford’s last fight against Avanesyan, he looked visibly slower than he’d been in the past, and he was getting hit with shots that he wasn’t getting hit with four years earlier in 2018.