LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum respects Terence Crawford’s desire to secure the biggest payday possible during the twilight of the three-division champion’s Hall-of-Fame career.
The 92-year-old promoter nonetheless doesn’t give one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport much chance of upsetting Canelo Alvarez. Arum considers Crawford too small to beat Alvarez in a much-discussed 168-pound title fight Crawford clearly wants.
Guadalajara’s Alvarez already said he won’t fight Crawford at a weight lower than 168 pounds, which would require the undefeated, undisputed welterweight champion to move up 21 pounds for a chance to become boxing’s only fully unified champ in three divisions. Arum gives Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) more of a chance to beat Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) than he gave Jermell Charlo, who lost a one-sided decision to Alvarez on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, but Crawford’s former promoter thinks Alvarez would overpower him.
“I think Canelo wipes the floor with him,” Arum told a group of reporters and videographers recently at Top Rank’s gym. “I love Crawford. I told you [with] Crawford and Spence that Crawford would beat the hell out of him. But Canelo is a different proposition. I think it’s an interesting fight, but I think there’s only one winner.”
Alvarez, 33, is 8-0 (4 KOs) in fights contested at the super middleweight maximum of 168 pounds. He also won the WBO light heavyweight title by knocking out Russia’s Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round of their 12-round, 175-pound championship match in November 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Crawford, 36, has never boxed above the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. The Omaha, Nebraska native dominated Errol Spence Jr. (28-1, 22 KOs) in their welterweight title unification fight July 29 at T-Mobile Arena, yet Arum views the weight difference between him and Alvarez as entirely too much of a disadvantage for Crawford.
“Canelo is used to fighting at a particular level,” Arum said. “And I don’t think Terence can hurt Canelo, but Canelo can hurt Terence.”
An Alvarez-David Benavidez fight makes more competitive sense because Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) is a natural super middleweight who stands five inches taller than Alvarez.
Phoenix’s Benavidez must first defeat two-division champion Demetrius Andrade to remain in contention to land an Alvarez fight. Benavidez and Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) are expected to headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View main event November 25 at a venue to be determined in San Antonio.
Crawford is contractually obligated to an immediate rematch with Spence, though Crawford wants their second fight to be contested at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. Spence prefers to face Crawford at the junior middleweight maximum of 154 pounds, which Crawford welcomed during their post-fight press conference two months ago.
It is Crawford’s contractual right, though, to dictate the weight limit for their rematch. Spence probably would pass on another welterweight showdown with Crawford because it takes too much out of Spence physically to drain his body down to 147 pounds.
Crawford would make plenty of money even for an unnecessary rematch with Spence, which figures to be unappealing to the paying public because Crawford dropped Spence three times and stopped him in the ninth round. Though an undeniable underdog, Crawford would earn a career-high purse for taking a gigantic risk against Alvarez.
“As far as Crawford is concerned, at this point only one thing is important, and that’s the money,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “You can’t blame him. And you look around, who does Canelo have to fight? Crawford is probably the most attractive fight, commercially I’m saying. Even though he’s coming up three weight classes, people would have a lotta interest.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.