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TERENCE CRAWFORD: WHAT'S NEXT?

By Paul Magno | August 04, 2023
TERENCE CRAWFORD: WHAT'S NEXT?

The boxing world is cold. We were barely hours removed from Terence Crawford’s virtuoso destruction of Errol Spence Jr. when the topic shifted from the conquest to “the next.”

So, yeah, let’s go there, too. 

Crawford, now with all four welterweight belts and riding high on a surge of career momentum, has a few viable options. And if the pay-per-view numbers are as good as some expect, he’ll finally have the leverage to pick and choose the battles that make the most sense for him. 

Let’s take a look at what’s out there for “Bud.”

A Spence Rematch

Nobody but, maybe, a nest egg-minded Terence Crawford, should be enthused about the possibility of Errol Spence exercising his rematch clause. This loss was beyond comprehensive and, if conventional boxing wisdom holds true, the rematch would deliver the same result, only more decisively. That’s a scary thought. Clearly, Crawford has Spence tactically deciphered. Immediately running this fight back, even with seven more pounds on their frames, would be a pointless (and painful) endeavor. Maybe a couple fights down the line, at a higher weight and with Spence making some fundamental changes to his game, the rematch could be revisited. But if Saturday’s pay-per-view turns out to be a financial success, expect the idea of a rematch to gain almost irresistible traction. 

Jaron “Boots” Ennis

Ennis is just entering his physical prime as a soon-to-be 36-year-old Crawford is easing out of it. By all indications, the 26-year-old is the heir to the welterweight throne and an emerging “next big thing” superstar, but would he have what it takes to beat a savvy, tough, and still-physically elite Crawford? It’s fairly unlikely we get that answer, though, since the stars don’t seem to be aligning for a Crawford-Ennis clash anytime soon. For Crawford, there’s the possibility of a Spence rematch and the pull of becoming a unified four-belt champ in a third division with a move up to 154. With so much money and so many trinkets out there, it’s tough seeing even a hardcore competitor like “Bud” wanting what will amount to a pay cut for the big-time challenge of a young, hungry “Boots.” Crawford-Ennis is not out of the question, but it’s probably in a firm third place among all possible options.

Jermell Charlo

Charlo has a big fight two divisions higher against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September and it has yet to be determined whether he’ll be able to keep his four junior middleweight belts while he makes a run at the four super middleweight belts. But, if he loses to Alvarez and is allowed to keep his titles at 154, Charlo could be meeting Crawford for unified champ status at junior middleweight at some point in the first quarter of 2024. That’s a lot of “ifs,” though. Given the obvious bad blood between the two and the boost that would give to its salability, a Crawford-Charlo bout is likely to take place at some point, even if some, one, or none of the junior middleweight belts are on the line.

Tim Tszyu

The second generation Australian star is riding a wave of positive publicity and he currently holds the interim WBO junior middleweight title. If unified champ Jermell Charlo is done at 154 and Tszyu is elevated to full champ status, Crawford targeting Tszyu makes a lot of sense.

Keith Thurman/Yordenis Ugas

This is probably the least compelling of the available options, but Thurman and Ugas-- despite trending downward as viable top-level contenders-- both make respectable opponents should Ennis, Charlo, and a run at 154 in general fail to materialize. If the rumored Thurman vs. Ugas bout happens later this year, Crawford could face the winner early next year. Again, however, this is last resort stuff.

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