Should Terence Crawford move up to welterweight?
By Hector Franco
August 18, 2016
For most of 2016 fans have wondered if Terence Crawford will step into the ring this year with Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao and his promoter Top Rank had different plans for this year and chose to fight Timothy Bradley in April and now Jessie Vargas this upcoming November. With a Crawford-Pacquiao fight now out of boxing fans minds until 2017; Terence Crawford’s career seems to be in limbo.
Earlier this month Crawford got into a back and forth twitter altercation with WBC welterweight champion, Danny Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs). Garcia’s trainer and father, Angel Garcia, in an interview, threw some insults towards Crawford and HBO’s way. A fight between the two fighters would bring much anticipation with hardcore boxing fans. The question is, is it time for Crawford to move up to welterweight?
After Crawford’s win over Viktor Postol (28-1, 12 KOs) he became the unified WBC and WBO 140-pound champion. He is now considered the best at 140 and one of the ten best fighters in the world pound-for-pound. Looking at the rest of the division there isn’t much left waiting for Crawford at 140. The idea of winning all the major titles in the division would be a hard sell for Crawford looking at who the titleholders are currently. The current WBA champion at 140 is Ricky Burns (40-5-1, 14 KOs). Fans may remember that in 2014, Crawford defeated Burns handily over in the U.K. for the WBO lightweight title. A rematch isn’t a fight fans want to see and the outcome would be no different.
The other titleholder in the division is IBF champion, Eduard Troyanovksy (24-0, 21 KOs). The Russian has a good record but is relatively unknown with little to no backing behind him. There isn’t any demand for Crawford to face Troyanovsky at this time. If nothing else presents itself in the division for the rest of the year a fight with Troyanovsky would be acceptable as a homecoming fight for Crawford in his native Omaha, Nebraska.
The only big fight available for Crawford at 140 is with the enigmatic, Adrien Broner (32-2, 24 KOs). In Broner's last two fights; he competed for the WBA 140-pound title against Ashley Theophane and Khabib Allakhverdiev. Broner looked good and back to old form in these two fights but he lost his title on the scale against Theophane as he failed to make the 140-pound weight limit. When Broner returns to the ring he could come back at either 147 or 140. At 140, or at a catch weight a fight with Adrien Broner for Terence Crawford could be big at the box office. Both men are still in their prime and the Cincinnati native knows how to sell a fight with his mouth. Crawford-Broner if made would be one of the biggest fights of 2016.
The truth is the bigger fights and paychecks are waiting for Crawford at welterweight. Taking a look at the top ten in the division provides Crawford stiffer challenges inside the ring. Besides a fight with Danny Garcia, there are also fights with other champions in the division such as Keith Thurman. Former champions like Shawn Porter and longtime friend Timothy Bradley would be great fights for Crawford and fans alike. With Crawford showing the willingness in the past to travel over to the U.K., fights with Kell Brook and Amir Khan could be big business if they return to the welterweight division. It would be a huge risk for Crawford, but a fight with Errol Spence would be highly anticipated. The most obvious choice for Crawford in moving up to welterweight is the Pacquiao-Vargas winner.
It’s been less than two years since Crawford invaded the 140-pound division. It’s time for him to move on to bigger fights. There has been much debate lately about who belongs in the pound-for-pound top ten. If Crawford moves up to welterweight and does what he did at 135 and 140, there won’t be much to debate. To be great, Crawford will have to move up in weight.
(Featured Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank)