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HomeEntertainment NewsDream to reality: Canelo and Crawford edge closer together | Boxing News

Dream to reality: Canelo and Crawford edge closer together | Boxing News

AT first, it seemed like a pipe dream. Sounding ridiculous on the surface and still only slightly less ridiculous when inspected in greater detail.

That’s usually the case until Turki Alalshikh gets involved by disclosing his interest in a fight, then putting one-half of it on his own promotion (August 3, when Riyadh Season packs its bags and relocates to LA). Then, all of a sudden, as financial obstacles crumble like sandcastles in a lapping tide, it all becomes gobsmackingly plausible and even probable. 

Terence Crawford, who weighed in at a prim 137 pounds for his 2008 pro debut; fighting Canelo, who weighed in at 139 pounds for his own 2005 pro debut. 

They have blossomed and grown over the years, increasing in size and significance. The timelines may overlap in some weird universe, but Crawford is now filling out like the man he is supposed to face.

They’re both technically still undisputed champions. Just about hanging on to some of the belts as the gleaming leather is mercilessly ripped from waists by sanctioning bodies who want their pawned-out silverware back in the shop window and available to lesser beings.

After defeating Errol Spence Jr and thus completing his undisputed conquering of the welterweight division, Crawford has merrily sat on the titles, assessing his future options—until now. 

Ever since it was announced that he would move up to challenge WBA super-welterweight title holder Israil Madrimov in the BMO Stadium, the 147-pounders have been excitedly scurrying below deck, waiting to pick up Crawford’s crumbs as they fall.

Jaron Ennis has already scooped up the IBF version. Brian Norman Jr and Giovani Santillan boxed for the interim WBO version while Crawford made up his mind on that and also the WBC crown. 

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez with his belts following a September 17 win against Gennadiy Golovkin in their trilogy fight (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

To add to the tangled web that has enveloped both Crawford and Canelo, Mario Barrios beat Fabian Maidana to win the WBC Interim welterweight title on the recent Canelo undercard. Eimantas Stanionis, who defeated Gabriel Maestre on that same card, holds a version of the WBA belt(s).

Speaking of Canelo, he is dealing with undisputed issues of his own. Joining Stanionis and Barrios on the May 4 supporting portion was a certain William Scull. The German-based Cuban defeated Sean Hemphill over eight rounds in a sweetener slot as Scull marched forward to claim his crack at Canelo’s IBF belt. 

Even though Scull is not a sexy name in the grand scheme of things, he has earned his chance and the IBF ordered Canelo’s people and Scull’s people to put their collective heads together and thrash out a deal to fight. 

To nobody’s surprise, Canelo was reportedly on the verge of vacating the title, leaving it free for Scull to fight the next available contender (Vladimir Shishkin) and effectively end Canelo’s reign as the undisputed king at super-middleweight.

That would have reopened the chances of a future Crawford clash, should ‘Bud’ find a way past Madrimov unscathed. All very neat and tidy until Canelo revealed that he had yet to make up his mind and might consider a clash with Scull after all. 

Like a magnet in the middle, drawing Canelo down the weights and Crawford up, Amir Khan has been on the receiving end of each fighter’s wrath. Amir had barely taken time to sample his name in the Las Vegas lights when Canelo put his lights out in 2016.

The Crawford loss, in 2019, was slightly more nuanced when Amir struggled to make an imprint on the contest before a low blow deemed him unfit to continue, handing the win to Crawford in a fairly unsatisfactory manner. Amir hung around long enough to know exactly what the Nebraskan brings to the table. Even with that insider knowledge, taking Canelo’s bombs is another matter entirely.

Amir Khan

Amir Khan boxed Terence Crawford in his last fight Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

“I wouldn’t want Crawford to go into a hard fight like that because, at the end of the day, the guy is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He’s an amazing fighter. Why does he [Crawford] need to give away so much weight? And I know what it’s like giving away so much weight. It’s not worth it,” cautioned Khan.

Referencing Crawford’s achievements, his family and the fact that he, like Canelo, is getting older, Khan appeared reluctant to endorse the weight jump. That said, the financial motivations, for a man who has fought his whole career for cash and respect, could be too much to turn down.

“If he’s getting paid big money, then why not? When I fought him, I got paid just around 10 million. And I was thinking, might as well, because the way I looked at it was I’m fighting a bigger guy and yeah, there’s a lot of risk to it, but at the same time, more than the risk, I normally would have to fight three or four times to make that kind of money. 

“That’s three hard training camps. That’s three times taking punches as punishment. That’s three times being away from your family and your kids. So, you know, it’s hard,” added Khan, weighing up the pros and cons to Boxing News.

“So maybe just do it for that one big paycheck and call it a day. Which I don’t blame him for doing as well. But like I said, you have to respect weight divisions.”

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