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Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford: Why Teddy Atlas believes super fight will never happen

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Joseph Herron Updated
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On a recent episode of DAZN's "Ak and Barak Show", current WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford aired his disgust over the possibility of never facing IBF/WBC champ Errol Spence in a highly anticipated unification bout.
 
“I don’t know, to be honest,” when asked if he would fight Spence for a 50/50 purse split on Sirius XM Radio.  “I’m past that...I’ve been calling for them fights since I was at 140 pounds.”
 
“If you go all the way back, since before I was undisputed, before I even had a welterweight fight,  I was calling out Keith Thurman and Errol Spence...all of those guys.  Once I moved up, everyone said, ‘get a belt’.  I got a belt in my first fight at Welterweight...not a tune up, no nothing, my first fight at Welterweight.”
 
“Then they say, ‘I’m on the wrong side of the street’.  I’m not about to be playing these games where they say, ‘oh, we’ll fight you when we want to fight you on our terms’.”
 
“It doesn’t work like that with me.  Either we’re going to fight, and that’s that...if not, that’s that, and it’s cool.  I’m comfortable where I’m at right now.”
 
Teddy Atlas not only understands TC's frustration, he whole-heartedly agrees with the undefeated P4P fighter.  
 
"You're never going to get Spence vs. Crawford," exclaimed Teddy Atlas on his weekly podcast. 
 
When asked why, Teddy gave his candid and emphatic opinion on "who's to blame".
 
"The greedy promoters, that's why!  The greedy promoters want to have options and want to control their fighters.  They don't want to take a chance that their guy's going to lose, and they want to keep their deal with the network.  Part of their deal with the network is that they have 'that guy', and they don't want to lose 'that guy' because they want to keep getting paid by the network!"
 
Upon reviewing recent events in boxing, It's hard to argue with the veteran fight trainer.
 
Is it any coincidence that PBC's Al Haymon was discussing a potential unification match with Crawford's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, Inc, while working out the deal for Wilder vs. Fury 2 in 2019, but had a sudden change of heart after Haymon's top earner, Deontay Wilder, suffered a demoralizing and career crippling defeat?
 
Since experiencing the devastating, one-sided TKO loss at the hands of the Top Rank fighter in February of 2020, Wilder has not only been inactive, but doesn't seem to have any big money prospects on the horizon.  And while being on the sidelines, Wilder's stock has plummeted, citing every delusional excuse known to man as to why he was embarrassed in his return match with Tyson Fury.
 
As a result, many interested observers have doubts about Deontay Wilder's future in the sport.  At age 35, many experts believe fans may have seen the last of Deontay Wilder in any meaningful and lucrative fights.
 
Some have also stated that Haymon seemingly has no plans to stage inter-promotional match-ups from this point forward, and views a fight between Spence and Crawford as "more risk than reward" while Bud remains fighting under the Top Rank promotional banner.
 
Are promoters keeping the best match-ups from becoming a reality out of fear of losing their investment or cash cow?
 
Atlas further shared his thoughts on the promotional "end game" and ultimate goal...and it isn't improving the overall health of the sport, or making the best fights possible.
 
"They don't care about the fans," Teddy stated with furious fervor.  "They don't care about you or what you think!  They'll put a good fight on when it comes down the pike, but going out there and putting on the best fights consistently; that's going to make the sport better and healthier...that's going to make it like the UFC?  NO!"
 
The 64 year old coach believes the sport of boxing is too fragmented to fix, and that "too many cooks have spoiled the soup".  
 
"The UFC can do it, because they have one guy running it, and he cares about the health of the sport because it's to his benefit."
 
"But the few power-brokers of boxing, the ones who have the deals with the networks, they only care about their little piece of turf.  That's all they care about. They could give two craps about the rest of the property that belongs to boxing.  They only care about their property and keeping that healthy!"
 
When boxing was much healthier, and boasted a much wider, more mainstream audience, networks like HBO and Showtime featured executives who would often hold a promoter's feet to the proverbial fire, demanding the best match-ups for their investment dollars.  Men like Lou DiBella and Ken Hershman would regularly refuse to purchase fights that didn't appeal to the real bosses of boxing: the paying customers and die-hard fans of the sport. 
 
Atlas claims that networks no longer have anyone in charge of "quality control", and merely cut promoters a blank check to spend at their discretion.
 
"And some of these stupid network executives, they don't even realize they've been turned into farm clubs...yeah, farm clubs! TV dates have become growing fields so promoters can cultivate their fighters and continue to have a cottage industry to keep making money. Every once in a while they'll put their undefeated guy in a fight with the lowest risk possible, unless a once in a generation fight comes along that makes everyone money like Pacquiao/Mayweather!"
 
"But other than that, the promoters just use these TV dates as a farm system to build up their guys, putting them in subpar match-ups.  And these networks merely sit back, unaware of what they're actually paying for."
 
Is Teddy Atlas correct in his assessment? Is boxing too fragmented to repair?  Is Terence Crawford justified in giving up on the most anticipated domestic fight ever taking place?
 
With fighters trading more jabs on social media than in the squared circle, it's hard to refute the experienced trainer's opinion.

 

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