Crawford’s Future: Canelo Clash, Ennis Gamble, Or Tszyu Showdown?

Crawford’s Future: Canelo Clash, Ennis Gamble, Or Tszyu Showdown?

Terence Crawford has a big decision to make for his next fight to keep the momentum going from his ninth round knockout win over Errol Spence Jr. last year.

The highly rated pound-for-pound fighter Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) wants a chance to fight Canelo Alvarez next to receive similar money that he got for his fight with Spence Jr., but that doesn’t seem like it’s likely to happen for the Mexican star’s May 4th contest on Cinco de Mayo.

Canelo said a fight with Crawford isn’t in plans right now, which is understandable because the backlash he would receive for fighting another smaller guy after his last contest against 154-pounder Jermell Charlo would be enormous.

The more likely options for the 36-year-old Crawford’s next fight is Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, the IBF welterweight champion, and WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu.

With Crawford and his trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntrye already saying they’re not interested in fighting Boots, that narrows things down quite a bit to just Tszyu.

140-pounder Teofimo Lopez has been calling out Crawford lately, but for that fight to happen, Terence would need to negotiate with his old promoters, Top Rank, and work with them, and he’s probably not going to be eager to do that. Besides, Teofimo would likely want an absurd amount of money, and it would be beyond ridiculous to waste time negotiating with him.

The boxing experts Chris Algieri and Paulie Malignaggi believe a fight between Crawford and WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu is possible next. It’s one that could make Crawford money and enable him to capture his fourth-division world title.

Canelo: Financial Boon or Risky Leap?

“I don’t think Terence Crawford left Top Rank just to go back to work with Top Rank,” said boxing expert Paulie Malignaggi to ProBox TV when asked if he believes a fight between Crawford and Teofimo Lopez is possible.

“I don’t know that it [Crawford-Teofimo] would generate enough money. That’s why you hear Crawford talking about Canelo,” said Chris Algieri. “That would generate enough eyes and enough money behind it to where both guys would make a ton of money.”

There’s no chance that Crawford vs. Teofimo would generate the kind of PPV numbers to afford the likely $20 million purse that Teo would be asking for to make that fight happen.

Ennis: High Risk, High Reward?

“There would be a treasure trove of money for these guys to split,” said Malignaggi. “Terence doesn’t want to tangle with Ennis because the money is not there. Let’s be realistic. Yeah, that fight interests me, too, as far as a boxing standpoint.”

It’s not just the money that isn’t there for the Crawford-Ennis fight; Terence might also lose to the 26-year-old. That’s the real problem. Boots is young, strong, and skillful, and he works hard year-round. He’s not going on all these vacations, spending the loot that he makes, and he’s not 36.

Crawford is still holding out hope of getting the Canelo fight, so he’s not about to pull the trigger on a fight with Boots, especially it involves him potentially losing.

“Terence doesn’t want that fight and doesn’t feel he should take that fight because of the money involved, and I think Teofimo might fall in that same category,” said Algieri.

“I think pound-for-pound, he’s better and overall more skilled, but I think Canelo is too big,” said Malignaggi about his belief that undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is too big for Crawford, who has never fought above 147 before, and would need to move up 20 lbs without any feeling out period if that fight happens next.

“It wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong about Crawford. I thought Jeff Horn would be too big. He was a big 154-pounder, and I thought Crawford, being an ex-lightweight, would be able to hang, even if he were more skilled with a physical opponent, but I was wrong there.

“Now, you’re asking me to jump a couple of more weight classes again, and I don’t think Canelo can make 160. Otherwise, he’d still be fighting at 160. I think it’s too much of a weight jump. I think it would definitely reel in and fish in all the casual idiots, and they’d probably make it a bigger fight than it needs to be.

“I’d rather see Crawford in more interesting match-ups from a boxing perspective, and I don’t think Crawford and Canelo are interesting from a boxing perspective. I think it’s interesting from an idiot casual perspective, and being that I’m not an idiot casual like most people here,

“Remember this if we’re going to remember anything. Canelo has Morrell and Benavidez in his weight class, and if he goes and fights Crawford, it will look bad. If he fights Crawford, and I think that’s why he said it’s not in his plans, it would look bad when you’ve got Morrell and Benavidez in your weight class, who are flying right now and deserve a title shot,” said Malignaggi.

“I’m going to go on what Terence said on social media, and I think it was on X. ‘I might just go for one fight. Give the fans one more, and then call it a career.’ That seems more likely,” said Algieri.

Tszyu: Legacy-Boosting Voyage Down Under?

“I said on my podcast that this year, we’d see the end of Terence Crawford’s career and retire undefeated,” said Algieri. “I could see him, ‘You know what,’ doing one for the fans and taking a Boots Ennis fight, or I think the smarter move would be to go after Tim Tszyu.”

Is Tszyu the smarter move for Crawford? It’s a dangerous one because Tszyu hits harder than anyone Crawford has fought, and he’s not likely to be fighting with a hidden injury or weight drained like his last opponent Errol Spence.

“As good as Tim is, and obviously, he’s bigger at 154. He does have a title, and he hasn’t seen that kind of stage or star in front of him yet,” said Algieri. “So, I think Terence has an opportunity there, based not only on his amazing skills but his experience. He’d have the advantage over a guy like Tim Tszyu.

“If he goes up to 154 and wins against the undefeated Tim Tszyu, He hands him his first loss and then walks off into the sunset; I don’t know how much more you could do with that. What is his fourth weight class? His fourth weight class being a world champion.

“Two of them undisputed unified. That is another feather in the cap that’s running out of holes. The guy has done so much in his career. What else can he do? It’s almost like he’s being pushed out of the sport at this point because he can’t get these big fights. He can’t get the fights that he wants.

“I think the Tim Tszyu fight. That’s the one I’ve been calling for a little bit, and I think it makes sense for a lot of different reasons. Unfortunately, he might have to travel. Go over to Australia and make a little bit more money.

“That one, aside from it being a smart move, in terms of Terence’s point in terms of his legacy, it’s a fight that interests me. I think Tim is really good. I like that fight, but who knows?” said Algieri.

Crawford: Captain of His Own Ship?

“At this point, Terence is the captain of his own ship and can do a lot of what he wants to do, but he’s being blocked from a lot of passages at this point. I’m not sure where he’s going to go, but for me, I like the Tim Tszyu route,” said Algieri about Crawford.

Terence shouldn’t waste too much time waiting for Canelo. If the Mexican star was interested in fighting, he would have already reached out, but it hasn’t happened. That’s a hint right there that Canelo has someone else in mind to share the ring with on May 4th, and it’s likely to be Jaime Munguia, the soft target.

“It’s my favorite fight out of the bunch because Tszyu is the biggest name of the guys being mentioned besides Canelo,” said Malignaiggi about him liking Tszyu for Crawford. “He’s got an entire country, an entire continent behind him, and he’s a son of a legend, and he’s getting better himself.

“He may be a little raw in some ways, but he’s also a guy that has been so dominant that he mandates continual step-ups. There’s probably more upside in it for Tszyu than there is for Crawford because Tszyu is young [age 29].

“Well, he’s not super young, but he’s young enough in his career, and a win over Crawford would elevate him to superstardom with plenty of years in front of him. While Crawford is already a superstar towards the end of his career.

“If Crawford beats Tszyu, it’s something extra special too because he won a title at 154 lbs, but it’s also almost expected, even if that’s sort of the standard that Crawford is at. Not to downplay Tszyu, but that’s the standard that Crawford has set,” said Malignaggi.

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