Terence Crawford has been chasing career-defining fights for several years.
Now that the WBO welterweight champion is a free agent, he’s pounding the table for a potential murderers’ row of foes.
Chief atop the pound-for-pound star’s hit list is a much-desired super fight against unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
"I'm going straight into it. I don't want no tuneup fights. I don't want nothing. I wanna go straight into [the Spence fight],” Crawford told ESPN’s Mike Coppinger.
"I'm free to do whatever I want. There's nothing standing in the way from us fighting. There's no promotion company that's blocking it, there's no wrong side of the street, there's no nothing. Let's see who the best welterweight in the world is.
"Now everybody's saying that Errol's back and he's 100% ready. So now is the perfect time for me and him to fight. He called me out [after he beat Yordenis Ugas in April], so it ain't no backing up.”
Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) has been campaigning at 147 pounds ever since 2018, the same division Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) has exclusively fought ever since turning pro in 2012.
Crawford, 34, is a three-division champion and a former undisputed crownholder at 140, but the WBC, WBA, and IBF champion Spence, 32, has been far ahead of Crawford’s resume with the caliber of opponents he’s beaten, including Kell Brook, Lamont Peterson, Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Yordenis Ugas.
Crawford is coming off back-to-back stoppage wins against Porter in November and Brook in November 2020.
The Nebraska native Crawford believes the Spence fight has been marinating just perfectly all these years.
"Definitely it's bigger now, there's a lot at stake. Undisputed on the line, that's bigger than the fight that was going to happen [between us] in the past. This will be my second undisputed title in two different weight classes. That's never been done before in the history of boxing, so I'm looking forward to that as well,” said Crawford.
"The way we can get this fight done is them sending me an offer and we look at the offer and sit down at the table and we discuss what's needed from both sides -- Team Spence, Team Crawford -- and we get the fight done like that. My team is just waiting on them to get in touch with us and make this fight happen.
"It's time to happen. The time is now for undisputed. ... I just think this is a fight where I can display my skills and my talent to the fullest. I think Spence is a great fighter and I think being in the ring with another great fighter will bring greatness out of me."
If Crawford and Spence finally clash, it will be for all of the marbles at 147 pounds, and the winner will likely move up to the super welterweight division soon after in a long-awaited move they’ve both hinted at.
Crawford is already calling his shots at 154 pounds as well.
"I'm f------ up [Jermell] Charlo," he said. "Put that in there. After I beat Spence, I'm moving up and I'm f------ up Charlo. End quote."
The WBA, WBC, and IBF champion Charlo will fight the WBO titlist Brian Castaño on May 14 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. in a rematch for the 154-pound undisputed championship. Their first fight in July ended in a split draw.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.