WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford's TKO in the fourth round from Kell Brook on Saturday night was impressive. The problem is, people who didn't have him number 1 in the world before the fight probably won't get him there.
And there's really nothing he can do about it because it's out of his hands.
MORE: Crawford says he wants Pacquiao next
The 33-year-old champion improved with 28 KOs as a professional when stopping Brook to 37-0. Although he disposed of Brook faster than Gennadiy Golovkin (fifth round) and welterweight rival Errol Spence Jr. (11th round), the Skeptics say he defeated an opponent who was little more than damaged goods.
This is unfortunate, as Brook remains an incredibly skilled fighter who has been stopped by an opponent who is superior in almost every way. But in the world of boxing, which you've been doing for me lately, there is simply nothing Crawford can do right now to improve his status. The only thing he can hope for is that Canelo Alvarez – who many believe is the best fighter for pounds in the sport – will go wrong once he decides to return to the ring.
It really shouldn't be like that for Crawford. The 147-pound division is gushing with competition. If it's not the uniform champion Spence, it's former champions Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, and Danny Garcia. Of course, there's Manny Pacquiao, too, but he probably represents a big-money fight rather than one he could possibly lose to Crawford. However, the fact remains that the five names mentioned are better than Brook, Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, and Amir Khan.
Crawford really has nothing more to do under the umbrella of Top Rank advertising. Now it is up to Bob Arum to get the fights Crawford wants or to let him go. The latter is highly unlikely as Arum just can't watch one of the best fighters in the world leave his stable. Given he's previously done business with Premier Boxing Champions, the promotional outfit of Spence, Porter, Thurman and Garcia, getting Crawford up for the big pay-per-view event really shouldn't be that difficult he deserves.
And he undoubtedly deserves the opportunity, because that's the only thing that prevents him from sitting on the mountain as the best fighter in the world.
It's not that Crawford has a weight class problem preventing him from battling the sport's biggest names. Porter, Spence, Garcia, and Thurman all made their way up the fictional pound-for-pound rankings at some point, and they're all in the same department as Crawford. It really shouldn't be that difficult to fight. Situations like this can ruin boxing.
Casual and hardcore boxing fans are not interested in boxing politics. When asked during his post-fight interview who he would fight next, Crawford looked to Arum to answer the questions. It wasn't because he didn't want to answer; It's because he's relatively powerless in these negotiations. All he can do is say who he wants to fight, and then it's up to Arum and the competing promoter to negotiate the terms. And if PBC has tried to keep all of the money in the same house, they will run out of options once Spence takes on Garcia on December 5th. With the exception of Spence versus Thurman, all four fought each other.
Sooner or later the best fighter in the world has to be determined. And to be clear, Crawford is currently considered better than any of PBC's world weights. Why shouldn't the sport finally sort that out and have an undisputed champion?
Boxing is silly this way. Politics often comes before fistfighting; Debating over who should be the A side can prevent a fight. But Arum and Al Haymons PBC have done good business before. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fought two lucrative fights and everyone seemed happy when all was said and done.
The main talk at ESPN on Saturday was that Crawford's career is "running out of time". Sure, he's only 33, but most fighters at his level don't fight more than twice a year, which doesn't leave them much room to sit around and wait. More than enough time has been lost due to COVID-19 and boxing needs marquee fights.
Canelo has the best portfolio of names haunting him in all of boxing. Crawford desperately needs its own marquee name to push it over the edge. He's already set for the Boxing Hall of Fame and already believes he's the best in the world. The only thing left is to prove it.
There is no reason for this not to happen. Unless these promoters just want boxing to dig its own grave and bury itself after a self-inflicted wound.
Crawford versus any top welterweight is best for boxing and it has to happen.
Not now, but now.