By: Sean Crose
Well, it was fun while it lasted. After defeating Errol Spence in grand fashion this past summer, Nebraska native Terence Crawford was able to savor the fruits of his success knowing that he was undisputed welterweight champion of the world. In a boxing scene scattered and often chaotic, Crawford had proven that a single fighter could indeed rule atop the heap of his division, completely uncontested. Again, it was fun while it lasted. On Thursday news broke that the IBF, one of the four major boxing organizations in operation, stripped Crawford of it’s belt. What that means is Crawford now only holds three of the four available world titles. In other words, the poor guy is no longer undisputed.
Perhaps that’s not that big a deal to Crawford, however. According to IBF rules (and, to its credit, the IBF actually adheres to its own rules – an oddity in contemporary boxing) Crawford needed to have a bout in place between himself and his mandatory IBF contender. The fight wasn’t made or effectively put in motion in a timely manner, and so the IBF removed it’s belt from around Crawford’s waist. Yet it’s being argued Crawford couldn’t face his IBF mandatory because he is contractually obligated to fight Spence next in a rematch. It’s also being argued that perhaps Crawford has no interest in the IBF belt as he may be moving up to junior middleweight in order to square off against Spence again.
In truth, the 40-0 Crawford is one of the few practitioners of the fight game who doesn’t need titles to prove his worth to the public. Many, if not most, analysts have the 36 year old ranked as the best pound for pound fighter in the world at the moment. Although a second fight with Spence isn’t leaving fans frothing at the mouth thanks to the first match being so one sided, the fighter called Bud is still guaranteed to make a nice payday for himself.
As for the IBF title, it now belongs to red hot up and comer Jaron “Boots” Ennis, a man largely seen as being one of the faces of the sport’s future. Young, undefeated, and with a flashy, fan accessible ring style, Ennis has been the interim IBF welterweight champion. Now he’s earned a world title without having to fight for it. Ennis isn’t some hack who happened to stumble into some good fortune, however. He appears game to face anyone at the moment – perhaps even Crawford or Spence themselves. Whether he’d win or not, however, is another matter.
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