By: Hans Themistode
WBO Welterweight title holder Terence Crawford has been a professional boxer for 12 years now. He’s managed to win world titles in three different weight classes and is universally considered one of, if not the very best in the world pound-for-pound.
Yet, with everything that Crawford has achieved in the ring, his boxing resume is amongst the weakest, regardless of weight class.
The competition of Crawford is always in question but don’t pin any of the blame on him. Simply put, some of the very best fighters in the world aren’t exactly in a rush to step foot inside the ring with him. Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) has spent the vast majority of his career calling to face the best but no has answered the call.
Crawford has repeatedly claimed that his lack of a big name opponent hasn’t been frustrating. If no one of note decides to face him, then he will simply continue to dominate whomever they place in front of him.
Frustration hasn’t hit Crawford just yet, but it does seem that it has affected his promoter Bob Arum. Although he has reached out to just about everyone about matching his star fighter with a big name opponent, it seems as though Arum has decided to go in another direction.
Paying attention to every sport is extremely difficult. Yet, even the most dedicated fans of boxing, football or even tennis who don’t pay attention to the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) knows one name. Conor McGregor.
On January 18th, the MMA superstar made quick work of Donald Cerrone in their contest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor of course, loss his first and only boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August of 2017. McGregor’s now looking for redemption against Mayweather. If he can’t secure that contest, then he is reportedly very much interested in a matchup against eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Bob Arum on the other hand, has another idea in mind. How about McGregor turn his attention to Crawford. In the case of both Mayweather and Pacquiao, McGregor would be forced to face them in the boxing ring.
In a bout with Crawford however, Arum wants to see his star face McGregor in the boxing ring and in the octagon.
“You’ve got an elite boxer in Terence Crawford fighting an elite MMA guy in Conor McGregor under MMA rules,” said Arum. “You don’t think that would be interesting and something the public would want to see? I think it’s very realistic. Whenever they are ready, we are ready,” Arum said, referring to UFC president Dana White and McGregor. “We’d do the MMA fight first if that’s what they want.”
Dangerous? Also yes.
Crazy? Hell yes.
Crawford is a great fighter. Maybe even the best in the world but MMA is a completely different animal. The story is always the same when it comes down to these crossover matchups. If it takes place in the boxing ring then the boxer will win. If it’s done inside of the octagon, then the MMA fighter will take home the victory.
That might be the right away to think about those scenarios normally, but Crawford is anything but normal.
“I’m a fighter first,” Crawford said. “As a fighter, I would entertain it. I just have to have the proper time to prepare myself. It would be a little more than boxing training. I haven’t been in that [wrestling] environment in a long time, but most definitely I feel I can compete with anyone given the proper time to train on the MMA side, being that I have a wrestling background. McGregor would have worry about my stand-up game as well. It would be interesting. He’s got good kicks and he’s strong. I’d have to prepare myself for those things, but I feel I would be all right. A lot of people may say if Terence goes into the Octagon, he will get crushed, but they don’t know me.”
A fight with McGregor would gift Crawford with more money than he can count but that isn’t on the mind of Crawford. The sort of attention that a fight with McGregor could bring the Welterweight champ is what he desires. If no one else wants to fight him then it’s time to get creative.
“I can’t get none of these top welterweights in the ring to fight me, so whatever is clever,” said Crawford. “I’m with it all.”
If this mega event actually does take place, the obvious outcome should be that Crawford wins in the boxing match and McGregor would take home the victory in the MMA matchup. But, according to Arum, McGregor certainly has no shot in the ring but you shouldn’t sleep on Crawford in the octagon.
“Fighting Crawford would be great for McGregor because he has no chance in a boxing match, except to pick up a check,” Arum said. “In an MMA match, he would be the favorite, but Crawford would have a chance because he’s one tough dude and because he has a wrestling background. I think that Crawford is the one boxer that can compete with an elite MMA guy under MMA rules. We’d do two fights so we can level the playing field by fighting in both disciplines. Mayweather and Pacquiao would never fight under MMA rules. Crawford would.”