- Talks are underway for a super-fight involving two top-tier American boxers.
- Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford could headline a Premier Boxing Champions event in November.
- If alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan inserted himself in negotiations, it would scupper a deal.
LAS VEGAS — Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford’s teams are in talks about a massive pay-per-view boxing fight.
If such a match materialized, it would be the most significant welterweight contest since Floyd Mayweather Jr. outclassed Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
It would bring together two of the best American fighters in all of boxing, with Spence’s WBA, WBC, and IBF world championships, as well as 34-year-old Crawford’s WBO title, available for the eventual winner.
“Everybody knows who I want next,” said Spence, 32, to Showtime Sports after he finished Yordenis Ugas in the 10th round of a welterweight title unification at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on April 16.
“I want Terence Crawford next,” added Spence. “That’s the fight I want. That’s the fight everybody else wants.”
ESPN was first to report the likelihood of the bout, noting an October date in Las Vegas meant the fighters involved were “closing in on a deal.”
However, Insider understands the event isn’t actually that close.
An Insider source with knowledge of the situation told us an October pay-per-view isn’t in play because that month’s sporting calendar is too congested. Baseball’s world series takes place in October, for example.
November is likelier if the match were to proceed.
There is a potential hindrance to the bout working out, though
A roadblock to smooth negotiations involves Crawford’s management situation, a source claimed.
It is unclear if boxing executive Daniel Kinahan is advising Crawford.
Insider reported last year that Dubai-based Kinahan, the alleged figurehead of a $1.1 billion drugs and weapons cartel, was growing his influence on the sport in America.
Kinahan has never been charged with a crime. There is no suggestion Crawford is linked to criminality. Insider requested comment from Kinahan’s representatives regarding Crawford but did not receive an immediate response.
In an interview with The Irish Mirror in 2021, Top Rank CEO and founder Bob Arum said Kinahan had been advising Crawford.
For years, the 44-year-old Kinahan wielded a great amount of influence in boxing as an advisor, manager, and even a promoter of events.
His background, though, is wildly controversial because the High Court in Ireland heard allegations he is the figurehead of a cartel that specializes in execution-style murders, as Insider detailed in 2020.
Earlier this year, the US government sanctioned Kinahan for his alleged role in large-scale cocaine trafficking, according to a damning new report in April.
It is now illegal for a US bank, financial institution, or company to do business with Kinahan or other sanctioned figures.
The US then offered $5 million for information leading to the financial disruption, arrest, or conviction of Kinahan.
Police in Ireland said at a press conference attended by law enforcement agencies around the world that anyone in boxing who continues to deal with Kinahan is “involved in a criminal network.”
Kinahan is ‘a potential problem’ for one of the biggest bouts in boxing
The lucrative Spence vs. Crawford fight would be broadcast as a Premier Boxing Champions event on the premium network Showtime Sports.
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime Sports president, told Fight Hype in April that he was “optimistic” in an undisputed welterweight fight involving Crawford could take place.
However, he stressed if Crawford remained advised by Kinahan in a post-sanctions era, then it “could be” an obstacle if Kinahan tried to insert himself into negotiations for a US fight on US soil involving US athletes and US companies.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of concern in the highest levels of government about Daniel Kinahan and where his business is,” Espinoza told the prominent YouTube channel.
“It is a potential problem,” he said, for the fight getting made.