By Scott Christ
Terence Crawford and Mikey Garcia are both top fighters in their primes, searching for a real challenge. Why not each other?
This past Saturday night, when Mikey Garcia soundly defeated Adrien Broner at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Showtime, we learned a few things.
First off, Mikey Garcia can fight at 140 pounds. That was a question going in. He’d never fought seriously over 135 pounds, and even then just once, and Broner, while not the superstar he or TV people imagined for years, is a good fighter, who was in good form.
Second, Mikey Garcia is, plainly put, one of the best, most skilled fighters in all of boxing, pound-for-pound. Period. It’s not about where you’d put him in your top five or top 10, just that he’s in that discussion. He deserves that.
At 29, Garcia is right in his prime. He’s won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight. He’s never been seriously challenged, really, in his pro career, the closest coming when Orlando Salido — who had been dropped four times — appeared to rally a bit before a headbutt injury stopped their fight in the eighth round back in 2013.
He’s dominated good fighters, Broner just the latest on the list. He is as technically sound and gifted as they come, really, an almost textbook example of good fighting form. He’s calm, cool, and collected in the ring. Mikey Garcia is a terrific boxer.
Right now, we’re coming up on Big Fight Season in the sport, with the Mayweather-McGregor farce on August 26, and the legitimate, big time fight between middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin on September 16.
More than the novelty of Mayweather-McGregor, and perhaps even more than Alvarez-Golovkin, you should be demanding another fight: Mikey Garcia vs Terence Crawford.
No, it won’t sell a million pay-per-views. It wouldn’t sell half or, most likely, even a quarter of that. This is not a fight I want to see because it helps my bottom line as a boxing blogger, not something I know will get us clicks on every bullshit post we have to vomit in your direction. It won’t ignite the sports world in debate, won’t be featured on First Take, more likely than not, won’t get “the casuals” all riled up.
Crawford vs Garcia would be a great fight because we’re talking about two of the sport’s top talents, both smack dab in the middle of their prime years.
Now, to be clear, I’ve got nothing against Canelo-GGG. It’s a fight I want and I’m glad it’s happening. But Golovkin is 35 and the fight should already have happened, quite frankly. He’s coming off of the least rousing performance of his career, a narrow win over Daniel Jacobs in March. Alvarez is coming off of a big win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr — big in that Oscar De La Hoya and company conned people into this “guaranteed war,” instead turning out a dreary sham of a non-fight with a washed-up wannabe top fighter playing his career-long role of “Julio Cesar Chavez’s son!” for perhaps the final notable time.
I should be even more excited about Canelo and Gennady, I suppose, but I’m not. I’m 7.5 out of 10 on the excitement scale. I could be higher. I just can’t shake the feeling that it should have happened a year ago, and would have been better if it had.
But even if you’re 10 out of 10, or you’re busting the scales you’re so pumped for that fight, you should still demand Crawford-Garcia. Why wouldn’t you?
Like Garcia, Terence Crawford has dominated good fighters. He’s never really been challenged. He’s a potential star in search of a rival, like Garcia has been. He’s got a fight on August 19, where he’ll attempt to fully unify the 140-pound division against fellow two-body titleholder Julius Indongo. Indongo is a good fighter, but almost nobody is giving him a shot, because Crawford has simply been that good. Is Indongo better than Viktor Postol, the guy Crawford beat with relative ease in 2016?
Probably not. And even if he is, he’d have to be a lot better to actually beat Crawford.
Like Garcia, Crawford is a strong technician, but seems a bit more dynamic of a fighter, at least on paper, at least to me. I’d love to see him match wits with Garcia, and I’d love to see both of them actually challenged by real competition. And if one of them dominated, that would say a ton for the winning fighter.
Crawford-Garcia is a fight I want to see not because it’s a guaranteed blockbuster or easy web traffic, but because it’s a great matchup, similar to last year’s first clash between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. It’s a fight at the highest level, something for fight fans to sink their teeth into.
That said, I know there are difficulties in potentially making this fight. Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank, with whom Garcia had a pretty long, rather ugly falling out, before he went to the Al Haymon camp.
And the fight not being a big blockbuster makes it harder for those sides to get together, probably, if there’s still bad blood between the Top Rank and Garcia camps. Why, if you’re Top Rank, would you risk one of your top fighters in a legitimate challenge against someone you’d rather not do business with in the first place?
But that’s for the promoter/manager/business types to wring their hands over and probably eventually shut down. Otherwise, the time is right, they’ll be on the same schedule for their next outings, and there’s probably nothing bigger or better for either of them available any time soon.
There are a lot of reasons it can’t or won’t happen. All I’m saying is that in a just, proper boxing world, where competition and glory came before politics and grudges, it absolutely should.
Source:: Bad Left Hook