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THE TSS Q ‘n A: Referee Kenny Bayless

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Referees in sports are there to protect the athletes and a byproduct of that objective is that sometimes the quest to protect the participants disappoints the fans. You might not like it and they don’t do it intentionally, but it’s the referee’s job to, especially in boxing, protect the fighters from themselves.

If a boxing referee thinks we have seen enough of a fight, then we’ve seen enough. The concept to stop a fight is simple but the process can be complicated. There are levels to this game, as they say. And there are levels to the art of refereeing. Referees are caretakers of boxing, present to protect what is in the best interest of the fighters’ health and life longevity.

My conversation with Las Vegas-based referee Kenny Bayless teaches us about the referee instincts. “It’s a trigger in us, “ Kenny Bayless told me about the moment when deciding a fight should be halted. “If we see that he has had enough and that trigger goes off, you just don’t pull back from it.”

Bayless went to school in the Bay Area at Cal State Hayward and moved to Vegas in 1972 to teach health and physical education, not to referee.

Today, he is one of the most respected referees in boxing. Fighters are supposed to protect themselves at all time. But he explains how referees are there at times to protect the fighters from themselves, or their egos. And when referees draw attention to themself, make a sound, deduct points or God forbid stop a fight before the bloodthirsty mob is satisfied, then they become the bad guy, the focus of fans’ ire.Bayless tells how he got started in the referee profession, explains the art of movement and verbal command, and enlightens us about ways to read a fighters’ body language in the ring. Bayless also discusses some of the most memorable fights he was involved in, including Floyd Mayweather/Shane Mosley, Amir Khan/Danny Garcia, and Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez IV.

Ray Markarian: What made you want to become a referee?

Kenny Bayless: It’s interesting because I was actually recruited to come to Vegas because they were lacking African-American teachers in the area. But I learned real fast that there were not many African-Americans in the area of sports in Las Vegas. You see Ray, I grew up in the Bay Area where we have the Oakland Raiders, the 49ers, the Giants, and Oakland Athletics. When I moved to Vegas they had no professional sports. The only sports teams to follow in Vegas were the UNLV Runnin Rebels and boxing.

RM: So, you went to Vegas to become a teacher? But how did you become involved in boxing?

KB: Well, I went to many boxing events but it wasn’t until I went to the Muhammad Ali (versus Jerry Quarry) fight at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 1972. That’s what kind of intrigued me to say hey, I want to get more involved. So, I got involved in the amateur program as a judge. And, I continued to go to the Golden Gloves. And my brother Kermit was going to the Golden Gloves with me at the time. So basically what I would do is, I would judge the amateur fights, but when I went to the professional shows, I would score the professional shows and compare it to the professional judges to see how well I did.

RM: That’s smart.

KB: Then, one of the judges that I was comparing my notes with said, ‘You’re in pretty good shape, why don’t become a referee?’

RM: OK.

KB: My first response was no, but then I just gave it a try.

RM: Right.

KB: So, I started watching referees a little bit more when I went to the shows. Richard Steele happened to come to town from Southern California. I asked him to show me the art of refereeing. He took me down to one of the local amateur gyms and I started working out with him and some of the amateur fighters. And that’s how I got started.

RM: I see. So, what were some of things that you would look for in referees? What makes a good referee?

KB: Well, movement is one of the most important things. There has to be a lot of movement. Every once in a while you’ll see a referee get in the way of the fighters but they get out of the way quick because the movement is always consistent. You can’t stay in a particular spot. You can slow it down or speed it up but the referee is always moving. That’s one of the things I would focus on. And the next thing is verbal command. Referees have to verbally command what they expect a fighter to do, especially if there are any fouls during a course of a fight.

RM: I always notice your eyes in a fight. You make great eye contact. And you seem to talk with your eyes to the fighters. You always look the fighters directly in their eyes to make a point. Is that something you’ve trained on?

KB: Well, I am very explicit. And it’s amazing that you ask that question Ray because I like to express myself to the fighters. I want to let them know that this is the real deal. I want to let them know if I am giving them a soft warning or a hard warning. I don’t want the problem to continue to happen because it could be a situation where I start deducting points. And, there have been some photos taken of my eyes that look funny. I can laugh about it now, but when I look at the pictures, the look I am giving is very explicit. And I hope the fighters understand that I want to correct any problem and I don’t want it to continue.

RM: I hear you. So, how much different is it to watch a fight from the outside of the ring than it is from the inside?

KB: It’s a big difference. As a spectator you see things at certain angles. Your viewpoint depends on the movement of the fighters.

RM: Yeah.

KB: For referees, it’s often said that we have the best seat in the house because we can move to see what’s going on. We don’t sit in one place. We move to see. So, watching the fight inside the ring is completely different. The fans don’t get to move like we get to move.

RM: That’s true.

KB: So, it is important for me to get in the right position so I can make the right call. Our movement is the key factor. There might be a time or two where we might get out of position, that’s just being human, but 99% of time we’re right there seeing everything.

RM: So, if you’re not moving you’re not doing your job. Is that fair to say?

KB: Well, movement works to our favor. See, I’m a former track athlete. I used to run the 400. So, I take a lot of pride in my reaction and my ability to move around the ring because it helps me be in position at the right time and it plays to my advantage. And I always make note of that to the referees coming up, I work out just like the fighters work out.

RM: Really?

KB: Yes. I get on the treadmill and do leg presses to be the best at what I do in the ring. I want to be just as fit for what I do as the fighters are for what they do.

RM: Do you care personally about the fighters when you referee a fight?

KB: Oh, by all means. This is a combat sport and safety is my number one priority. And concussions are a big issue. At the seminar I recently went to in California we learned how to pick up signals for concussions and serious injury. The boxing fan is there to get entertained. And when we have to stop a fight before the fans are thrilled enough then the referee becomes the bad guy.

RM: The fans always want more action and the referee protects the fighters.

KB: Yes. And sometimes we stop a fight before reaching the crescendo that the fans want.

RM: What are some of the things you look for when a fighter is in trouble?

KB: Well, you look at body chemistry. When a fighter is sitting down on his punches before, he might be pushing his punches now. We also look at his eyes. The fighter’s eyes can become very glassy and it is hard for anyone else to see that if they are not in the ring. We as referees really get a chance to observe a fighter in between rounds. We have the option to get into his corner and ask a question or two, look at his body chemistry, also look at how he responds to us and to his trainer. We can also ask the fight doctor to take a look.

RM: What kind of questions do you ask the fighters in the corners?

KB: Well, sometimes before I get to the corner, the fight doctor is there before me asking questions and examining the fighter. And the doctor will step back and give me an assessment before the bell rings for the next round. The doctor will say something like ‘Hey, keep a close eye on this guy. He might be taking a little too much.’ Or he might just say ‘The fighter is OK.’ So, before that bell rings I already know what I am focused on.

RM: OK. Here is a question. How do you know when to stop a fight? Let’s say the fighter is in trouble and in the middle of the round and there is no way out, how do you know when to stop it?

KB: Well, if I get the opportunity between the round to talk to the fighter, if the fighter is just taking too many shots, I go to his corner and say ‘Look, I’m going to protect you. If you want to continue fighting, you’re going to have to show me something.’ So, if he comes out and takes more punishment, I am going to stop the fight. But if he comes out and shows some defense and boxing ability I will let it go. But we have to always stick to safety first.

RM: So, is there any fight that you worked in the past that still bothers you today? Is there any fight that you maybe stopped too soon or let it go too long?

KB: No. That has never gone through my mind. See, I have been involved in fights where fighters have passed. And you never want to be in a situation where you are questioning yourself.

RM: OK.

KB: And I would rather stop a fight sooner than later.

RM: I hear you.

KB: As a matter of fact, I have been involved in three fights* where a fighter has passed. And each circumstance was different. But I have no regret that I let it go too long because I stopped it when I felt the fighter had enough. Unfortunately there were other circumstances that were involved such as the cerebral hematoma and the fighter has passed.

RM: Yeah.

KB: But no. To answer your question, I have never gone back and thought that I should have stopped a fight sooner. It’s a trigger in us, Ray. If we see that he has had enough and that trigger goes off, you just don’t pull back from it.

RM: Yeah. Well, it is really unfortunate that you were involved in such traumatic fights. But it must have taken you a long time to perfect the instinct to stop a fight.

KB: Yes. What a lot of people don’t know is that I feel like the third man in the ring every time I watch a fight on television. I put myself in the situation. So, when certain things are happening when I watch a fight on TV, I officiate it from home. And nine times out of ten, if that referee is on his A game, we will almost come to the same conclusion at the same time.

RM: OK.

KB: We continually train ourselves. And I don’t just do it for boxing. When I watch a football game and see pass interference, I am trying to call it. I want to make sure I am sharp in what I see. Because in boxing, we don’t have the luxury of calling timeout and looking at a replay. In boxing, we have to call it how we say it.

RM: Yep.

KB: So, we have to train our eyes for what we see. Now, is it possibly for us to miss something here and there? Well, sure it is. We are only human. But I want to be 99% right. It’s just about training our eyes to what we see. So when we see it we call it.

RM: Right… Two big fights that stand out to me that you did recently are Mayweather/Mosley and Amir Khan/Danny Garcia. Can you tell me about round 2 of Mayweather/Mosley? What did you think when Mayweather got in trouble?

KB: Well, I’ll tell you, when Mosley caught Mayweather with a good shot, I think it was a right hand, he followed it up with a second right hand.

RM: Yeah.

KB: When I saw it that early in the fight I was like ‘Oh, boy.’ I was not expecting that. You know, I thought the action was going to pick up in the middle rounds. I was just thinking about their style of fighting. But when Mosley hurt Mayweather my first response was ‘Oh boy, it is picking up a lot sooner than what I thought.’ But then Mayweather took control of the fight from that point.

RM: So, you didn’t have any feelings about stopping the fight?

KB: No. The thought never even crossed my mind. Although Mayweather was hurt, he grabbed and held, but his eyes were still clear and he recovered very fast.

RM: OK. Then what about Khan/Garcia? Amir Khan said he was OK. But you still stopped it.

KB: That was a situation where the referee has to protect the fighter.

RM: Yeah.

KB: Amir Khan got up from the first knockdown in a bad situation. And like you said, I asked him if he was OK and if he can continue and he said yes. And, it was towards the end of the round so I was giving him the opportunity to finish the round. So, now he gets a minute rest. But then he goes back out and goes down again. I give him another opportunity. And then he goes down again. So, then after the third knockdown I was just looking at his movement and he just didn’t have it. He just didn’t. He could have went down maybe four or five more times but there was just no point in letting it go. The punches were accumulating. So for his safety I just stopped the fight.

RM: OK. I respect your opinion. And I think you did the right thing.

KB: Thank you.

RM: Hey, what did you think of Tony Weeks’ decision to stop the Canelo/Angulo fight?

KB: “I agree with Tony’s decision to stop the fight. I think it was a good decision. Safety is always the first and most important concern. Angulo was taking a lot of shots. And sometimes we have to protect the fighters from themselves. I went to a referee seminar about six weeks ago with Jack Reiss and Big John McCarthy and we were discussing how fighters get concussions while they are still fighting. Most people don’t realize that fighters can also get concussions standing up. No matter what, most of the fighters are going to fight through it because they have heart. But that is part of the reason why we have doctors in each corner. So, to answer your question, I do agree with Tony’s decision to stop the fight.

RM: What is your favorite type of fight to watch?

KB: Well, I tell people that boxers are entertaining us. They are showing how well their skills match up against their opponent. I don’t like to get into who my favorite fighter is. I don’t root for one side or another because of my position. I don’t have a favorite fighter or a favorite type of fight. I just want both fighters to enter the ring and exit the ring under their own power.

RM: What is the best fight you’ve refereed?

KB: Shucks, there’s been a lot Ray. The third Barrera and Morales was a good one.

RM: Oh, that was a good one.

KB: It was a war of a fight. I did Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

RM: Oh, you did the first one?

KB: I did the first one. It was a war. Mayweather/De la Hoya was a good highly competitive fight. That’s what people want. When Pacquiao fought Morales. When Pacquiao fought Cotto. When Pacquiao fought Marquez, I did the second fight and the fourth fight. And both of those fights were incredible. In the fourth fight, Marquez knocked Pacquiao down in the third round and Pacquiao knocked Marquez down in the fifth round.

RM: Right.

KB: At the end of the fifth round it was one of the scenarios that I explained to you earlier. I go over to Marquez’s corner and the fight doctor is looking at Marquez because it appeared he had a broken nose and he was bleeding out of both nostrils. He had a really good working out from Pacquiao. So, I am waiting to see what the doctor says and he tells me to let the fight continue. Then the next round, Marquez knocks Pacquiao out cold.

RM: Yep. That’s crazy.

KB: That was a good fight. So, I have been in my share. I can tell you that.

RM: You just reminded me of the Floyd Mayweather/Victor Ortiz fight. When Joe Cortez looked away from the action for a second and Mayweather clocked Ortiz. Can you give me your opinion on that?

KB: Yep. We talk about that fight at the referee seminars. There was not really much that Joe Cortez can do. You know, before the start of each fight we tell the fighters to protect yourself at all times. And when Ortiz intentionally head-butted Mayweather, Joe Cortez stopped it. Then Ortiz apologized immediately. And then Joe was putting Mayweather in the neutral corner and Victor Ortiz went over and apologized to him a third time. So, after Joe put Ortiz in the neutral corner and deducted a point he apologized a fourth time. Well, how many more times are you going to apologize? Then when the action began, and Mayweather understanding the rules that you have to protect yourself at all times said hey, if you don’t protect yourself, here we go. Again, there was not a lot Joe could do in that situation. Yeah, it is sad the fight ended that way but there was nothing Joe could do about it.

RM: Well, I appreciate your time Kenny. Is there anything else you would like to get off your chest?

KB: Well, the boxing judges take a pretty hard hit when they score a fight. The sports announcers make comments about how there could possibly be a fix. Personally I don’t think they should be hard on the judges because anybody can have a bad day at the office. When people say the fight is fixed it taints the sport. People start making accusations that officials are paid under the table and it’s very far from the truth.

RM: Thanks for letting me know. It is refreshing to hear that from an official.

KB: Well Ray, we officials love our sport. We do everything we can to be fair for our sport. Taking money under the table is outrageous as far as I’m concerned. I want the fans to know that we are not on the take. You know, I am a big 49ers fan and I didn’t like some of the calls that went against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Like I said, I have made mistakes before. It does not mean I am on the take. I just made a mistake just like any human being can make.

*=1st fight9/26/1997 James Crayton vs. Johnny Montantes at Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, NV: The Minnesotan Montantes passed away two days later. He was 28 years old. His record was 28-4 with 22 KOs.

2nd fight06/22/2002 Fernando Montiel vs. Pedro Alcazar at MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the WBO super flyweight title: The Panamanian Alcazar passed away two days later. He was 26 years old. His record was 25-1 with 14 KOs.

3rd fight07/01/2005 Martin Sanchez vs. Rustam Nugaev at Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas, NV: The Mexican Sanchez passed away the following day. He was 26 years old. His record was 13-8 with 10 KOs.

You can email Ray at Raymond.Markarian@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter here @raymarkarian

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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