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Terence Crawford says he wants to go “straight into” fight with Errol Spence next

LAS VEGAS — Terence Crawford told ESPN he’ll be “surprised” if he doesn’t strike a deal to fight Errol Spence Jr. in 2022 for the undisputed welterweight championship.

Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) and Spence have been circling around each other for years as fans have lobbied for the matchup. Now that Crawford is a promotional free agent after he parted ways with Top Rank, he said he sees no roadblock that could prevent a deal for the super fight.

Crawford is even open to a multifight deal with PBC, an organization that rarely does business with Top Rank and manages virtually all of the top 147-pounders in the world.

“I’m free to do whatever I want,” Crawford said. “There’s nothing standing in the way from us fighting. There’s no promotion company that’s blocking it, there’s no wrong side of the street, there’s no nothing. Let’s see who the best welterweight in the world is.”

Following Spence’s return from detached retina surgery two weeks ago, a 10th-round TKO victory over Yordenis Ugas that captured a third welterweight title, Crawford believes the fight is bigger than ever.

Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) was slated to fight Manny Pacquiao in August but withdrew from the bout when it was discovered he required immediate surgery. It was the second major setback of Spence’s career. But just as he did in December 2020 when he returned from a lengthy hospital stay following a serious car accident, Spence impressed in dominant fashion.

“Now everybody’s saying that Errol’s back and he’s 100% ready. So now is the perfect time for me and him to fight,” Crawford said. “He called me out, so it ain’t no backing up.

“Definitely it’s bigger now, there’s a lot at stake. Undisputed on the line, that’s bigger than the fight that was going to happen [between us] in the past. This will be my second undisputed title in two different weight classes [140 pounds is the other]. That’s never been done before in the history of boxing, so I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Crawford, ESPN’s No. 2 pound-for-pound boxer, is coming off a career-best victory, a 10th-round TKO of Shawn Porter in the fifth defense of his welterweight title (Spence defeated Porter via split decision in 2019.)

Even though Spence, 32, just fought two weeks ago, Crawford said he has no plans to compete before a meeting with Spence.

“I’m going straight into it,” said Crawford, a 34-year-old native of Omaha, Nebraska. “I don’t want no tune-up fights. I don’t want anything. I want to go straight into it.”

He added: “The way we can get this fight done is them sending me an offer and we look at the offer and sit down at the table and we discuss what’s needed from both sides — Team Spence, Team Crawford — and we get the fight done like that. My team is just waiting on them to get in touch with us and make this fight happen.”

Boxing’s failure to deliver a fight between the world’s two best welterweights has been a constant source of frustration for the sport’s fans. It appears to be a fait accompli the matchup will materialize later this year, but this is boxing after all. Even the most logical fights often don’t come together for a multitude of reasons that defy logic and business sense.

But now that Crawford is no longer aligned with Top Rank, there’s no promotional or network divide to conquer, nor is there any suitable opponent for either boxer after Spence collected Ugas’ title.

“I want Terence Crawford,” Spence, ESPN’s No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer, said after he defeated Ugas. “That’s the fight that I want. That’s the fight everybody else wants. … I’m going to get these straps then go over there and take his from him too. Terence, I’m coming for that belt!”

Said Crawford: “It’s time to happen. The time is now for undisputed. … I just think is a fight where I can display my skills and my talent to the fullest. I think Spence is a great fighter and I think being in the ring with another great fighter will bring greatness out of me.”

The winner of the matchup would leave no doubt regarding the best boxer in one of the sport’s most talent-laden weight classes, but in Crawford’s mind, would also determine the pound-for-pound No. 1 boxer.

And he already knows whom he wants to fight after Spence.

“I’m f—ing up Charlo,” he said. “Put that in there. After I beat Spence, I’m moving up and I’m f—ing up Charlo. End quote.”

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