Terence Crawford, Amir Khan fight close to being finalized, Bob Arum says

Boxing


A deal for a fight between welterweight world titleholder and pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford and Amir Khan is close to being finalized, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN on Tuesday night.

“Everything looks good,” Arum said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to make an announcement next week. It’s not done until it’s done, but I’m very optimistic.”

Both fighters are on board and the paperwork is being finalized for a fight that would take place on April 20 and headline an ESPN pay-per-view card, the first of the seven-year deal the network has with Top Rank. The price of the pay-per-view card “ain’t gonna be $75,” Arum said, taking a swipe at the steep price point of many recent pay-per-view events. He said the likely suggested retail price would be $59.95.

Crawford has been ticketed to fight at Madison Square Garden in New York, but Arum said the bout could take place in Las Vegas at one of the MGM Resorts International-owned arenas — T-Mobile Arena, the MGM Grand Garden Arena or the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

“New York or Las Vegas — those are the two spots we are talking about. It’s a big fight and Khan and Crawford have lot of people fly to their fights,” Arum said. “They both have good fan bases, and that’s what a place like Las Vegas looks for — customers to come in and fill the hotel rooms. A place like Madison Square Garden looks to fill the seats and doesn’t care about filling hotel rooms. Wherever, I am very optimistic the fight is going to happen.”

The fight would give Crawford, a three-division world champion and No. 2 on the ESPN.com pound-for-pound list, his highest-profile opponent to date. For Khan, a former unified junior welterweight world titleholder and longtime welterweight contender, it would be an opportunity to again fight for a world title and make at least $5 million.

Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), 31, of Omaha, Nebraska, vacated the undisputed junior welterweight world title and moved up to welterweight, where he knocked out Jeff Horn in the ninth round of a one-sided fight to win a title in his third weight class on June 9. Crawford made his first defense by one-sided 12th-round knockout of Jose Benavidez on Oct. 13.

But neither of the opponents were major names, and while Top Rank has a loaded stable of fighters, it has no top welterweight contenders for Crawford to fight. So Arum went after Khan, who is promoted by Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn in his native United Kingdom but is not bound to a promoter for any fights he would do in the United States.

Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), 32, of England, is finalizing the fight with Crawford at the expense of what would be a more lucrative bout with British rival and former welterweight titlist Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs). That fight has been discussed for years, and Hearn was close to putting it together for the spring; but Khan decided to take Top Rank up on its offer, perhaps believing that whether or not he beats Crawford, the fight with Brook will still be there in the future.

In 2016, Khan moved up in weight to challenge middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez at a catch weight of 155 pounds and got severely knocked out in the sixth round, after which Khan was out of the ring for 23 months. But Khan signed with Hearn — also Brook’s promoter — supposedly to help facilitate the match that has yet to happen. Khan returned in April for a first-round knockout of Phil Lo Greco, followed by a near-shutout decision over Samuel Vargas, who dropped Khan in the second round, on Sept. 8.

The win over Vargas was supposed to be Khan’s final tuneup bout before fighting Brook, but instead, Khan likely will face Crawford next.



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