Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium would be perfect for Crawford-Spence

In this day and age, megabouts are created on social media, and there’s been plenty of chatter of a welterweight showdown between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence.

The Crawford-Spence seed was planted after Crawford’s sensational performance in his welterweight debut June 9 in a ninth-round technical knockout over Jeff Horn at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. A week later, Spence proved again why he’s the baddest 147-pounder after knocking out Carlos Ocampo with a body shot in the first round.

Boxing Twitter is salivating at the thought of these two fighting. But there’s one problem, actually a big one in boxing. They’re on different sides of the street.

Crawford is signed to Bob Arum’s Las Vegas-based promotional company, Top Rank, which televises its cards on ESPN. Spence is advised by Al Haymon and mainly fights on Showtime with Premier Boxing Champions, also based in Las Vegas.

Arum and Haymon don’t work well together. But Arum said he can see this dream bout coming to fruition in 2019.

“When that time comes, I’m sure I’ll sit down with Haymon and we’ll make the match,” Arum said. “Hopefully, I think, if everybody is sensible and the fighters fight frequently, we can do it within one year.”

A year seems like a long shot with Spence having many options to fight top welterweights on Showtime, such as Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Also, this super fight needs time to marinate, build hype, while both fighters become household names.

Two years sounds about right. And if both fighters are promoted properly, why not have it at the new domed Raiders stadium in the summer of 2020 when the venue in Las Vegas is scheduled to open?

The clash between the two Americans would be the perfect way to open the state-of-the-art facility in the fight capital of the world.

Have the fight in the middle of July during NBA Summer League. LeBron James could sit ringside next to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

“That’s certainly a possibility,” Arum said of having the fight at the Las Vegas stadium. “I would love to do that, but again, I’m looking more to the immediate future, like a year from now. T-Mobile Arena is a great venue.

“But if it has to be two years, that’s great also.”

Of the two fighting, Arum said: “Leonard-Hearns, baby! That’s what’s it’s going to be.”

We can only hope it would be as good as that 1981 welterweight classic. But for now, here are possible opponents for Spence and Crawford in the next two years before they would meet.

Spence’s road

Jessie Vargas, in Brooklyn, New York, December

Mikey Garcia could be in the mix here, but let’s hope Garcia realizes this is a bad matchup. The size difference might be too much, and Garcia should focus on a fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko. Spence has expressed interest in facing Vargas, a Las Vegas native.

Danny Garcia, in Brooklyn, April

This is assuming Garcia beats Porter later this year. It also requires Garcia wanting to fight Spence. He has an easy excuse to say he prefers a rematch with Thurman. Let’s hope Garcia or even Porter decides to take the challenge against Spence.

Keith Thurman, in Las Vegas, December 2019

This would be the battle of the best welterweights in the loaded PBC stable. Here’s hoping Thurman has stayed healthy and returned to peak form.

Crawford’s road

Jose Benavidez, in Omaha, Nebraska, October

Arum has Oct. 13 saved for Crawford’s next fight in his hometown of Omaha. All signs point to Crawford facing Benavidez, a welterweight contender signed to Top Rank. He might fare better than Horn did, but expect Crawford to dominate.

Amir Khan, in New York City, April

Hopefully this could be Manny Pacquiao, but Arum has made it clear the Filipino senator wants no part of Crawford. Crawford needs a known opponent to give him more attention, and Khan fits the bill.

Mystery opponent, in Omaha, August 2019

This could be a stay-busy fight for Crawford. It might be tough for Top Rank to find a quality opponent, because most of the top 147-pounders are with Haymon.

Shawn Porter, in Las Vegas, February 2020

Porter could be looking for another title shot if he loses to Garcia. This would mean Haymon signing off on Porter fighting on ESPN. A big positive if Top Rank and PBC can do business. Crawford gets more exposure against a quality opponent. A win for both sides to build Crawford-Spence hype.

Contact Gilbert Manzano at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GManzano24 on Twitter.

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