Negotiations have been dragging on for unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin to face secondary titlist Daniel Jacobs. On Tuesday, the camps pulled the plug on any hope of the fight to take place on the planned date of Dec. 10.
While they still hope to make a deal for the bout to be in early 2017, the absence of it on Dec. 10 left a gaping hole in HBO's fourth-quarter schedule, but it is one that unified junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford is all too happy to fill.
Once Golovkin-Jacobs was off the network's schedule, HBO was suddenly left with an available date and a seven-figure chunk of money that had been earmarked for the card. Crawford, who had wanted to fight three times this year, was scheduled for only two bouts because there were no available HBO dates or money left. Now he is likely to get his third bout of 2016.
Plans quickly went into motion once GGG-Jacobs was a no-go. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN on Thursday that he and HBO are working to put together a Crawford fight to take place Dec. 10.
"We're hoping to get it done and hoping to get a good opponent," Arum said. "We're working on Dec. 10 for Crawford, but we and HBO only want to do it if it's a significant fight."
Arum did not want to dive into the details on the opponent because there is no deal yet. It's typical for promoters to keep their desired opponent under wraps, because once the details are out, suddenly their price goes up when the opponent hears they are being considered.
Crawford's team and HBO would likely accept world titleholder Eduard Troyanovsky (25-0, 22 KOs), 36, of Russia, or Antonio Orozco (25-0, 16 KOs), 28, of San Diego. Orozco is one of Crawford's mandatory challengers and has previously appeared on HBO.
"We had a date on HBO in January, and they asked us if Crawford could move to December once they lost the Golovkin fight, and Crawford was OK with that," Arum said.
Arum said he hopes to put on the fight at the CenturyLink Center in Crawford's hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. The arena is already booked with a Creighton University men's basketball game on Dec. 10, but Arum said he is talking to the school about possibly moving the game to the following day in order to accommodate the fight.
"We'll see what happens. We're talking to them about trying to clear the date," Arum said. "If they can't do it, we'll have to look to see where else we can go, but Terence is a great draw in Omaha."
The 29-year-old Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs), who was the 2014 fighter of the year, vacated his lightweight world title in 2015 and moved up to junior welterweight. He knocked out Thomas Dulorme in the sixth round to win a vacant title.
Crawford has defended the title three times, including a dominant decision victory against Viktor Postol on July 23 in Las Vegas to unify two belts in fight between the boxers widely considered Nos. 1 and 2 in the weight division.
There was disappointment in the Crawford camp when it seemed as though he would not fight again this year, but now there is excitement for the potential Dec. 10 bout, according to Cameron Dunkin, Crawford's co-manager.
"He wants to fight," Dunkin said. "He down (in San Juan, Puerto Rico) for the WBO convention and he ran into (Top Rank vice president) Carl Moretti and said he is ready to go. So he wants to fight. Right now it's about getting an opponent and working out the money with everyone. Terence has never been a guy who doesn't want to fight."