Is Terence Crawford Set To Fight In Saudi Arabia? Turki Alalshikh Drops Big Hint

April 18, 2024
1 month
Terence Crawford has not fought since beating Errol Spence last July

Speculation is mounting that Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is being lined up for a fight in Saudi Arabia after the country’s boxing organiser Turki Alalshikh posted a photo of the unified welterweight world champion on social media.

Crawford (40-0-0 31 KO) surged to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings last summer when he dismantled then WBO champion Errol Spence Jr over nine one-sided rounds to become the undisputed king at 147lbs.

It established the American as arguably the finest fighter on the planet, but he has since been strangely inactive. The fight was last July and with no bouts announced, Crawford is likely to go a full year without stepping into a ring.

The dilemma Crawford has faced is that his stature within boxing means he should be able to command the sort of money the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Anthony Joshua make – in essence, north of $20 million per bout.

However, there just aren’t the superstar names around the welterweight division to provide the demand where those figures would make economic sense in terms of pay-per-view buys, gate receipts, and sponsorship.

Crawford Struggling To Secure Paydays

None of those factors are obstacles for Saudi Arabia, though, as the wealthy Arab nation continues to invest billions of dollars in sport and entertainment. Of all the sports the country has poured money into, boxing has been the main focus, with Alalshikh leading the operation.

The chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority is the man behind all the big fights taking place in Riyadh, including four Anthony Joshua bouts and the upcoming undisputed heavyweight world title fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

Two weeks after that in Riyadh, Artur Beterbiev and Dimitry Bivol will finally meet in an undisputed bout for the light-heavyweight world titles, headlining an event preceded by the Matchroom Boxing vs Queensberry Promotions 5-vs-5 card.

So when Alalshikh posted a photo of Crawford to his Instagram stories on Wednesday, the conclusions boxing fans drew were inevitable.

Crawford has been struggling to secure the payday he desires in the United States, but that won’t be a problem if he fights in Saudi. Additionally, Alalshikh is only interested in putting on mega-bouts, so if ‘Bud’ is to fight in the Arab nation, then it is sure to be against a star name.

Alalshikh ‘The Face Of Boxing’

There had been talk about three-weight world champion Crawford stepping up again to meet undisputed super-middleweight king Canelo at catchweight, but the Mexican has signed on to fight WBO mandatory challenger Jaime Munguia.

Should Bud make his Saudi debut, Alalshikh will be determined to match him with the best possible opponent. That could be against Manny Pacquiao, who is reportedly keen to face Crawford having come back out of retirement. While that feels like a one-sided contest – considering Pacquiao is now 45 years old – the Filipino great is still a massive name who generates significant interest.

Alalshikh has been bold and ambitious from the outset, making clear his ambitions to turn Saudi Arabia into a fight capital to rival Las Vegas and New York. He was recently named by the British newspaper The Independent as the most influential man in boxing, while famed trainer turned analyst Teddy Atlas believes he is the face of the entire sport.

“If you’re going to get down to the reality of it, is Canelo the face of boxing? Is Fury the face of boxing? No. Turki Alalshikh is the face of boxing because he’s making all these cards possible,” Atlas said.