Welterweight world titleholder Terence Crawford has been trying to land a fight with a big-name opponent and he just might get it for his next assignment, which is penciled in for March 23 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Top Rank, Crawford’s promoter, is negotiating the bout with Amir Khan, the former unified junior welterweight titlist and one of the biggest names in boxing.
“There have been discussions with Team Khan as well as an offer made and hopefully the fight can be put together,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN on Monday.
Top Rank has offered Khan more than $5 million and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN the fight would be the first Top Rank Boxing on ESPN pay-per-view card of the seven-year partnership between the promotional company and network.
“We made a proposal to Amir Khan and we will wait to hear back,” Arum said. “I would love to do the fight.”
Khan told the Daily Mail in his home country of England that he is very interested in the fight, even though if it is made it would mean he would not next face British rival and former welterweight titlist Kell Brook in a fight that is in advanced negotiations but hung up over weight issues.
“Fighting for a pound-for-pound title would be amazing,” Khan told the Daily Mail. “To win it would be even better, so I think I’m in a position where I can get that fight with the pound-for-pound champion at the moment. The Brook fight is always going to be there. It’s for no title, whereas I’m getting offered a world title and the pound-for-pound title. So why not?”
Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), 31, of Omaha, Nebraska, who has won world titles at lightweight and then became the undisputed junior welterweight world champion last year, moved up to welterweight in June and knocked out Jeff Horn in the ninth round of a one-sided fight to take his title. Crawford made his first defense on Oct. 13 in his hometown and knocked out then-undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr. in the 12th round of a one-sided fight.
Top Rank does not have a deep roster at welterweight and has also been in talks with former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo’s manager, Keith Connolly, about the fight — though Khan is a far bigger name. Brooklyn, New York’s Collazo (38-7, 20 KOs) has agreed to terms for the fight, but Crawford has not yet.
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), 31, routed Collazo in a lopsided unanimous decision in 2014. In 2016, Khan moved up in weight to challenge middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez at a catchweight of 155 pounds and got severely knocked out in the sixth round, after which Khan was out of the ring for 23 months. But he signed with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn — also Brook’s promoter — to help facilitate the match and 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 fight before fighting Brook in the spring as long as Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) wins his fight with Australia’s Michael Zerafa on Saturday in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. But now Saturday’s fight could mean little as it relates to a showdown with Khan if the fight with Crawford is made.
Although Hearn promotes Khan, he does not have his promotional rights should he fight in the United States, so Top Rank is negotiating the bout with Khan’s lawyer.