Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol have agreed to terms on a junior welterweight unification bout scheduled for July 23 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on HBO PPV, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum confirmed with Yahoo Sports.
Crawford is perhaps one of the best young talents in all of boxing and currently holds the WBO light welterweight title. Sporting an unbeaten record of 28-0 (20 KOs), the 28-year-old product from Omaha, Neb., is coming off a scintillating fifth-round TKO of Hank Lundy in February. But his opponent is far from a pushover as the 5-foot-11 Postol is also unbeaten with an identical record of 28-0 (12 KOs) and is coming off an eyebrow-raising showcase in stopping the heavy-handed Lucas Matthysse in the 10th round back in October.
There are many inquiries by fans as to why this fight ended up being on pay-per-view instead of HBO considering that Crawford is still relatively new to the mainstream and Postol, despite his credentials, is still an unknown outside of boxing fans. But Arum explained that the recent budget cuts at HBO have limited how many fights the premium network can broadcast and made PPV a necessity.
“The reason the fight isn’t on HBO is because HBO has many fighters that they need to show and the best you’re going to do with any fighter is two fights a year on HBO,” Arum told Yahoo Sports. “We think that it’s important for these guys to fight more than two times a year, especially Crawford. And in order to do that you have to do a fight on PPV and two on HBO.”
Arum also has tempered expectations as to how well this fight will perform with a buying audience. He is anticipating the fight to “equal or exceed” 125,000 buys, which is not an outlandish number.
"We’re not crazy,” Arum said. “To build a pay-per-view attraction you have to start someplace. A guy doesn’t immediately do one million buys. You start relatively small and if they have an attraction to the general public it builds over time.”
In an effort to bolster the pay-per-view numbers, Arum has scheduled rising Mexican stars Gilberto Ramirez and Oscar Valdez for the undercard. Both fighters impressed on the undercard of Pacquiao-Bradley III last month with Valdez (19-0) blowing out Evgeny Gradovich in four rounds and Ramirez (34-0) claiming the WBO World Super Middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Arthur Abraham.
Also of note is that Arum assured Crawford’s recent legal issues would not affect the boxer’s ability to fight on July 23. The 28-year-old recently turned himself over to Omaha authorities after an incident at an auto shop and has a court date set for May. However, it appears that this will be cleared up well before the scheduled date.
“It’s more of a civil suit and he will pay damages,” Arum said. “It’s certainly not anything that will be serious or affect his availability.”