The proposed welterweight unification boxing match between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford is reportedly "in jeopardy" because of unresolved contract issues.
ESPN's Mike Coppinger reported the update Friday, noting that, at minimum, the title fight will be moved from its expected Nov. 19 date:
Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger
The Errol Spence-Terence Crawford undisputed welterweight championship fight is in jeopardy due to lingering contract issues, sources tell ESPN, and if the fight does take place, it won’t be Nov. 19. Details on the issues at 5 p.m. ET with <a href="https://twitter.com/maxkellerman?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@maxkellerman</a> on ESPN2 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SpenceCrawford?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SpenceCrawford</a> <a href="https://t.co/jsCg5ME85y">pic.twitter.com/jsCg5ME85y</a>
Rumors about a long-awaited agreement for a showdown between Spence and Crawford date back to early June, when Coppinger reported the sides were "closing in" on a deal.
There was silence on the fight for awhile until mid-September when Jake Donovan of Boxing Scene noted the camps had agreed to "terms in principle" for the Nov. 19 bout.
Now it appears a setback in negotiations has put the matchup on hold once again.
While it's unclear exactly what's holding up the contract talks, it would be a disappointing turn of events for boxing if the welterweights superstars don't step in the ring together in the near future.
Spence—the WBC, IBC and WBA Super welterweight champion—is 28-0 with 22 knockouts. He's coming off a 10th-round TKO against Yordenis Ugas in April.
Crawford—the WBO welterweight champion—stands at 38-0 with 29 knockouts. His most recent triumph was a 10th-round TKO of Shawn Porter last November.
They've each worked their way through most of the division's contenders and there isn't anything available that would generate nearly as much attention as a head-to-head battle.
In addition, waiting too long to face off could yield similar disappointment to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao matchup in 2015, which fell well short of expectation. It would have been more intriguing if they'd fought four or five years earlier.
Unfortunately, it's been nearly four months since the first word of a possible agreement and there's still no finalized contract in place, so it's hard to predict where the situation goes from here.
All boxing fans can do is hope the sides can sense the interest in the fight and figure out a way to get the deal done rather than begin the search for different opponents.