By the their rules, which are always negotiable and contradicted when it suits the boxing organizations, the IBF moved forward late last weekend and stripped undisputed welterweight champ Terence Crawford of their world title.
This means that unbeaten top contender and interim title holder Jaron “Boots” Ennis now how has their title… or will have it mailed to him soon.
So, why after the first four belt title win a welterweight ever, when Crawford demolished Errol Spence by TKO on pay per view in July, did this happen just 90 days or so later.
We explored that question on the latest “Fight Freaks Unite Recap Podcast,” as insider Dan Rafael joined me with his insight. You can hear us by pressing play below,
In their letter to Crawford, 40-0, 31 KOs, the IBF stated clearly that he knew he had to schedule a defense with the interim champ Ennis instead of Spence, however, those two are still trying to negotiate a rematch during the contracted time frame of their original deal.
Here’s a portion of that from Rafael’s reporting/substack,
“Negotiations were to be concluded by September 24. On September 22, the IBF received an email from (attorney) Harrison Whitman representing Crawford indicating that the agreement for the Spence v. Crawford bout contains an immediate rematch provision which Errol Spence has exercised. As such, Terrence Crawford is unable to engage in negotiations with Jaron Ennis.”
The IBF then cited its Rule 3.B related to “return bouts.”
The rule states: No contract for a championship contest shall contain any clause or any provision whatsoever guaranteeing or in any way assuring or promising either contestant a return championship contest where such clause or provision interferes with the mandatory defense of a title.
“Based on the forgoing, the IBF has withdrawn recognition of Terence Crawford as the IBF welterweight world champion,” the IBF said.
The IBF has done this on other occasions, including stripping future hall of famer Canelo Alvarez in July of 2019 for not defending against their mandatory contender.
Ennis is worthy of being champ
Ennis, 31-0, 28 KOs,, 26, of Philadelphia, cruised to a shutout unanimous decision over Karen Chukhadzhian to claim the vacant interim title back in January. The Philly southpaw defended with a 10th round TKO of Roiman Villa back on July 8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The intriguing complication and something that makes the IBF decision seemingly more rash and premature is the belief is that Spence doesn’t want to rematch Crawford at 147 lbs. This is due to the Texan having massive issues making the weight and with how bad Crawford beat him up that weight.
It would have made an intriguing alternative for Crawford to make a four belt defense against the widely regarded top welterweight contender in a very sellable bout for PPV again.
Now, Ennis will likely instead make his first defense, in the first quarter of next year, against a lesser known challenger that most won’t care much about, because he’ll overwhelm them with his skill and hand speed, etc. Something that would be a much bigger challenge in a potential Crawford fight.
Now, Crawford could go ahead and fight Ennis anyway and the winner would still be undisputed at welterweight. But, you can understand the mentality of the current champ that if the Spence rematch isn’t happening at 147 lbs. for all the belts, then he may just move up to junior middleweight and go for titles in the next weight class up.
Then, Ennis never gets a welterweight title fight with Crawford at all.