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Fundora-Tszyu Rematch Eyed As Negotiations For Crawford To Step Aside Set To Commence, Crawford Labeled As “Difficult” During Negotiations

Fundora-Tszyu Rematch Eyed As Negotiations For Crawford To Step Aside Set To Commence featured image
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 30: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) Tim Tszyu (in gold & black short) and Sebastian Fundora (in red & black short) exchange punches during their super welterweight world titles of the Premiere Boxing Championship on Saturday night as Sebastian Fundora wins at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States on March 30, 2024. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Sebastian Fundora and Tim Tszyu might face each other in an immediate rematch later this year following the split-decision result that culminated in Fundora becoming the 154 lbs unified champion by winning both the WBC and WBO titles on March 30th. With the WBO having ordered the winner of Tszyu-Fundora to face WBO 154 lbs mandatory challenger Terence Crawford, Fundora is now apparently also set to relinquish his WBO title in order to be able to face Tim Tszyu.

Alternatively, Sebastian Fundora (21-1-1, 13 KO’s) can keep his titles under the condition that Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KO’s) will be offered step-aside money and a potential crack at Fundora if he makes it past Tim Tszyu (24-1, 17 KO’s) during their potential rematch, as asserted by Fundora’s manager, Sampson Lewkowicz, during a recent interview, who also spoke on his wishes to see a rematch between Fundora and Tszyu.

Louis DeCuba will negotiate not to lose the title,Lewkowicz told Thaboxingvoice when asked on the WBO’s recent mandate. “I didn’t ask him how he would negotiate, but he will directly negotiate with Paco Valcarcel of the WBO, and [Terence] Crawford.

So I’m completely out of the situation. Regardless, my wish is to honor the rematch [between Fundora and Tszyu] because I believe the people will request that. The fans will request a rematch because many people say if it was not for the cut [that Tszyu suffered in his March 30th match against Fundora], he [Fundora] would lose the fight.

A member of Fundora’s management team, Lois DeCuba, will now apparently start negotiations with both the WBO and Terence Crawford’s team to find a solution for Fundora to retain his titles―likely by way of offering Crawford step-aside money. Step-aside money is a financial arrangement in boxing where mandatory challengers―or fighters entitled to a title shot―are compensated by the champion or promoter to allow the defending champion to fight someone else.

The basis for the decision to see Fundora rematch Tszyu appears to be because of public opinion, as Lewkowicz believes the public is intent to see the outcome of a fight where Tszyu would be at his best rather than forced to endure a gruesome cut―which occurred early during their last match on March 30th.

Lewkowicz also spoke on Crawford’s business practices, alleging that the two-time undisputed champion was mainly in search of paydays, and the manager further dived into other aspects that suggested Crawford was unlikeable and therefore an unsuitable option for Fundora as a result of not being capable of drawing the needed crowds.

Honestly, I believe that the [fighting] style of [Terence] Crawford is not likeable, like [Devin] Haney, you know, he’s about the same level, and he will not sell,” Lewkowicz stated. “He’s number one in the world, the best fighter in the world, but he doesn’t have the charisma to bring people to Vegas.

And I don’t believe he will. Besides, in every fight, as a free agent, he demands money that doesn’t exist.

When Lewkowicz was questioned on where he got the notion from Crawford was allegedly difficult during negotiations, the manager could not offer any concrete evidence of these claims.

This is what I heard. Beside that, in prior negotiations, he wants to be a Canelo [Alvarez], let me put it that way. He wants to be a businessman, and he wants to be a fighter, and that is a big mistake.

Sampson Lewkowicz also spoke on Floyd Mayweather Jr who he felt Crawford was trying to emulate during negotiations.

Everyone wants to be [Floyd] Mayweather [Jr] and negotiate like Mayweather,” Sampson continued. “Mayweather was, and is, the most clever businessman that I [have] seen in my life. Everyone else, like Canelo is very good in other business, but in boxing Mayweather is the smartest by far. Crawford doesn’t have the following that Canelo or Mayweather have.

In another previous interview, Lewkowicz had asserted that he was seeking a fight for Sebastian Fundora for Errol Spence Jr (28-1, 22 KO’s) because of the potential of their fight being able to sell out the 90.000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the fight would be held. However, when confronted with the fact that Spence’s fights at the stadium only averaged 34.000 in tickets bought, Lewkowicz maintained that a fight between Fundora and Spence would sell out.

I believe that fight would help the stadium to completely sell out,” Lewkowicz maintained. “And by the way, the undercard, it’d be crazy too because we have several local fighters that will sell, and the fact we have a 6’6″ fighter in Fundora―this is a commodity, you know, that he will sell because of the way he is, and the way he fights.

Lewkowicz’ statements about Crawford, including claims of the fighter being difficult during negotiations without Lewkowicz personally ever having experienced so firsthand, can be interpreted as a form of slander given Crawford is being positioned to fight Fundora, and presents a viable threat to Fundora’s reign as unified super welterweight champion.

In comparison, Errol Spence Jr is considered the least likely threat given he is coming off a loss to, ironically, Terence Crawford, and is also considered a better option due to apparently being able to draw in more fans for a fight with Fundora than Crawford, which would allow Fundora to make more fighting Spence as opposed to if he faced Crawford.

There is no indication how popular Errol Spence Jr currently is following his devastating technical knockout (TKO) loss to Terence Crawford last year, which raises eyebrows at Lewkowicz’ assumption a Fundora-Spence fight would sell out the AT&T Stadium―especially considering Fundora only recently headlined in his first PPV fight against Tim Tszyu as a substitute―which not at all means he is capable of selling out a 90.000-capacity stadium.

While a match between Fundora and Tszyu is more likely to occur, an agenda now appears to be brewing in preventing Crawford from being in the mix, evident by the way Lewkowicz honed in on Crawford’s alleged reputation in business in which he appears to ask for too much, while simultaneously praising Canelo Alvarez who has kept a client of Lewkowicz, David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KO’s), unable to progress in the super middleweight division.

In fact, Alvarez recently stated he would only consider fighting Benavidez for a minimum of $150 million, which Lewkowicz appears to have no qualms with despite the amount being completely unrealistic; especially considering Benavidez is the WBC mandatory challenger and Alvarez is obligated to face him due to holding the WBC title and therefore being subject to their rules of facing the mandatory challenger if there are no other mandatory duties or unification fights in the way.

As a boxing manager, Sampson Lewkowicz has only exposed a disturbing continuing trend in boxing where he’s publicly depriving other fighters of opportunities while allegedly slandering them, all while steeply causing competitiveness in boxing to decline.