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WBO Orders Sebastian Fundora Vs. Terence Crawford, Fundora Set To Vacate WBO Title

WBO Orders Sebastian Fundora Vs. Terence Crawford featured image
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 29: Terence Crawford celebrates with the championship belt after defeating Errol Spence Jr. in the World Welterweight Championship bout at T-Mobile Arena on July 29, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Terence Crawford has been officially acknowledged as the WBO mandatory challenger at super welterweight, which was quickly followed by a mandate from the WBO for Sebastian Fundora and Terence Crawford to face each other. With Fundora having recently won the WBO title from Tim Tszyu on March 30th―and simultaneously won the vacant WBC title that had been made available for the 154 lbs title match between the two, Fundora is currently bound by the WBO’s rules to face Crawford but stands every chance of relinquishing his WBO title in order to face Errol Spence Jr instead.

On April 1st, the WBO confirmed that Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KO’s) would become the mandatory challenger at 154 lbs after activating his “WBO super champion” status―which allows him to challenge any WBO Champion in any weight class. In lieu of Crawford’s decision, the WBO quickly ordered a mandatory match between Sebastian Fundora (21-1-1, 13 KO’s) and Terence Crawford, as would be their obligation given they designated Crawford as their mandatory challenger at super welterweight.

However, the alleged manipulations by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) threatens to completely overturn the WBO-ordered match between Fundora and Crawford as Errol Spence Jr (28-1, 22 KO’s) has been propped up as a potential opponent for Fundora, made clear by Mayweather Promotions―which is connected to PBC―CEO Leonard Ellerbe who explained prior to the Tszyu-Fundora fight why Spence would fight the winner.

Errol Spence is family. He has a relationship with PBC, and had a relationship [for] a number of years,Ellerbe told

Terence Crawford is a beast, but I think he’s let it be known that he’s a free agent―and he’s not with the PBC. So I mean, you know kind of how that goes.

Ellerbe’s words expose the PBC’s efforts to manipulate the boxing landscape in order to ensure their recently-crowned champion, Sebastian Fundora, is matched with another one of their fighters in Errol Spence Jr. Most significantly, Spence is competitively not in any position to be considered a challenger for a world title, not merely because he lost in a one-sided match during his last fight, but further due to him not being ranked in any of the sanctioning bodies’ 154 lbs rankings―indicating he had never been in the picture of a world title opportunity at super welterweight prior to Leonard Ellerbe’s assertion.

Spence’s in-ring appearance following the Tszyu-Fundora bout heavily spoke of the PBC’s attempt to create a fight between Fundora and Spence, despite all signs pointing to him not being deserving of the fight on a competitive basis.

This is even further the case given Errol Spence Jr is supposedly still recovering from a cataracts surgery from earlier this year, but even more significantly, a medical professional’s assertion that Spence was suffering from residual neurological damage following a car accident in 2019―which according to the medical professional should have virtually barred Spence from competing in boxing since that incident.

With the conflicting reports on Spence’s health having reigned for roughly a year since his 2023 loss to Terence Crawford, there are further concerns about the match that seems to be planned between Spence and Fundora, as it is unclear whether―or how―healthy Spence is to actually compete in a world title bout.

If Spence is healthy, which presumably he is given he was medically approved to fight, then there is still an issue with him becoming an opponent for Fundora as he has simply not earned the chance. In this manner, PBC is clearly attempting to allow Spence to “skip the line” out of favoritism or bias without any indication he can even perform at his best―given he has not fought since his one-sided loss to Crawford.

Moreover, this appears a blatant way to be a thorn to the side of Terence Crawford who defeated Spence dominantly, and has gone through the official process of activating his “WBO super champion” status to now be considered the official WBO mandatory challenger at 154 lbs, only to be thwarted the opportunity to face Fundora by the same fighter, Errol Spence Jr, he defeated last year.

If Spence is not healthy, this situation is even more concerning with him having been approved to fight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), who will now be liable for allowing injured fighters to compete in world title bouts. Furthermore, it means that the loss that Spence suffered against Crawford is more debilitating due to assumption that he’s dealing with residual neurological damage, which puts PBC heavily under question as it appears they are completely willing to put Spence’s life in danger by matching him against a world champion in Sebastian Fundora.

Either way, Errol Spence Jr is competitively not in any position to receive a title match against Sebastian Fundora, and would normally be required to fight his way back to becoming a title challenger; an opportunity that he clearly rejected after refusing a potential comeback fight against the quasi-retired Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO’s) last week.

Instead, even though Spence has not fully proven whether he is healthy to compete or not, will apparently jump straight into a title fight with Sebastian Fundora, who himself appears to be manipulated by PBC to take the fight―which would result in him relinquishing his WBO title if he chose to ignore the WBO’s mandate to face Terence Crawford.

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As the WBO ordered unified WBC & WBO 154 lbs champion Sebastian Fundora to face Terence Crawford, Fundora would be forced to relinquish his WBO title if he was planning on fighting anyone besides Crawford. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images)

This was potential move was even more evident during a recent interview that Sampson Lewkowicz, Fundora’s manager, held with reporters where he explained why Spence was being considered as an opponent.

[Terence] Crawford will not sell out 90.000 [tickets] in Dallas, I will tell you that much,Lewkowicz stated to reporters after confirming he was eyeing Errol Spence Jr as an opponent over Crawford for Fundora. “Everybody [has to] wait, like [David] Benavidez, [so] why not Crawford? Let him wait one time, or maybe twice, and then he goes.

At the end of the day, it’s maximize the profits for the fighter, and it’d be stupidity for me not to do that for him [Sebastian Fundora], and besides that―boxing is business. Ask Mayweather, ask everyone.

Spence is a really good fighter anyway, especially at 154 [lbs], so I believe he [Terence Crawford] would have a shot, but now you need to wait. That is the boxing world. There’s not only one way, there’s two ways.

Sampson Lewkowicz’s words basically sum up the exact problems occurring in boxing, with managers such as Lewkowicz preferring for his fighter to face Spence because he will supposedly earn more than when he fights Crawford.

Given Spence lost to Crawford, there’s perhaps an actual valid possibility that Fundora would stand to make more against Crawford, but it is clearly not in Lewkowicz’s interests to explore Crawford as an option with his assertions that he should wait.

Lewkowicz even went as far to to refer to another one of his clients, David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KO’s), asserting that since Benavidez was waiting for an opportunity against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, that Crawford should wait too.

However, the situation between Benavidez, the WBC mandatory challenger, and Canelo Alvarez pertains to manipulation or incompetence from the WBC―something that Lewkowicz has clearly allowed to persist with his own fighter. Alvarez is factually obligated to face his mandatory challenger as he holds the WBC title, and the WBC’s refusal to order a match between the two super middleweights is a clear sign of the sanctioning body’s failure to uphold its own rules due to favoritism or bias.

Lewkowicz also cited potential higher earnings as the reason for choosing Spence, which is not truly a valid reason as Spence’s reputation very likely suffered from losing in a devastation to Crawford, which might suggest Fundora would make more against the guy that beat Spence, rather than Spence himself. Moreover, the public perception on Spence’s dubious health is not likely to bring any more seats if Fundoa faces him, than Crawford who is currently considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, has become undisputed twice throughout his career, and has been confirmed to be the WBO 154 lbs mandatory challenger―certifying Crawford as a genuine title contender.

Positioning Spence as a title challenger appears to be a method by PBC and Fundora’s manager to manipulate public perception, ignoring the fact that Spence is coming off a loss and might therefore benefit from a comeback or tune-up fight against an easier opponent rather than a unified world champion in Sebastian Fundora.

This situation is but a mere drop in the bucket when it comes to corruption in boxing, but it highlights the issues that seem insurmountable to overcome in the sport with unbeaten and deserving title challengers told to “wait” for their chance, in order to give an opportunity to fighters that they have defeated.