Welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford and David Avanesyan have signed contracts for a pay-per-view fight on Dec. 10 at CHI Health Center in the champion's native Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford told ESPN on Thursday.
The fight will be available on BLK Prime for $39.95, a spokesperson for the streaming service told ESPN. Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) will earn a career-high eight-figure payday, sources said.
Crawford remains in talks to face Errol Spence Jr. for the undisputed 147-pound championship, but when it became clear to Crawford that PBC was now targeting the first quarter of 2023 for that fight, he decided to push forward with a title defense to ensure he, like Spence, fought at least once in 2022.
Spence and Crawford are still motivated to strike a deal, sources said. With both fighters in their primes -- and peaking -- the welterweight summit meeting stands as one of the biggest commercial fights in the sport.
"I'm excited about this opportunity," Crawford said. "I was really looking forward to the Errol Spence fight. I started communicating with [boxing manager] Al Haymon and PBC back in June. And unfortunately, they represent a fighter in Errol Spence who didn't want the fight as bad as I did.
"I agreed to all of their [B.S.] and they've been dragging their ass for months. Spence was nowhere to be found while I was trying to make the deal," Crawford continued. "I explained to Al Haymon and Errol that I was going to fight before the end of the year. ... David Avanesyan is a very tough task. He's knocked out his last six opponents and this guy is dangerous. Once I'm successful against Avanesyan, my plan is still the same: Whoop Errol Spence's ass."
ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, Crawford acquiesced to the short end of the financial split for the clash with Spence, who is aligned with Haymon's PBC. Major terms are agreed to, but Crawford, a promotional free agent, wants transparency related to event expenses since the contract contains no guaranteed purse, sources said.
Rather, Crawford would earn a percentage of the net revenue, so he requested the ability to approve expenses as a partner in the event.
With the sides unable to solve the lingering issue in a timely fashion, Crawford decided to seek a different opponent rather than wait on PBC for a fight in February or March, sources said. The proposed Showtime PPV was targeted for Nov. 19, but the extended talks made that date unfeasible with approximately 60 days needed to properly promote the event and set up training camps.
PBC declined to comment on the failed Spence-Crawford negotiations.
Floyd Mayweather, Haymon's longtime business partner, told Fight Hype earlier this month that Spence-Crawford wouldn't happen until "further down the future."
There remains optimism Spence and Crawford will meet after interim fights, but for now, Crawford will focus on Avanesyan, a 34-year-old Russian fighting out of England.
ESPN's No. 10 welterweight, Avanesyan has scored six consecutive wins since a sixth-round TKO loss to Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. That stretch includes a sixth-round stoppage of Josh Kelly in 2021, Avanesyan's best win to date.
A power-punching pressure fighter, Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs) owns a 2016 win over a well-past-his-prime version of Hall of Famer Shane Mosley. With an expected victory over Avanesyan, the European welterweight champion, Crawford could move onto the long-awaited matchup with Spence.
The proposed Spence-Crawford deal includes a bilateral rematch clause. If the rematch clause is triggered, the winner will earn the majority of the revenue for the return bout, sources said.
"We want to be a fixture in boxing for years to come," a BLK Prime spokesperson said. "Everyone was concerned about the other fight with Errol Spence. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. David Avanesyan is a formidable opponent, European champion and we're excited about Dec. 10 in Omaha."
Crawford, ESPN's top welterweight, last fought in November, a 10th-round TKO victory over Shawn Porter to retain his WBO title.
Spence, a 32-year-old from Desoto, Texas, returned from surgery to repair a detached retina to score a 10th-round TKO of Yordenis Ugas in April to add the WBA belt to go along with his WBC and WBA titles. Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) was set to fight Manny Pacquiao in August 2021 but withdrew from the matchup because of the eye injury.
It was the second major setback of Spence's career after an October 2019 car crash led to him being hospitalized. He did not fight again until December 2020. He's rated No. 3 pound-for-pound by ESPN and No. 2 at welterweight.
"[Crawford has] been stalling for months, I could've fought in November," Spence tweeted on Thursday. "Been fighting at this weight for over a decade, this s--- ain't easy or fun."