Tim Tszyu vs Terence Crawford fight has been in the works since last year, reveals manager – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

Tim Tszyu. Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu 24-0 (17) has been in the sights of former undisputed welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 40-0 (31) since late last year, it has been revealed.

Australian Tszyu, 29, will defend his WBO belt against 26-year-old American southpaw Sebastian Fundora 20-1-1 (13) at the T-Mobile Arena in las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night. The vacant WBC strap will also be on the line.

Last week WBO president Francisco Valcarcel announced the winner of the bout would have five days to strike a deal with the Puerto Rican sanctioning body’s number one contender and 180 days to fight them.

The worst kept secret in boxing is that the WBO plan to install 36-year-old Omaha, Nebraska southpaw Crawford as their mandatory contender in their next ratings update.

Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings told Fox Sports that discussions about a Tszyu versus Crawford fight date back to October at least.

“I received a call from Crawford’s business manager, who is a friend of mine… but it still came out of the blue. It was shortly before the Mendoza fight,” Jennings remembered.

“And he just came out straight away and said ‘would you be interested in putting Tim in the ring with Terence?’.

“I said ‘of course we would’.

“I then asked what time frame they were talking about and he replied ‘what about right now?’

“I was ‘ah, shit, sorry, no’ because we already had the Mendoza deal and I wasn’t going to upset our promoters in Australia or America [by trying to break it].

“And who knows, maybe they put out a call out to six fighters like that? But they definitely reached out to me to see how quick we could take up the offer.

“It would’ve been for a fight before Christmas.

“But there was no way we could get it done because we already had what we knew was going to be a tough fight coming up against Mendoza.

“So we didn’t reject the fight, but we were already committed.

“I then left it between Terence’s people and [Tszyu’s promoter] No Limit to keep discussions open and those talks have absolutely remained alive.

“They’ve been continuing in the background and it now appears there is going to be an opportunity to make something happen.”

Jennings believes talks with the Crawford camp will begin in earnest after this weekend.

“Going up to 154, he automatically becomes mandatory for the WBO title,” he said. “So if Tim Tszyu retains his world title belt in this next fight – and he will retain it – then Crawford becomes his mandatory.

“So immediately after that fight, when everything becomes official, we’ll go straight into negotiations to see what we can get done.

“Of course, Tim will also have a WBC mandatory which clouds the situation somewhat.

“But obviously when Crawford comes into play the entire boxing world sits up and takes notice.”