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  • Tim Burke

Crawford-Arum Dispute Showcases Boxing's Business Problems

The dispute between Terrence Crawford and the longtime CEO of Top Rank Bob Arum illustrates what is wrong with boxing today. Crawford, recently finished out his contract with Top Rank after his defeat of Shawn Porter on 20th. After his victory, when asked publicly about his future with Top Rank, Crawford revealed he had already made up his mind on what his future with Top Rank will be. He told reporters“ Bob [Arum] couldn’t secure me the [Errol] Spence fight when I was with him, so how is he gonna secure me the Spence fight when I’m not with him? I’m moving forward with my career.” The best part of this announcement? Bob Arum was sitting right next to him.

Terrence Crawford has been adamant about one thing throughout his career. He wants to fight the best opponents to secure his legacy as one of the greatest fighters to ever step into the ring. He wants to fight the best and he wants to fight them now. Bob Arum simply has not promoted Terrence Crawford to the best of his capabilities. Crawford is one of six Unified Champions in the four belt era and is ranked third Pound for Pound by The Ring. Terrence Crawford should be the biggest name in American boxing but lack of promotion has really hurt him throughout his career.

Terrence Crawford’s rival in the ring Shawn Porter has addressed the situation between Arum and Crawford several times on his podcast The Porter Way. Porter has stated that Arum’s public comments about wishing he could make more money with Terrence Crawford and that he is not a PPV draw probably should have stayed in house. In my opinion, Arum’s comments are likely to have damaged his relationship with Crawford. It is a common belief among many fans and fighters that Terrence Crawford should be a bigger star. Floyd Mayweather, a former Top Rank fighter, has been one of the three most vocal supporters of Terrence Crawford and his belief that Crawford should be a much bigger name in the sport. Mayweather has called Bob Arum “a thief” and has questioned how Arum has failed to make Terrence Crawford a successful PPV draw. In Mayweather’s opinion, Terrence Crawford is the best fighter in the sport today. Love him or hate him, Mayweather’s own personal experience with Bob Arum and Top Rank makes him one of the most qualified people to speak on this topic. Arum worked with Mayweather for years and continuously doubted Mayweather’s potential as a PPV star. Once Mayweather left Top Rank in 2006, he turned himself into Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the biggest PPV draw boxing had ever seen. Terrence Crawford, now a Free Agent, lived up to his contract with Top Rank and now has the opportunity to make himself the star he always should have been. At 34, Crawford’s window to finally secure big fights, add on to his legacy and become a global superstar is smaller than it should have been and he knows that. Crawford recently announced that he is suing Arum for ten million in a lawsuit that alleges Arum’s revolting racial bias prevented Crawford from booking big fights. There is no doubt Arum let down his fighter. This dispute illustrates boxing’s biggest problem from a business perspective. The business of the sport needs to change to help the fighters and the fans.

Note: if Crawford is looking to book a massive fight with generational rival Errol Spence Jr. look no further than Mayweather Promotions. Floyd is his biggest fan, had worked closely with Spence's manager Al Haymon for over a decade and one thing about Mayweather you need to respect is that he takes care of his fighters. Another option is to continually stay a Free Agent fighter, which has worked out remarkably well for Canelo Álvarez, since his infamous departure from Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.

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