By Barry Holbrook: Errol Spence and Terence Crawford will need to agree to an even purse split if they want to get the fight made, according to Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing. Arum says he either wants a 50-50 straight down the middle split or a 45/45 split with 10 going to the winner of the fight.
Spence in a good position to get 60/40 split for Crawford fight
Despite what Arum says, Spence (25-0, 21 KOs) is in the better position to get a 60-40 split for a Crawford fight. Spence has reportedly agreed to a unification fight against WBC champion Shawn Porter for October or November at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. A win for Spence, 29, over Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) will make him the IBF/WBC 147-pound champion, and that’s going to give him a strong position for the negotiations with Crawford.
Arum might look silly if he continues to insist on an even 50-50 split for Crawford or the 45/45/10 split. That amounts to the same thing as a 50-50 split. If Spence were to agree to that idea, he would be saying that Crawford is at the same level as him in the negotiations, and that’s not realistic to assume he’ll do that. Given that Spence recently brought in over 400,000 buys for his fight against Mikey Garcia, it puts him in a stronger position than Crawford.
Crawford to fight in November in Omaha
“Terence is definitely coming back in November, maybe in October or November,” said Arum to Helen Yee Sports. “We’ll be looking for a date in Omaha, because obviously his fan base is in Omaha, Nebraska. That’s a great, great town. However, we’ve not been working diligently on that. I’m hoping everyone can come to their senses, and we can do the fight that everybody wants to see, and that’s Terence and Errol Spence. So we’ll see what happens, but Crawford will definitely be fighting before the end of the year,” said Arum.
Crawford will be fighting in November in a fight that will likely on ESPN+ against fellow Top Rank fighter Egidijus Kavaliauskas. That fight won’t resonate with the boxing public, as the 30-year-old Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) was recently shockingly held to a 10 round draw by fringe contender Ray Robinson last March. It looks bad that Kavaliauskas, who goes by the nickname, ‘Mean Machine,” couldn’t beat Robinson. Arum likely won’t care that Kavaliauskas has unfinished business with Robinson. Arum will make the fight between Crawford and Kavaliauskas, because “Mean Machine” is ranked #1, and is still unbeaten. The casual boxing fans won’t know that Kavaliauskas was recently held to a 10 round draw by a fringe contender. Arum needs opponents for Crawford to fight, because he’s been facing a lot of lesser guys like Amir Khan, Jose Benavidez Jr., and Jeff Horn.
Arum wants 50-50 split for Crawford vs. Spence
“It never started,” said Arum when asked how far the negotiations progressed for a Crawford vs. Spence fight. “The negotiations are relatively easy. We have thrown out that we want to do the fight with two networks, do it on pay-per-view, and split it down the middle. It’s the same way we’re doing the Wilder vs. Fury. When I called Al Haymon, he said Spence is going to fight once more this year, and then we’d look for a fight next year with Crawford and Spence,” said Arum.
The problem with Arum’s idea of Crawford getting parity with Spence is it means that the fight won’t happen. Spence won’t give Crawford an equal split, because he’s not shown that he’s on his level in terms of the pay-per-view numbers. Crawford has been involved in two PPV fights during his career against Viktor Postol and Amir Khan, and both fights did poor numbers. Crawford isn’t in the position to ask for and expect to receive a 50-50 or 45/45 split with 10 going to the winner.
Of course, Arum is free to ask for that split for Crawford when he sits down with Spence’s adviser Al Haymon, but if he insists on that, he’ll probably wind up with nothing. Crawford doesn’t have anyone to fight if Spence doesn’t face him. It’s clear that Crawford needs Spence more than he needs him.
Arum doesn’t want to wait until 2020 for Spence-Crawford fight
“I’m tired of, ‘next year.’ Let’s do it this year when we’re beginning to peak tremendously with interest in the sport of boxing,” said Arum about a unification fight between Spence and Crawford. “Let’s not let the interest fade. Let’s give them the best possible matches this years, and that’ll lead to great matches next year,” said Arum.
With the way that Arum is insisting on getting parity for Crawford for the Spence fight, he’s not going to be able to successfully negotiate the contest in 2019. Something will need to change rapidly for Arum to get his way in putting the Spence vs. Crawford fight this year. The only thing this writer can think of is Arum giving up on the idea of Crawford getting a 50-50 deal with Spence. If Arum says he’ll agree to a 60-40 split in favor of Spence, that’ll help him get this fight over the finish line. Spence does not look like he’s going to give in with his 60-40 demand for the Crawford fight.
Unfortunately, the way Arum is talking now, he’s never in a million years going to be able to negotiate the Spence vs. Crawford fight. Crawford has been a pro for 10 years, and he’s never been involved in a big fight. It’s safe to say that Crawford doesn’t have 10 more good years left in his career as an elite level fighter.
Crawford going to start fading soon, and then Arum, or whoever is at the helm of Top Rank when that happens,will have few options of what to do with him. In other words, they’ll be kicking themselves for not making the fight with Spence when they had the chance. 40% for Crawford is better than nothing.
Arum: Spence is better off fighting Crawford than Porter
“I don’t know. It’s really difficult,” said Arum when asked about his thoughts on a Spence vs. Shawn Porter fight in 2019. “Spence got a really big payday when he fought Mikey Garcia. Obviously, Shawn Porter is a more difficult opponent for him than Mikey Garcia. It’s different weights and so forth. Shawn Porter would be a difficult opponent or anybody, and Spence wants to be paid accordingly for fighting a difficult fight with Porter. Spence-Porter is not a pay-per-view fight. It’s very, very expensive. So, I think sanity will prevail, and the way to pay Spence what he wants is to do a pay-per-view fight with Terence,” said Arum.
Out of all the things Arum has talked about the interview, he makes the most sense when he points out that Spence vs. Porter isn’t a pay-per-view worthy fight. Spence will definitely make more money fighting Crawford than he will the 31-year-old Porter. However, Spence’s fight with Porter is said to be a PPV bout, so it looks like the match is going to go ahead in that direction. Whether it’s a smart move by Spence’s handlers is unclear. It’s likely the only way they could make the Spence vs. Porter fight, because it’s the only way they both can be paid the money they want.
Arum talks 45/45/10 split for Crawford vs. Spence
“Yeah, I would be happy with a 60-40 split, but obviously Crawford is the guy that is much better known to the public,” said Arum. “If they want to test that, I would say we would get 60 and they would get 40. If they want to make it a sporting deal, why don’t we do a 45-45 and 10 for the winner. I would be happy with that. No, I just thought of it now,” said Arum.
Arum’s comment about Crawford being the “guy that is better known to the public” than Spence is arguable point. For a lot of boxing fans, they see Spence is better known, and the more exciting fighter than the counter-punching Crawford. But it really doesn’t matter whether Arum wants to give his opinion about who the better known fighter is between them. When it comes the negotiations, Spence’s adviser will be able to show Errol’s superior PPV numbers than Crawford, and he’ll likely have the IBF & WBC welterweight titles in his possession by that point if he defeats Porter later this year. Arum will be in a weakened position to insist on Crawford deserving a 50-50 or 45/45/10 deal with Spence.
Arum continues to blast away at the 50-50 split that he wants for Crawford vs. Spence fight
“No, I wouldn’t say this year, because they say they want to do it next year,” said Arum. “If I had both fighters, I’d give you a date and a time, but I only have one of the two. We’ll see. I can’t make any prediction. I’d like to try to make the fight happen this year. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I thought everyone would agree to do the fight on a 50-50 basis, but I have no objection to 45-45 and 10 to the winner. That would make it even a bigger event. A rematch clause definitely if they’re great fights like the old days. We’d do trilogies,” said Arum.