Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

By Boxing News - 11/17/2020 - Comments

By Jim Maltzman: Eddie Hearn says he’d be potentially interested in inking Terence Crawford if he becomes a free agent next. Crawford’s situation with his promoters at Top Rank is murky right now, as he wants to be involved in the premier fights that have eluded him for his 12-year career.

Top Rank has had their hands tied, as the other promoters haven’t been interested in matching their best fighters against the counter-punching southpaw Crawford. He’s not popular, and his fighting style makes him someone that should be avoided. It’s not that Crawford is unbeatable.

It’s more of a case of all the work that would be involved in getting ready to fight a southpaw that counter-punches well and can move around the ring the way that Crawford can. Crawford has everything going against him because he’s too much trouble for his own good.

All that glitters isn’t gold

It’s like the story of finding the magic fish. The fish will grant you your wishes, but then things don’t improve for the better in your life, and you end up wishing things were as they were.

Crawford hasn’t turned into gold for Top Rank as they’d hoped, and the top promoter for that company, Bob Arum, needs to decide in 2021 whether to keep him when his contract is up.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

If Hearn signs Crawford, he may inherit Top Rank’s problems and fail to do anything with the Omaha native with his remaining years. Hearn already has a similar fighter that is avoided like the plague in Demetrius Andrade. Do they need another fighter like him?

Hearn: Crawford’s relationship with Top Rank is over

“Bob Arum is the funniest geezer I’ve met,” said Eddie Hearn. “You have to almost like him for the fact that he’s so brutally honest. To stand up there on that platform on ESPN and basically say, ‘This guy is costing me a lot of money. I don’t know if I want to spend it anymore.’

“I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. That’s the moment when you should be championing your guy. Whether you think the guy is causing you to lose money, whether you’re losing money on him, at that point, as far as I’m concerned, you have to talk about him as if he’s God.

“The fact that you’re saying this guy is costing me too much money and your losing money basically means that this guy doesn’t have the commercial value that you need.

“Therefore, it’s difficult for you to land the big fights. Basically, what he said is true, but it’s not something I would have done, especially with my fighter standing there on the right of me. But I think Bob is at the end of his tether.

“There’s obviously a poor relationship therebetween Terence and Top Rank. Terence Crawford has been pushing the buttons on the numbers. Bob Arum has not been wanting to pay it, and he probably reluctantly gave him those last two paydays against Amir Khan and Kell Brook.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“But I couldn’t believe the interview, and I think to say that it means the relationship is over, to be honest with you. They’ll carry on working together, that’s all about the business, but the relationship is over,” said Hearn.

Arum was just giving Crawford some tough love by letting him know that he’s not bringing in the numbers needed for him to get the fights.

He wants Crawford to help him make his job easier by working with him to build his popularity outside of the ring. Crawford can do that by being more outgoing and learning more about creating interest in his fights.

Crawford vs. Spence is the fight that must happen

“It’s no secret that purses have escalated out of control, and that’s going to balance out,” said Hearn. “But with the pandemic, promoters and broadcasters want more bang for their buck.

“So you’re going to see fighters that aren’t delivering the numbers have to have a little bit of a reality check and say, ‘You can’t keep paying that kind of money because the numbers are wrong.’

“You may see us lose fighters, and you may see other promoters lose fighters because there comes a point where you have to say that you can’t do it anymore, especially in this environment.

“I think that’s what Bob meant. I’ve seen some other comments from him today where he said, ‘If it doesn’t make sense and we can’t do it anymore, I wish you all the best.’ So it’s really interesting.

“There’s only one fight; it’s the Errol Spence fight. It’s one of the best fights in boxing. So for me, I want to see that fight.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“That’s the kind of fight that can rejuvenate the sport. I’m not saying it’s the biggest fight in the world. To the casual fan, it’s really not, but for boxing, it’s really important, I think. I generally think with Errol Spence and particularly with Terence Crawford,” Hearn said.

Spence might not win his fight next month against Danny Garcia. We need to hold off on any talk of a Crawford-Spence fight until we see what happens with Spence on December 5th against Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia.

Terence needs to do more media work

“Bob was saying, ‘The guy has got to do more, you got to do more,'” said Hearn. “As a promoter, it’s your job to work with what you’ve got, and let’s look at what you’ve got with Terence Crawford.

“You’ve got a three-weight world champion, you’ve got a pound-for-pound great fighter, and you’ve got a guy that is basically a God in Omaha.

“You’ve got a guy that is really funny, and really articulate individual. And you’ve got a guy with an incredible boxing IQ, who can understand fights and real fights, and is probably a bit of a boxing historian as well.

“He lives the right life for boxing. When you’ve got all those attributes, you’ve really got a great fighter, a great product. You can’t turn around and say, ‘You’ve got to do more.’

“Does he have to do more media? Yeah, probably, but that’s your job as a promoter to have a relationship with him to make him understand that.

“But you can’t turnaround and say, ‘This guy is not really worth it,’ because he’s a great fighter. For one reason or another, he [Crawford] just hasn’t resonated with the U.S public.

“He should because he’s an unbelievable fighter, and I think he’s really funny. He’s got a great personality. I love Terence Crawford; I think he’s great. When you talk about, ‘Would you be interested in signing him?’

“We may have the same problems as Top Rank. Ultimately, when you’re doing fights like Kell Brook and Amir Khan, all you’re ever going to do if you’re Top Rank is lose money.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“So unless you can deliver him, Pacquiao, in the Middle East or Spence on pay-per-view. Could I deliver those fights? I don’t know. And if I can’t deliver those fights, do I want to take the position of Top Rank of losing money?” Hearn said.

You have to agree with Arum that Crawford needs to help out by working on his self-promotional skills. It wouldn’t be hard for Crawford to give more interviews and post daily on his social media accounts how Ryan Garcia and Teofimo Lopez do. Having Instagram live sessions weekly would help Crawford as well.

These are small things that would have a huge impact on Crawford’s popularity, and it’s troubling that he’s not been doing them. It’s not too late, though. Crawford needs to use Teofimo and Ryan Garcia to follow in how to build up his popularity through social media.

Hearn: Top Rank must deliver for Crawford

“When someone is so good, and it’s so difficult to get them the big fights, you do start losing money, hemorrhaging money,” Hearn continued. “Demetrius Andrade is a good example.

“Of course, we’re losing money on Demetrius Andrade because he’s that good; it’s very difficult to get him the fights. So I have to find a way in 2021 to get him [Gennadiy] Golovkin, to get him [Jaime] Munguia, to get him Charlo.

“One, to get him to define his legacy, and two, it’s the only way we can get him out there to prove that he’s a pound-for-pound great in proving himself in those big fights.

“That’s the same with Terence Crawford. He has to get those big fights. The danger is, and this goes for Demetrius as well, those big fights pass you buy. This is their prime, we must deliver now, and Top Rank must deliver for Crawford.

“If not, someone else must. But maybe we can’t do it. Top Rank is a very good company. They can’t deliver for him. Could I? I don’t know. Maybe not. No, it’s Canelo Alvarez because Terence just doesn’t have the resume,” Hearn said when asked if Crawford is pound-for-pound #1.

“He doesn’t. And he may have the ability to be pound-for-pound #1, but he doesn’t have the resume. He is certainly pound-for-pound top five. He may be pound-for-pound #1. I think he beats Errol Spence.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“We don’t know how Errol Spence is going to come back, coming off the crash. The difference is with Terence Crawford; he lives the life. He’s a very nice man,” said Hearn.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will give it his best college try in 2021 to get Crawford a big fight, but he’s not going to be able to force the reluctant promoters to fight his guy.

If Crawford has his mind made up that he wants to leave Top Rank at the end of 2021, there’s nothing they can do. It doesn’t help that Crawford is insisting on fighting Manny Pacquiao.

Crawford might as well say that he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. The odds of Top Rank getting Pacquiao to fight Crawford in this lifetime is quite low and not even worth mentioning.

Brook fought well early

“Terence Crawford, what a great fighter he is,” said Adam Smith of Sky Sports. “I remember when he [Crawford] came over and fought Ricky Burns. Who would think that he’d dominate the way he has been knocking everybody out. He has that real spite to him that adds to that pound-for-pound mantel.

“Anyway, I’ve got to say that Kell did well the first three rounds. He said afterward that he didn’t let his shots go, and he didn’t really get into the rhythm, but maybe he was a little bit on edge because of the Crawford power and the Crawford name and all that.

“He might have won the first couple of rounds, but he never stamped his authority. I think that was always going to be a problem. But look, he got caught, and that was it.

“To see him afterward in what happened, it was a shame, wasn’t it? It was an awful reality of what had happened. It’s really tough what had happened, and it was a crushing defeat for Kell.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“It was a great knockout win for Terence Crawford. He’ll go on, and we want to see him fight Errol Spence and all the other great challengers, Pacquiao, and all the great challenges ahead,” said Smith.

Brook, 34, outfought Crawford through the first three rounds, and he was still doing well initially at the start of the fourth.

Many boxing fans are downgrading Brook because he was knocked out in the fourth, but they forget how good he was in the first three rounds.

No one has ever out-boxed Crawford for three rounds the way Brook did. Again, if not for Brook being surprised by Crawford’s sneaky mini-right hook in the fourth, he might have beaten him.

Given the way Brook fought, it’s way too premature for him to retire from boxing right now. He can still make good money for three to five years, even if he doesn’t ever win another world title.

You can’t rule out Brook capturing another world title because he’s got the power and the size to beat anyone on a good night.

Kell has a couple of options: retire or fight Khan

“It’s a shame for Kell, but he came up against the better guy,” said Adam. “I thought it was always going to be a daunting task in going there [to the U.S to fight Crawford in Las Vegas].

“He was in great shape, and so mentally and physically confident. But he’s been through a lot over the years. He had to back down from middleweight and light middleweight to get down to the weight.

“It was probably a grind for Kell to fight Errol Spence [at 147], and he had to do it again for this [Crawford]. It’s a shame. You’re probably going to ask, ‘Should he retire?” That’s up to him.

“He’s done all that’s been asked of him. He’s won a world title, and he’s been in fantastic fights. He probably didn’t fulfill that early potential in the Brendon Ingle camp.

“I thought early that he’d go on to become a two-weight champion in the early days. He took that big leap up to fight [Gennadiy] Golovkin, and he got well-paid and gave it a real good go. In the Spence fight, it probably took a lot out of him.

“He’s done well to come back and get his life back in order and fight really well. It’s always great to be part of a Kell Brook fight. I don’t know what the options are.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“It’s either retirement, or maybe it’s that long, long-awaited Amir Khan fight, but Amir seems half out of the ring anyway and dealing with the Middle East and helping the WBC out.

“I don’t know if I would fancy that or get up for it again or if we would do that. We’ve always wanted that match [Brook vs. Khan]. I’m sure we’d still welcome a match like that between the two of them,” said Smith.

Brook still has enough left to beat a lot of the top contenders in the 147lb division. He shouldn’t go back to 154 because they hit too hard in the division. With Brook’s eye and chin problems, he should stay at 147.

If Brook can get a good win under his belt, he could land a fight against one of these top contenders in 2021:

  • Shawn Porter
  • Keith Thurman
  • Danny Garcia
  • Adrien Broner
  • Amir Khan

Brook put on the spot

“Kell has made money, and Amir has made money,” Adam said. “It’s up to them. We’re not here to tell fighters to retire or whatever, but it’s up to Kell. I’m sure he’ll sit down with his close-knit family, talk to Terry, and just be advised by the people around him.

“They’ll say to call it a day or whether maybe he’ll have that one last hurrah, and maybe that will be that Amir Khan fight. But you don’t want to see him go on too much longer because he’s achieved so much, and he’s made money.

“That was a good payday he got over in Las Vegas, and it’s no disgrace to lose to the likes of Errol Spence, Gennadiy Golovkin, and Terence Crawford. Those are three of the greatest fighters of this generation.

“What we all want to do, and what Kell was asked is we’ve seen from the realms of a bad defeat. He was being pushed by being asked is ‘Errol Spence better than Terence Crawford?’ I think it was a little harsh to push him then and there.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“He’s got to look back at and think. He was so shocked and didn’t know what happened to him in the ring afterward that I think that’s a question best to wait for a later day,” said Smith.

It was unfair of Brook for him to have been peppered with the media’s questions after his loss, asking him how Crawford compares to Errol Spence.

You could see a motive behind the questions to have Brook say that Crawford is better than Spence. When Brook failed to give the media what they wanted, he was asked the same question but from a different angle.

Crawford vs. Spence = tossup fight

“He went longer with Errol Spence in the ring, but Crawford’s power,” said Smith about Brook. “Styles make fights, as he rightly said. I think we all want to see that Crawford-Spence fight.

“Spence is back with Danny Garcia in a couple of weeks. Let’s see him get that one out of the way. That’s a tough fight. If Spence can come through, that’s the fight with Crawford-Spence.

“Bob Arum was very adamant afterward about who he thought would win that one, but I think it’s a pick-em fight. They’re both so talented fighters. That’ll be a fantastic match-up if that one can be made. Errol Spence against Mikey Garcia proved his absolute class.

Image: Eddie Hearn wants to sign Terence Crawford if he leaves Top Rank

“With Vasily Lomachenko losing to Teofimo Lopez, maybe Crawford is the pound-for-pound best. But you know there will be much debate about all that. Canelo is supposed to be fighting Callum Smith. There’s so much ahead,” said Smith.

Spence vs. Crawford might not be a toss-up like Adam Smith says. If Spence can handle Crawford’s shots, he could walk him down and take him out.

Brook did a lot of damage to Crawford’s face in the first three rounds last Saturday and beat him until he was hurt in the fourth. If Brook had a chin like Spence, he might have beaten Crawford.

Spence-Crawford could wind up as a mismatch, and a lot of boxing fans might end up kicking themselves for failing to realize that they overestimated Crawford’s ability.

Crawford appears to be gold, but he could be a fool’s gold, a soft match-making product. Brook was clearly a shot fighter, and so was Amir Khan. Crawford’s opposition has been woeful and carefully picked by his promoters.