Terence Crawford will sign with Al Haymon if he’s given a big offer, says Lou DiBella
By Chris Williams: Promoter Lou DiBella believes there’s a chance that Terence Crawford will leave Top Rank and sign with Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions in 2021 if he offers him a big deal.
Crawford’s contract with Top Rank is expiring in late 2021, and Haymon might lure him if he’s given a big enough money offer to sign with him. Haymon has the top welterweights signed with him, and it’s no secret that Crawford wants to fight them.
If WBO welterweight champion Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) has a sense of entitlement when it comes to fighting the top PBC fighters, he could wind up fighting no one if or when he leaves Top Rank to sign with them.
Would Crawford agree to a 50-50 deal to fight the following PBC fighters:
- Danny Garcia
- Keith Thurman
- Errol Spence Jr
- Manny Pacquiao
- Shawn Porter
- Yordenis Ugas
We’ve already seen that Crawford wants a 60/40 split for a fight against IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence (26-0, 21 KOs). You can interpret that as a duck move on Crawford’s part, seeing that Spence would never agree to the short money against Crawford.
If Crawford wants a 60/40 deal with Spence, what would he be asking for if Al Haymon attempted to put together fights with him and his other top PBC fighters?
My guess is Crawford would ask for a 70/30 or 65/35 split against them, and he would use his pound-for-pound status as the justification for why he feels he deserves it.
Haymon has the fighters to lure Crawford
“Terence is a very good fighter but a little bit untested and that’s a little bit of the problems he’s having with his promoters,” Lou DiBella said. “There’s a little bit of loyalty between them.
“You never can tell, it’s all about relationships,” DiBella said about whether Crawford will leave Top Rank when his contract runs out in late 2021. “When a contract ends, obviously people can go their separate ways.
“Haymon has a great advantage. If they want to do business with Bud. Most of the big fight opponents are with Al Haymon and PBC.
“If those are the fights that Bud wants, it’s unlikely for me to see him stay with Top Rank. But it’s also unlikely for me to see Bud agreeing to stay on the short end of the stick with PBC fighters and not feeling like he’s special and not making a s*** load of money,” said DiBella on Crawford.
Of course, Haymon has the fighters to pure Crawford, but what good is it if they don’t want to fight him? Hayman can’t twist his PBC fighter’s arms and force them to take a low-paying fight against Crawford.
Al Haymon can sign Crawford, but he could wind up miserable if he’s unable to get the fights he wants. As Crawford starts to age more, he’ll get even more frustrated than he is now at his inability to get important fights.
Haymon could be inheriting Top Rank’s problem if they sign Crawford and cannot do anything with him.
If Crawford were willing to float between divisions like Henry Armstrong once did, he would have the opportunity of increasing his popularity by facing fighters like Jermell Charlo.
Chris Williams isn’t holding his breath waiting for Crawford to make such a move. Charlo would likely knock Crawford out, and so would the other junior middleweights. If Crawford started slowly against Charlo like he did against the shot Kell Brook, he’d be on his back counting stars by the third round.
Is it worth it for Haymon to sign Crawford?
“The reality is, Bud is already making a lot of money,” DiBella said. “If you believe Arum and take him on his word, he’s not profiting on the Bud Crawford part of his business.
“Well, that’s what he says,” DiBella said about Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum supposedly losing money on his fights. “I don’t believe it. Would he have an ESPN deal if he didn’t have Teofimo, Bud Crawford, and Lomachenko?
“He probably wouldn’t. He might be losing money but that doesn’t really move me very much. He’s going to expect to go fight the bigger fights for more money.
“So he’s going to assess the economic offer that Hayman makes him. And if Hayman makes him a big offer and he’s got all the natural opponents, he’s likely to go to Haymon. However, nobody makes deals to lose money.
“So it remains to be seen what happens next. I can’t even think about next October,” DiBella said when talking about Crawford’s contract with Top Rank running out in October 2021,” said DiBella.
It would be a huge mistake if Haymon paid Crawford a bunch of money signing him because he won’t be able to guarantee him the fights that he wants. Crawford would sign with PBC thinking he’s going to fight Pacquiao and Spence, and he might get stuck facing Porter and Ugas and losing to both.
If you’re Haymon, you’ve got to know what you’d be getting in signing Crawford, and it wouldn’t be worth it.
Crawford isn’t young, so Haymon wouldn’t have years to slowly build his fan base the way he’d do with a younger fighter. Right now, Crawford is about as popular as he’ll ever be, and that’s not saying much.
Big fights must happen now for Crawford
“On the one hand, Crawford’s people are frustrated he’s not getting the mega-fights,” DiBella said. “On the other hand, Arum’s not wrong that he’s paid this guy a s*** load of money to fight pedestrian level opposition.
“He’s treated him like a star, even though he’s been unable to cross the avenues to make deals with fighters from PBC. But in terms of how Crawford has earned and the number of people that have seen him fight, Top Rank has done pretty well by him.
“You got to give Arum some slack. The man is in his 80s and he doesn’t give a single f***. But also when you’re in your late 80s, you’re different. I cut him a little slack, but I was surprised.
“I think he went overboard, and I think Bud has reached that part of his career where those big fights have to happen or he’s going to be in the wrong end of his career. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out,” DiBella said.
Crawford, 33, is at the point in his career where he must get the important fights now before he’s over-the-hill. But where can he go to get those important fights?
If Crawford leaves Top Rank to sign with Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn, he’ll be limited to fighting these guys:
- Jessie Vargas
- Josh Kelly
- Conor Benn
- David Avanesyan
Obviously, it won’t work for Crawford if he inks with Matchroom, and his career will be worse off than it is now. Assuming that Crawford signs with Premier Boxing Champions, he still might not get the fights he wants.
Crawford wants to fight these popular welterweights:
- Manny Pacquiao
- Errol Spence Jr
- Keith Thurman
- Danny Garcia
Crawford might not get any of those PBC fighters to face him, even if he signs with Haymon. You have to realize that Haymon can’t force his fighters to face Crawford, and they probably won’t. He’s a counter puncher, and he’s a southpaw to boot. Who wants to fight those guys?
Crawford could fight Shawn Porter or Yordenis Ugas, both of which are with PBC, but those guys won’t bring big money. Moreover, they’d probably beat Crawford because they’re bad style match-ups for him. Ugas and Porter both know how to beat counter punchers, and southpaws do not phase them.
Terence has made money without taking risks
“I think he’s made a lot of money without taking a significant risk, and from a standpoint of boxing being a business, Crawford has done pretty well,” DiBella continued.
“And I certainly think it’s helpful if the fighter wants to do a lot,” DiBella said about the importance of Crawford doing interviews and social media to increase his popularity.
“I think guys that are heavily invested in social media like Ryan Garcia can really help their images and earning power. But other guys prefer to go home and hang out with their families and their kids.
“Bud is one of those guys. He’s not situated in a big city. He’s in Omaha, Nebraska. There’s a degree of truth in what Arum said, as a fighter can help himself by being active and self-promoting.
“But they’re not wrong that the primary responsibility to promote is the promoters. Now if the fighter says, ‘I don’t want to do A-B-C-D-E-F and G,’ then that’s on the fighter a little bit.
“If a promoter says, ‘I can offer you A-B-C-D-E-F and G promotional opportunities,’ and the fighter. The fighter says, ‘Nah, I just want to hang out and whatever. I don’t have the time.’ Then it’s on the fighter.
“If those promotional opportunities aren’t presented to the fight, it’s a little bit different,” said DiBella.
Crawford has made a lot of money during his 12-year by taking low risks, fighting guys like Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez Jr, Amir Khan, and Kell Brook. Top Rank obviously hoped that Crawford would have become a star by now, but it hasn’t happened.
It’s not just the lackluster opposition that Top Rank has been matching Crawford up that’s kept him down. You can argue that Crawford’s personality or lack thereof and the fighting style that has prevented him from becoming a star.
Crawford isn’t a great talker, and his southpaw, the counter-punching fighting style, is more reactive than pro-active.
Being ranked pound-for-pound status doesn’t matter
“I don’t think Crawford ever did an audience of 6 million people when Errol Spence fought after the Olympics,” said Lou. “But they have gotten a fair share of exposure. Spence is big in Texas.
“Dallas is a major, major market, but Omaha is not. That’s not Bud’s fault. Look, a fighter does a lot of good and a fighter has a responsibility to make himself someone cares about.
“Fighters are entertainers, and fighters have to realize that boxing is a subset of the entertainment industry. You could be a lesser fighter, but if more people care about you, you could be a star.
“And you can be a great fighter, but if no one cares about you, you’re not a star. You might be a pound-for-pound, but you don’t cross over to the casual fans or the general public.
“I’m going to guess probably in the boxing world, everyone that knows Spence knows Crawford.
“In the general population, Spence might be a little better known because of geography and more fights with multi-millions of people, and the fact that he’s already done a pay-per-view that was successful.
“Could they [Top Rank] push the [Jose] Ramirez fight earlier? I don’t know if Ramirez would have liked that. Could they have sought out Josh Taylor with a big number?
“The problem was what economics was going to justify that big number? If they brought Crawford to Scotland, would that have been something attractive? But then you had a pandemic hit. I guess the real answer is that nothing was going to be so easy for them,” said DiBella.
Top Rank could have matched Crawford against 140-pounders Jose Ramirez and or Josh Taylor by now, but they didn’t.
It’s pretty obvious why they chose not to do so, as Crawford’s lack of popularity wouldn’t make it worthwhile for those matches to be made.
Taylor likely wouldn’t agree to face Crawford in Glasgow, Scotland, unless there was a chance to make a lot of money from the fight, but there wouldn’t be big money. Crawford isn’t popular enough for Taylor to get anything fighting him.
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