Bob Arum: I don’t care if Crawford got mad at me, I’m losing money on him

Bob Arum says he doesn’t care if Terence Crawford is mad at him for his comments because he doesn’t want to continue losing money on his fights. Arum says he’d like to set up a fight with IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr, and if Crawford wins, he’s free to sign with Al Haymon.

Top Rank promoter Arum is upset, saying that he lost a lot of money on Crawford’s last couple of fights, and he doesn’t want to continue to hemorrhage money.

Crawford’s contract with Top Rank runs next year, and it doesn’t sound like the two will continue working with another. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s interested in signing Crawford, but he’s not sure if he’ll be any better off than Arum trying to make money with him.

Hearn already has an American fighter Demetrius Andrade that he’s having a hard time trying to get important fights for. If Hearn signs, he may end up in the same situation.

Bob Arum, Terence Crawford boxing image / photo

“I don’t give a s*** if [his team] got mad at me. This business is not about getting mad. What’d I say that was wrong? This business is about facts and the reality of the situation,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to The Athletic.

“I’ll show him how much we’ve lost on his fights… I’m no longer in the business of losing money on Terence Crawford,” said Arum. “If we did this fight with Spence and put our money in for half, and Crawford wins and [Al] Haymon wants to sign him, be my guest, for Christ’s sake.”

It’s not surprising that Crawford hasn’t turned into a start, considering that he’s been matched up against fighters that aren’t big enough names for his fights to get any attention.

When a promoter is making fights that the fans view as one-sided mismatches, they’re not going to get excited about them.

These are Crawford’s last eight opponents:

  • Kell Brook – past his best
  • Egidijus Kavaliauskas – a little fringe contender
  • Amir Khan – over-the-hill
  • Jose Benavidez Jr
  • Jeff Horn
  • Julius Indongo
  • Felix Diaz
  • John Molina Jr

With that kind of opposition, it’s no wonder that Crawford hasn’t turned into a star. He’s facing opposition. No one would be able to gain a fan base fighting. If you took Floyd Mayweather at the start of his career and matched him against those guys, he wouldn’t be a star.

If Arum had problems getting the talented PBC fighters to face Crawford, he should have encouraged him to float between divisions and go up or down in weight to look for fights. Paul Williams did that, and many other fighters have, like Roy Jones Jr and Mayweather.

If Crawford were willing to fight guys at 140 and 154, he’d have the option of facing these fighters:

  • Jermell Charlo
  • Tony Harrison
  • Jarrett Hurd
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Josh Taylor
  • Regis Prograis
  • Erickson Lubin
  • Israil Madrimov
  • Erislandy Lara

Things are getting bleak for the 33-year-old Crawford, and he’s going to have to do something. He’s got one more year left with Top Rank, and if he goes to PBC, it’s not a certainty that he’s going to get the fights he wants.

Bob Arum, Terence Crawford boxing image / photo
Yeah, Spence and Shawn Porter might fight Crawford, but those are guys that would have an excellent chance of beating him. Crawford couldn’t count on Spence and Porter being weight drained and knocked out by a simple jab the way Kell Brook was last Saturday night.

“In other words, I am not going to go into my pocket anymore for Terence Crawford,” said Arum.

“I don’t have to make a lot of money with him on this [the Errol Spence fight], but I know I’ll break even or make a couple of dollars. I’m no longer in the business of losing money on Terence Crawford,” said Arum.

Crawford was losing to Brook when he hurt him with a jab in the fourth round. That same punch wouldn’t get Spence or Porter’s attention. They’d walk through it and make things miserable for Crawford.

PBC could end up inheriting Arum’s problem if they sign Crawford, and they may end up kicking themselves if he fails to become a star. It’ll not be good if Spence, Porter, Keith Thurman, and Yordenis Ugas all beat Crawford. It would just show you that the years that Top Rank was matching Crawford against lesser fighters disguised his vulnerability.

Crawford, 33, is an excellent fighter, but the top guys don’t want to fight him. He’s been avoided by the elite welterweights, which has hurt his career. Arum has been in an impossible position all these years. He’s got a great fighter in Crawford, but he can’t do anything with him because he’s hard to match.

The other thing that Arum talked about this week is Crawford hasn’t done much to stir up interest in his fights by marketing himself the way that Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Teofimo Lopez have done.

You can argue that Crawford needs a good PR guy to help him build his fan base outside of the ring through interviews and social media. Crawford would need someone good at PR. If Crawford gets a bad PR person, they’ll be too exclusive in choosing just the main sports organization and end up limiting his reach. We’ve seen before with PR people.

Bob Arum, Terence Crawford boxing image / photo

Even a good PR guy isn’t going to be able to transform Crawford magically into a guy with charisma like Conor McGregor or Teofimo Lopez. Unless they’re going to be standing behind Crawford and telling him what to say and how to respond to questions from the media, it might be a waste of time.

Manny Pacquiao has never been a great talker, but he had Freddie Roach handling many the interviews during his best years. Roach did a great job of talking trash and drumming up support during the build-up to his fights.

Crawford doesn’t have a charismatic trainer like Roach to do the talking for him, so he’s not going to be able to go in that direction.

You can understand why Arum is at the end of his tether with Crawford. If Arum is losing money, as he says, the situation is untenable. Sometimes great fighters cannot build a fan base for whatever reason, and you have to let them go if you don’t want to lose money on them.

Again, Crawford could expand his horizons if he were willing to move up to 154 or 160. If he did what Kell Brook did in going up to 160 to take on someone like Golovkin, it would help his popularity. The question is, would Crawford be willing to take a career risk like that? Probably not.