Terence Crawford: Boxing’s Most Talented Nowhere Man

By Paul Magno on April 12, 2018
Terence Crawford: Boxing’s Most Talented Nowhere Man
He is no worse than No. 3 on any sane, logical list of the sport’s best fighters. (Jim Krantz)

Crawford’s promoter (and I use that term very loosely), Bob Arum, seems to have officially stopped caring about getting him real exposure…

Terence Crawford is the all-around best fighter in the world today. And even if you insist on being wrong about judging boxing talent, Crawford is no worse than no. 3 on any sane, logical list of the sport’s best fighters.

In a perfect world, the uniquely skilled boxer-puncher from Omaha, Nebraska would be a mainstream star. In this imperfect world, he should at least be a high-drawing boxing star, capable of selling PPVs and generating seven-figure TV ratings.

This is not the case, however. As a matter of fact, his promoter (and I use that term very loosely), Bob Arum, seems to have officially stopped caring about getting him real exposure.

The decision to put Crawford’s welterweight debut June 9 against WBO titlist Jeff Horn on ESPN’s new streaming app and not on the main ESPN platform is blatant disrespect and a virtual crotch shot to Crawford and his career earning potential.

Yes, Crawford is bound by the decision he made to allow Arum to promote him. And, yes, promotional stablemate Manny Pacquiao’s flat-out refusal to even acknowledge his existence is a big reason Crawford has not been able to springboard to next-level fame and fortune.

But one would think that Arum and his team at Top Rank would’ve had some sort of back-up plan for the very real possibility that Pacquiao might not willingly want to pass the torch to someone who could potentially mop the canvas with him. They also could be less stubborn about their usual fixation on keeping fights and fighters “in house.” Crawford could be earning big money fighting the likes of Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and eventually Errol Spence and Keith Thurman—and he has a solid chance of beating them all. He would certainly be more of an earner and asset to the company fighting “out of house” than by taking on a paper champion for a small audience on a new subscription-based streaming service.

The promise of mainstream exposure energized the boxing world when it was first announced that Arum would be pulling his talent away from the premium cable HBO paywall system and over to basic cable ESPN. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions project, for various odd and ugly reasons, had been slammed mercilessly for an even bolder push to the mainstream, but the Arum deal was almost universally well-received. Finally, guys like Crawford and Lomachenko would be getting some attention outside of the niche boxing market—or so the boxing world assumed.

That push has been there for Lomachenko, who’s growing fame is being leveraged into a big May 12 bout with Jorge Linares. Meanwhile, Crawford, who delivered solid ratings in his debut ESPN showcase against Julius Indongo in a four-belt junior welterweight unification last August, is getting pushed to smaller waters.

And even if Crawford beats Horn to the delight of a few thousand (maybe a few hundred) hardcore fans, where does he go from there? There’s nobody lined up for him, no real competition within the Top Rank family, and his marketability will be diminished from having performed on a fringe streaming service after nearly 10 months of inactivity.

In general, this is not a good time to be an American boxer. American fight fans are just not embracing their own. One could understand the fan indifference when guys like Andre Berto and Devon Alexander were “names” who failed to deliver on big promise. Even skilled fighters like Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward were dismissible as acquired tastes. But the US scene right now is packed with fan-friendly fighters, who do, indeed, put on the type of aggression-based fights fans claim to crave. And a guy like Crawford—who is supremely skilled but is also offense-minded and a fierce finisher—would seem to be precisely the type of fighter Americans love.

An overall stagnant domestic fan base has put Crawford in a bad spot and the jaded, fickle fans seem stuck on investing their time and money on simpler, more exotic brutes. And it sure doesn’t help that those entrusted with promoting Crawford seem to have stopped trying to actually promote him.

At 30 years of age and with the window slowly closing on his physical prime, Terence Crawford has to step up and figure out a way to take full control of his career. Those who are currently in charge of his career path are taking him down the road to nowhere.

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  1. Fe’Roz 06:10pm, 04/14/2018

    You talk about other promoters reaching out to get their fighters better competition and I tell you Haymon can’t even get his fighters fights, so explain to us readers you’re brilliant way forward

    Spence on Thurman, Garcia: Haymon Can’t Make Them Fight Me

    IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence (23-0) recently met with the media in Las Vegas and discussed a variety of topics in his boxing career.
    Next up for Spence is his IBF mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo (22-0).  ThJune 16th fight will be a Dallas homecoming for the Texas resident.
    Spence has called out the big names in the division but so far none of them appear very eager to face him in the ring.  He said that he plans on staying active even if the big fights don’t come his way.“With Keith Thurman being injured again it looks like his date is getting pushed back. I don’t know when he is fighting again so I don’t know which is a big fight for me right now.  Then you have Danny Garcia who is supposed to fight Shawn Porter for the mandatory WBC so I don’t know but I am going to stay busy though,” he explained.

    Thurman, Garcia, Porter and Spence are all managed by Al Haymon but Spence said that even though they share the same management team, there isn’t any guarantee he will be able to fight any of them. He said that Haymon can only do so much and can’t force anyone to fight if they aren’t willing to take the fight.
    “It’s in black and white. I have been calling these guys out. We all have the same managers. We all talk to one person and he already wanted me to fight these guys but he can’t make them fight,” Spence explained.
    “At the end of the day he is the manager to them too and he is looking for their best interest too. I can’t make these guys fight. All I can do is stay busy, stay in the ring and stay sharp.”

  2. Fe'Roz 11:27pm, 04/13/2018

    Promotion is a combination of matchmaking, selecting the right and progressively better venues, and cultivating both market and audience for a talent. It’s the same in every industry. Get the kid in front of the right eyeballs, build a loyalty and then roll it out. Terence was a nobody from Nebraska. In the last six or seven fights he’s fought outside of TR stable six times. He has made more money and had more eyeballs since 2016 than anyone not named Joshua. His value is growing. The opponents you speak of Keith Once Upon A Time Thurman Shawn Porter and Errol cant attract close to what Terence is already doing. And he’s not even a welterweight yet. To suggest that you know a better formula and/or are critiquing one that is succeeding beyond his peers make you….with you byline….a troll. And a party line on a that. If you want to argue about ESPN+ I’m happy to take it on.

  3. Paul Magno 10:53pm, 04/13/2018

    @Fe…It’s laughable that you call any of this “promotion.” Stick a kid in his hometown to a packed auditorium full of friends, family, and hangers-on…get him on HBO for a network-guaranteed purse so he can fight for the same 700-900K that watch every fight no matter what…send out some press releases to media…please… that’s not promotion…I don’t think there’s a single real promoter in all of boxing anymore…Crawford getting 950K viewers on a platform that has a potential audience of 100 million is NOT impressive…Showtime only has 24 million subscribers and delivers a larger share of its audience to its boxing content…Crawford basically got the audience on ESPN what he got on HBO…meaning, the same fans who watch all of the boxing on HBO just switched over to ESPN…not one single new fan…again…that ain’t promotion…and going from 950K on ESPN to a few hundred fans on a new streaming app? Absurd…How, exactly, is he going to be this big breakout star fighting where nobody can see him? If Arum could’ve made him a big star, he would’ve done so already…Arum needs to farm him out and put him where people will actually see him do something worthwhile…Arum will pull the trigger on cross-promotional fights when he knows he has the goods and stands a better than good chance of his guy winning…but Crawford fights with Spence, Thurman, etc. only happen if he brings something to the table, more money than can be had be fighting one another…and diminishing his star with 10 months of nothing followed by a welterweight debut to crickets on ESPN+ is not building marketability, no matter how much you’d like for it to be so…this is major disrespect and it’s a waste of a very valuable year in the prime of Crawford’s career…

  4. Fe'Roz 10:47pm, 04/13/2018

    “ut…what, exactly, do PBC and Al Haymon have to do with Crawford being buried on a new streaming app.

    Uh. Nothing. Because they don’t have a clue how to promote in a shifting landscape. When the only name you hear between NBA games 4 and 5 is Terence Crawford in anticipation of his fight…..you’ll learn..

    In the meantime, Steve Kim is a great guy but I can give him info days before he goes to print. I don’t read it

  5. Fe'Roz 10:33pm, 04/13/2018

    I want Bud to be recogonized as tge great p4per that he is but whehen i read yout or listen over the yesrs as to how Tim bardley should left TR ( resume. life and weath) surpassed every weleter knot named Manny or Folf….or that so and so should lee=ave for some magical green pastures It iuded to be GBP and SHO then PBC with their remarkable full ncupborads….well, they ones that staid became HOF fighters , Immensely weat=lthey anbd thaos Sho Pbc GBP guys, all beeceme wannabes, who never got the promotion or ecxposurte sitting in their roster…afreaid to walk inta Haymons office and sat Get ne Crawfoird, or Bradley Or manny, Or Lomachenko. They we basically a bunch of spoiuled entitled fighters who had great potential but never understood or had real promotion. WHy? Because Haymon isn’t a promoter. So it;s not that it TR or else..It’s that TR ius the best. Iwill and has absulutely made a name of Crawford and the kid can hardly speak. But I can suure you he gets what he wabnts soon and his victin will look like aPorter or Garcia….as long as they dont ask stupid money…the esiest way to refuse a fight. Arum will work with Al’s boys but unless Al tells them it’s ok…they have the balls only donald trunp would brag about. Peanuts. I wouldn’t worry about Terence,.  whenb you see his numbrs nexzt, you can try to find a B side opponnet for him…becauyse he will be the best KNOWN welterweight Chamion in the world. With the bigggest audience. And plese dont even try to compare spences numbers god bless his soul. SHO got him 350 k and 650 k; the former for Brook!!! THAT sucks. Crawford in the bettter platform avaerages over a million….and he’s not even a welter. SO go on and tell us how Danny Garcuia Shawn Porter, Errlo Spoence, And Thurman an are going to be stars and are well promoted. I need a good laugh

  6. Paul Magno 09:57pm, 04/13/2018

    @Fe…I know you’re an angry troll and the first rule of adult internet discourse is to not feed the trolls…But…what, exactly, do PBC and Al Haymon have to do with Crawford being buried on a new streaming app? The only road to real stardom and a real legacy befitting his talents is via fighting the very best in the welterweight division with the highest profiles…and I don’t care if they are with Haymon, King, Hearn, or whoever…I want Crawford to get those fights and become this generation’s Sugar Ray Leonard…That doesn’t mean he has to leave Top Rank…but you know as well as I do that, without some pressure applied, Arum will always look inward when it comes to matchmaking, just like everyone else in the business…and if you’re buying a Steve Kim load of propaganda about Haymon never reaching across the aisle to other entities when it comes to their A-side talent…the same damn thing can be said for Arum…So, why not put some pressure on Arum, who will have Crawford all alone at 147 when Bud beats Horn, to be the one who approaches the entity where the other big names all reside? Why the resistance to putting Crawford where the big fights are? Or are you arguing that the forever hopeless chase of a Pacquiao fight, a return bout with Jeff Horn, or a squash of Mike Alvarado are all worthy of Crawford’s physical prime? The only one with an agenda here is you…I just want to see Crawford become the star he should be…Period…PBC and Haymon are in this discussion only because you put them there…Taking Crawford to that next level involves fighting Spence, Thurman, and guys like Garcia and Porter…and because Crawford is Arum’s fighter, it falls on Arum to move his guy where the biggest, best fights are…this move to the streaming app kills any momentum Crawford may have had coming in…he may as well not be fighting at all….one fight since August of last year, 10 months off…and then straight to a new streaming app where viewership may be in the triple digits….that is pure disrespect…forget PBC and Haymon…if you can’t see that, you are as dumb as you appear to be…

  7. Fe'Roz 08:53pm, 04/13/2018

    I had to laugh one more time when I looked at what you think is good promotion; going out of house to get better competition.

    Charlo is fighting Centano PBC/PBC

    Broner is fighting Vargas PBC/PBC

    Chickenson/Jack PBC/PBC Three years after deestroying Stevenson’s career

    Charlo vs Trout PBC/PBC

    Cherry vs Galarza PBC/PBC Haha Edner Cherry

    Miguel Cruz vs Josesito Lopez PBC/PBC

    Davia vs Cuellar   WOW PBC/Some other firm

    Jacobs vs Sulecki   Surprise PBC vs PBC

    LSC vs Mares Two years later PBC/PBC

    See the pattern. Haymon sticks them on the bench Makes them either forgotten complacent or irrelevant, lets’s then do all their own SM promotion….and then he keeps his shit in house.

    What a frigging magician. He can make other peoples money disappear but he cant make a star.

  8. Fe’Roz 08:05pm, 04/13/2018

    You’re funny but so transparent you must have forgotten to read your original copy

    “They also could be less stubborn about their usual fixation on keeping fights and fighters “in house.” Crawford could be earning big money fighting the likes of Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and eventually Errol Spence and Keith Thurman—and he has a solid chance of beating them all. He would certainly be more of an earner and asset to the company fighting “out of house” than by taking on a paper champion for a small audience on a new subscription-based streaming service.”

    You very specifically wrote about PBC/Haymon fighter’s with the clear implication that they are somehow greater fighters or attractions to the fighters Crawford has fought to date and/or will in the future. So don’t suggest that I brought it up and then hide behind your byline. The fact is in Terence’s last seven fights six were against fighters that were not in house. Only Postol, everyone’s consensus number two was TR.

    Shawn porter bless his trying heart can’t even get his own management to get him the first gets he wants, so his career is an occasional Fighthype or SHO interview. Thurman is becoming everyone’s old news. Injury or not. You don’t see him suggesting we’re going to see him in with a legit opponent for another year. And Errol,  the most talented and charming is set to fight s no hoper who has barely fought ten rounds. To add injury to insult, they all think they’re worth millions because they were once overpaid and are now disincentivized. 

    Meanwhile Terence will be watched between games 4 and 5 NBA where he won’t be sandwiched, he’ll be marketed like nobody’s business.

  9. Paul Magno 03:30pm, 04/13/2018

    @Fe….Typically, when someone takes a shot at me, personally, in the first line of a comment, I just stop reading…because those people aren’t serious about having a discussion, they’re just burning because they have an agenda…and your agenda seems to come straight from Top Rank talking points….I never once mentioned PBC or Haymon, except in a passing comment about their own efforts to go “mainstream”...The fact that you are so clearly fixated on them is proof positive that you are the one with a deep, deep bias…What Haymon does or doesn’t do with his guys has no effect on Crawford’s plight…All of your “points” are just wrong, too…or, at least, heavily spun to favor your agenda and the agenda of whoever you choose to get your info from…I can easily refute just about every single one, but that would be pointless, right? Because your raging bias makes any attempt at having a logical discussion just a waste of time…Forget your obsession with Haymon for a second…if you think sticking the world’s best fighter, in maybe the biggest fight of his career, on a new streaming app for an audience of hundreds is good promotion, you are out of your fucking mind…if you think sticking him on a PPV for the second biggest fight of his career, to tank miserably at 50K buys is good promotion, then you are either extremely stupid or deeply brainwashed…maybe both…

  10. Fe'Roz 11:46pm, 04/12/2018

    Magno, Don’t take an extra dat to see what Haymon’s talkig words might be.. Answer me. Now. What has PBC done ton creeate star comparable to Loamachecko or Crawford. Nothin. They used affirmative action to create ewelare queens; sukling ofvc the test of that deplted PBC

  11. Fe'Roz 08:18pm, 04/12/2018

    Well Mr Magno, It seems like you;re willing to write a steaming pile of shit but are adverse to responding. Such is tha cowardice afforded to keyboard warriors. Let’s look at promotion. In his last seven fights, Crawford has fought exactly ONE fighter from Top Rank, the then number two junior welter Viktor Postol, who he dominated. Other thatn that he has been featured three times at MSG and twic at the MGM Grand in Vegas and once in Nebraska. His TV ratings have beaten the Errol Spence Jr’s and all of the other PBC fighters since that one Turman fight THREE years ago….before Al Haymon stopped his fighters from fighting each other or anyone else. TR keeps Crawford busy. THEY made a quiet kis a star. VIa promotion. He is about to bhecome a highly paid ww champion with bigger things ahed…..if only Haymon would let one of his punks fight…at all. Crawford would eat up Danny Garcia. Make Porter look like the sparring mate he is. And as far as Keith Once Upon a Time Thurman, who the hell knows. Thurman NEVER fights. I know. He has a boo boo on his elbow. Cry me a fucking river . This is the hurt business. Errol would fight him but Al Haymon has him fighting a chump who has barely ever fought ten rounds, Ocampo; a no hoper. Yeah, Terence is black and yeas, like Errol, he’s a soft spoken killer. But to suggest that TC isn’t being promoted is to be either in Haymon/PBC’s pocket or up their ass…or to be blind. Take me on. I will happily respond.

  12. The Beast of Bodmin 01:25pm, 04/12/2018

    For what it’s worth I think Magno is spot on. If Crawford was British he would be fighting in full stadiums regardless of his colour. FFS, even Ricky Burns can get 20,000 bums on seats. Compare the skill level and achievements of Crawford and Ricky Hatton with their respective fan bases. Case closed.
    I know Hatton was especially popular in the UK, but he dragged more people across the Atlantic to his weigh-in with Mayweather than could be bothered to watch last week’s unification fight between Lara and Hurd. Boxing is a niche sport in America at the moment.

  13. nicolas 10:54am, 04/12/2018

    Mr. Magno states that this is not a good time to be an American boxer. He points out that Lomachencho is being pushed far more. It is not that this is a better time to be a foreign fighter, and not an American one. the problem is that in the USA there are no white boxing stars from the USA. The last one really was Kelly Pavlik. I am sure that if Crawford were a white guy, and even perhaps Hispanic, he would get more push. People always criticized Mayweather and Broner for there antics, but the sad truth is that put butts in the seats. Did not the white Eastern European fighters use to go to Germany? but now they come to the USA. Think about this. South Africa has more white boxing stars than the USA, and so does Northern Ireland. As it is though, Mr. Crawford is getting a title shot.

  14. jim 05:58am, 04/12/2018

    Paul Magno is a hater. Can we please get a real non biased sport writer?

  15. Fe'Roz 01:15am, 04/12/2018

    Paul, do your best defending haymon and his vaunted stable of once a year fighters. illuminate us,

  16. Fe'Roz 12:57am, 04/12/2018

    Let’s see how fast Haymon is to let his minions fight Crawford once he’s he’s welterweight champ. My guess: A giant thumb up hsi sass

  17. Fe'Roz 12:30am, 04/12/2018

    You are obviously a shill for PBC or some other entities like PBC and SHO. The fact is that Terence Crawford has built a bigger audience (viewers per fight) than the likes of Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and…Errol Spence; all fighters who get limited exposure once a year by the obstructionist extraordinaire, Al Haymon. TR gets two guys, one a quiet kid from OMAHA and another a Ukraranian, worldwide recognition as two of the best fighters in the world….and you question that promotion. Compare these two to Andre Ward, an Olympic Gold medalist who could barely fill an arena outside of of Oaklans. Or Deontay Wilder, anAmerican Heavyweight who untul just now had the shitiest ratings on TV imaginable for a heavyweight from The US. And forget Danny Garcia. Or poor Shawn. Or…ouch…Keith Thurman…who only fight once a year. Terence is fighting for his first WW title against a legit opponent with a folowing. Spence is fightiong an absolutew no hoper whio has barely fought a ten rounder more than a half down times ...and you think that’s opromotion. Garcia fighting TR’s throwaways i Rios somehow matters . Please. Be less transparent. Crawford is a quiet all busness in the ring fighter. His star is rising while the bench sitter at PBC get spolinters up their asses.

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