By: Hans Themistode
Terence Crawford had grown acrimonious over the lack of big-name fighters that were willing to face him in the ring. With the pound-for-pound star finally landing his first marquee fight against Shawn Porter in November of 2021, the final fight of his contract with his former promotional outfit, Top Rank, Crawford decided against re-signing.
Amongst a long list of reasons why Crawford ultimately opted to leave, was Arum’s inability to land him a showdown against unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
“Bob couldn’t secure me the Spence fight when I was with him,” said Crawford following his 10th round stoppage win over Porter. “So how is he going to secure me the Spence fight when I’m not with him? I’m moving forward with my career right now and I wish everybody the best.”
Though Crawford has enjoyed a long and fruitful career under Top Rank’s promotional banner, the pound-for-pound star believes he was ultimately treated unfairly during his time with the company due to the color of his skin. As a result, Crawford is now seeking financial damages of nearly $10 million dollars.
The New York Post, who originally reported on the pending lawsuit, obtained a copy of Crawford’s complaints and claims.
“Crawford shines a spotlight on the systemic racism that runs through Top Rank,” said Bryan Freedom Crawford’s attorney. “Top Rank’s complete inability to properly promote Black fighters, and Top Rank, Arum and [his son-in-law] Todd DuBoef’s disparate treatment of Black fighters, including Crawford.”
“Arum clearly allows his revolting racial bias to impact the fighters he is obliged to promote. For years, professional boxers and others in the sports world have called out Top Rank’s owner Bob Arum for his disparate treatment of Black boxers, including those very same Black boxers that Top Rank is contractually obligated to promote.
“Because this is boxing, a sport with a checkered history, and because Arum is now dismissed as just a grumpy old white man, Arum continues to make racist and bigoted statements and purposefully damage the reputations of Black boxers without any consequences.
“This is generally because the affected boxers, who are in long-term contracts with Top Rank, fear that if they speak up, they will be placed on the sideline and not given the opportunity to fight during the life of their deal, which could be 5 to 7 years.”
“It is painfully clear that Top Rank, and especially Arum, judges people based on their race. Arum’s sordid history with athletes of color, especially Black fighters, and his bias favoring white and Latino fighters is well-documented and known throughout the boxing world.”
“Arum makes no secret of his deep-seated bias against Black fighters. For example, he called legendary Black boxer Floyd Mayweather ‘soft’ and claimed that he ‘shoots up cars’ — reinforcing an invidious racist stereotype with no basis in fact.
“He consistently mocks rival boxing promoter Al Haymon — who is a Black man — and his relationship with Black fighters, saying Haymon would steer a Black fighter away from fighting Crawford out of a sense of ‘brotherhood.’”
Furthermore, Crawford has taken offense to Arum’s belittling comments over the years surrounding his star power. Although Arum has stated time and time again that he believes Crawford is the best welterweight in the world and an all-time great fighter, the longtime promoter has emphasized on numerous occasions that Crawford isn’t a pay-per-view star. In fact, Arum has gone as far as to say that he has lost money on every Crawford pay-per-view due to their middling overall numbers.
“[Arum] launched a smear campaign against Crawford to paint him as an unexciting, unprofitable fighter who could not draw viewers.
“In truth, Top Rank, a company with zero Black executives, and only two or three Black employees, refuses to admit that it simply does not care about, support, or know how to promote Black fighters. Recently, while most businesses have become sensitive to issues of race and social justice, Top Rank has not.
“At a time when most businesses took steps to honor Black lives in the wake of the George Floyd murder, Top Rank actually refused to place the Black Lives Matter logo on the mats of its boxing rings.
“Instead of standing behind a Black fighter such as Crawford, it publicly criticized him … Top Rank’s current smear campaign is deliberately aimed at punishing Crawford for possibly leaving Top Rank by making it harder for him to sign with a new boxing promoter.”
“Tellingly, Arum has not subjected any of his white fighters to this kind of vicious, vengeful treatment. Clearly, Arum feels he is entitled to profit indefinitely off Crawford and other Black fighters, and he will retaliate whenever they dare to assert their independence.”
“In this action, Crawford seeks to right the wrongs inflicted on him by Top Rank. Top Rank has repeatedly breached its contracts with Crawford, and in fact, defrauded him into entering agreements in the first place.”
“Since Top Rank … will not police themselves, do the right thing, and move forward as a responsible business in 2022, Crawford, who backs down to no one, will make them do so … Arum has made millions off the backs of boxers of color, including Black boxers. His racist attitudes pervade every aspect of his dealings with Black boxers like Crawford.”
Considering what Arum believed was a close and personal relationship with Crawford, the newly turned 90-year-old was completely taken aback by the entire ordeal.
“I haven’t seen the lawsuit yet,” said Arum. “But it’s ridiculous.”
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