Terence Crawford Sues Top Rank, Insists Racism Played A Role In His Failure To Become A PPV Star, Seeking Nearly $10 Million In Damages
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.”
Shakur Stevenson Likely To Face Miguel Berchelt Says Bob Arum
By: Hans Themistode
It appears as though Shakur Stevenson is on the verge of getting exactly what he wants. He’ll just have to wait slightly longer than he would like.
Just a few short weeks ago, the former 2016 Olympic silver medalist truncated the title reign of former WBO 130 pound champion, Jamel Herring. Stevenson picked his man apart in front of a crowd of just over 5,000 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Once Stevenson ripped away Herring’s title and wrapped it around his 24-year-old waist, he immediately turned his attention to WBC belt holder, Oscar Valdez. For months now, Stevenson has wanted to snag away both Valdez’s title and his perfect record. But while the two-division titlist was hoping to face him next, promoter Bob Arum has other ideas.
“I want Valdez to fight Emanuel Navarrete,” said Arum during an interview with SkySports. “And to match Shakur against maybe [Miguel] Berchelt, who Valdez beat in a spectacular fight. We’d see how Shakur does with Berchelt, then we can match the winners.”
As previously mentioned by Arum, Berchelt was last seen in the ring suffering the most lopsided loss of his career. On February 20th, at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada, Berchelt squared off against Valdez in an all-Mexican showdown. By and large, Berchelt was expected to retain his WBC title. With that said, Valdez would put on a career-best performance, dropping Berchelt a four total of times before picking up a tenth-round stoppage victory.
Berchelt has since hinted at the idea of moving up in weight but at the moment, still competes at 130 pounds. While Stevenson has pushed back at the thought of facing anyone other than Valdez next, Arum is hoping to change his mind.
Long before Stevenson snagged his second world title in as many weight classes, the long-time promoter has been intrigued by the idea of having Valdez take on Navarrete.
Presently, the 126-pound champion would be forced to move up to 130 pounds in order to face Valdez. The come-forward Mexican recently fought a fight of the year contender against Joet Gonzalez, winning a close unanimous decision.
In the terms of when Arum plans on putting together this mini 130-pound tournament, the first quarter of 2022 seems like the logical answer.
“I think that’s the way to go. That’s what we will suggest to them. I hope to have Shakur back in the ring in March or April. Same thing with Valdez and Navarrete.”
Bob Arum: “Whatever New Trainer He [Anthony Joshua] Gets, He Ain’t Gonna Beat Oleksandr Usyk”
By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Joshua is seemingly on the prowl for the next lead man in his corner.
After suffering a close but clear unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk on September 25th, in front of his hometown crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the United Kingdom, Joshua appears to be ready for a change.
The British native was openly criticized by media pundits, fans, and his fellow boxing contemporaries, for the game plan his team attempted to implement on fight night.
Usyk, 33, is known for his terrific boxing ability. With a 2012 Olympic gold medal, as well as an undisputed title reign in the cruiserweight division, the prevailing thought process surrounding his showdown against Joshua, was that the extremely muscular unified champion would use his size and girth to his advantage.
To the surprise of many, Joshua sought to outbox his much more skilled opponent. Ultimately, Joshua’s latest defeat has seemingly pushed him away from long-time head trainer Rob McCracken. Recently, Joshua has been seen making the rounds around several boxing gyms as he appears to be in search of a new lead voice. Amongst the many trainers Joshua has looked into, are Ronnie Shields, Eddy Reynoso, and Robert Garcia.
At the moment, Joshua has yet to officially switch trainers. However, if the former unified heavyweight titlist decides to seek help outside of his comfort zone, promoter Bob Arum views it as a complete waste of time.
“Whatever new trainer he gets, he ain’t gonna beat Oleksandr Usyk,” said Arum during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “Not now, not next year.”
With Joshua invoking his immediate rematch clause, the pair will lock horns again during the first quarter of 2022. An apoplectic Joshua was originally taken aback by what Usyk was able to accomplish in their first showdown. Despite being the much smaller man, the pound-for-pound star dominated the middle of the ring and sat in the wheelhouse of Joshua for long stretches of time, unafraid of the assault that was heading in his direction.
In the 12th and final round, Usyk appeared to be on the verge of scoring the knockout win. He pounded a hapless Joshua relentlessly against the ropes in the final seconds of their contest. With just a few months remaining until the two square off once again, Arum shakes his head as Joshua appears to be cramming last-minute knowledge into his cranium.
No matter whom Joshua picks as the man who will lead him into battle, Arum is of the belief that at this point in his career, Joshua simply doesn’t have the time.
“Usyk is too smart for him and he’s a southpaw. Joshua is not going to learn in six months what he never learned, which is how to fight a southpaw.”
Bob Arum “Rooting” For Oleksandr Usyk To Dethrone Anthony Joshua
By: Hans Themistode
Whenever Bob Arum lays his eyes on unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, they immediately fill with dollar signs. The long-time promoter knows good and well that Joshua represents a massive payday for himself, his promotional company Top Rank, and of course, WBC/Ring Magazine heavyweight titlist, Tyson Fury.
Just a few short months ago, Arum believed he had a deal in place that would pit Joshua and Fury in the ring against one another on a two-fight contract. Their undisputed title fight was set to take place on the other side of the world in Saudi Arabia. Yet, with Fury contractually mandated to take on Deontay Wilder instead, Joshua has also moved on to facing WBO mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, on September 25th.
Under normal circumstances, Arum would be screaming at the top of his lungs in support of Joshua. With tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars on the line, the long-time promoter would be crossing his fingers in the hopes that Joshua makes it the dance floor against Fury. However, with Usyk holding a special place in the heart of Arum, the 89-year-old promoter is hoping the highly touted Ukrainian gets the job done.
“Usyk is a friend of mine because he is Vasiliy Lomachenko’s friend,” said Arum during an interview with Sky Sports. “He is a terrific guy, funny, articulate and smart. It is against my economic interest, but I will be rooting for [Usyk] in the fight. I just can’t help myself.”
While Arum doesn’t promote Usyk, he does share a close connection with Lomachenko, one of Arum’s top fighters. Both men captured gold in the 2012 Olympics, the heavyweight division for Usyk and the lightweight division for Lomachenko.
Currently, despite pulling for Usyk, the pound-for-pound star has opened up as a sizable underdog. Not only does the betting market favor Joshua but many in the boxing community also believe the gargantuan heavyweight champion will get the job done.
In Usyk’s most recent trip to the ring, the Ukrainian took on fringe contender Dereck Chisora. While the former cruiserweight king may have eked out a close unanimous decision victory, the British native was left unimpressed with his opponent.
“Joshua will run through Usyk,” said Chisora following their contest. “He doesn’t have any power at all.”
As for Joshua, the 31-year-old has been hard at work as he prepares to deal with the technical boxing ability of Usyk. The unified titlist was last seen in the ring in December of 2020 against Kubrat Pulev. Joshua had little to no trouble dealing with his man, dropping him a total of four times before ultimately ending his night in the ninth.
Bob Arum: “Forget The Spence Thing, Crawford’s Biggest Fight Out There Is Josh Taylor And Teofimo Moving Up”
By: Hans Themistode
Bob Arum is a busy man. The long-time headman over at Top Rank is currently prepping for tonight’s showdown between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Masayoshi Nakatani. He’s also promoting the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between WBC/Ring magazine titlist, Tyson Fury and former belt holder Deontay Wilder.
Amongst other things, Arum is also hard at work as he attempts to build former Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson into a star. While Arum may have a full plate of responsibilities, one thing that certainly will no longer entertain is a possible showdown between his fighter, current WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, and unified titlist, Errol Spence Jr.
For a number of years now, fans have held out hope that the two would finally enter the ring against one another to end the debate surrounding who is the best fighter at 147 pounds. Yet, after Spence Jr.’s most recent comments, Arum is now firmly of the belief that their clash simply will never come to pass.
“I most likely have two more fights at 147,” said Spence Jr. during a recent interview on Barbershop Conversations. “I’m going to go across the street [to Top Rank] to see what they’re talking about [for a potential Crawford fight]. If they are not talking about nothing, I’m moving up to 154. After the (Manny Pacquiao) Pacman fight hopefully we can make something happen.”
With Spence Jr. and Pacquiao set to face off on August 21st at the T-Mobile Arena, Arum is fully convinced that it will be the last time anyone sees the Dallas native competing at 147 pounds.
“Forget the Spence thing,” said Arum to a group of reporters. “Spence knows he can’t beat Crawford and he’s going to go up in weight after the Pacquiao fight, so forget that.”
With Spence Jr. seemingly off the table for good, Arum has turned his immediate attention to his current stable of fighters. For the most part, fans have grown somewhat tired of watching Crawford compete against the competition available to him at Top Rank. While fans have become enamored with possible matchups for Crawford against the likes of Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Yordenis Ugas and several others – all of those aforementioned names are currently associated with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). And to this date, Arum has continued to have his issues with them in terms of working out fight agreements.
Whether Arum can work something out with PBC or not is ultimately inconsequential. In his opinion, he has the two biggest fights for Crawford, both now and in the not so distant future.
“Crawford’s biggest fight out there is Josh Taylor and Teofimo (Lopez) moving up,” explained Arum.
In the case of Taylor, following his win against Jose Ramirez a few weeks ago, the British native became the first undisputed champion at 140 pounds since Crawford accomplished the feat in 2017. He hasn’t shied away from the possibility of facing Crawford either but in terms of timing, Arum views that matchup as a real possibility in 2022.
As for Lopez, the unified 135-pound champion is seemingly years away from fighting at 147 pounds. He has, however, shown a clear interest in moving up to 140 pounds to face Taylor.
While Arum continues to discuss the future of Crawford, he is slowly turning his attention to the here and now. The former three-division titlist hasn’t stepped foot inside the ring since November of 2020 when he took on former belt holder, Kell Brook. Crawford made it look incredibly easy on the night, stopping the long-faded former champion in the fourth round. With regard to what could be next for Crawford, Arum revealed that they are currently going over several names.
“I have no idea. His people are now sorting through. There are plenty of good candidates. Welterweight, Jr welterweight, we’ll come up with the best possible opponent.”
Bob Arum Believes Gervonta Davis Has No Chance Against Josh Taylor: “I Don’t Think That Taylor Would Have Any Trouble With Him”
By: Hans Themistode
The sport of boxing can be a bit confusing at times.
Just a few weeks ago, Josh Taylor claimed every world title at 140 pounds by defeating former unified champion Jose Ramirez. The two battled it out at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taylor would go on to drop Ramirez twice during their showdown before ultimately walking away with the win.
Still, despite claiming all four world titles, Gervonta Davis will have the chance to call himself a world champion at 140 pounds in roughly two more weeks. The hard-hitting Baltimore native is scheduled to take on WBA “Regular” titlist Mario Barrios at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Considering that the two now compete in the same weight class, if Davis were to pull off the win, speculation has mounted that a matchup between Taylor and Davis could happen next. While Bob Arum, promoter of Taylor, wouldn’t be opposed to it, he doesn’t see that fight as very competitive.
“I think he’s too small at 140,” said Arum to a group of reporters during a recent interview. “I don’t think that Taylor would have any trouble with him.”
The size difference that Arum alludes to is glaring. If Davis were to ever step inside the ring against Taylor, he’ll face someone who holds a five-inch height and two-inch reach advantage. Regardless of those physical disadvantages, Davis appears to be prepping for life against bigger men. In his upcoming showdown against Barrios, not only will Davis face an opponent who is five inches taller than him but he’ll also have a four-inch reach disadvantage as well.
Although Arum doesn’t see a matchup between Taylor and Davis as competitive, the former multiple division champion was extremely confident in his abilities to take care of business against Taylor not long ago.
“I will stop you,” said Davis during an exchange with Taylor in 2019. “I promise you that.”
Not to be outdone, Taylor responded shortly after.
“Put the drink down and sleep it off wee man,” said Taylor.
The seeds of a matchup between the pair were seemingly planted several years ago. But first things first, Davis must take care of business against Barrios on June 26th.
Keith Thurman: “When It Comes To Anybody On This Side Fighting A Bud Crawford, I Just Think Crawford Needs To Get Away From Bob”
By: Hans Themistode
Keith Thurman doesn’t truly enjoy getting involved in the personal business of other fighters. Yet, as the years have gone by, the former unified welterweight champion can’t help but notice the tenuous and somewhat disrespectful working relationship between WBO 147 pound champion Terence Crawford and his current promoter Bob Arum.
While the two have worked with each other for years now, their association has reached a rocky point. Ever since the two paired up several years ago, Arum has failed to lock in any notable fights for his pound-for-pound star. As of late, fans of Crawford have grown tiresome of the apparent no-names he has continued to face in the ring. Recently, Crawford was last seen in November of 2020, dismantling former IBF belt holder, Kell Brook. Although at one point, Brook was considered arguably the best in the division, now, he’s clearly a shell of his former self.
For Thurman, he’s sat back and listened as Crawford has called for a showdown against himself, as well current unified champion Errol Spence Jr. Yet, no matter how loud he yells, his cries have fallen on deaf ears as Arum has been unable to negotiate a high profile against anyone from the stable of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). Not only does Thurman believe that Crawford needs to pry himself away from the grip of Arum due to his failure to land him a big fight, but more than anything, Thurman just doesn’t feel Crawford gets the respect he deserves.
“When it comes to anybody on this side fighting a Bud Crawford, I just think Crawford needs to get away from Bob,” said Thurman during an interview with FightHype.com. “Bob doesn’t even give him the credit that he deserves, his promoter doesn’t even respect him. He needs to get away from that man.”
In just a few short months, Crawford will be given the opportunity to walk away from Arum as their promotional agreement is set to expire later on this year. With Arum’s Top Rank stable bereft of any top talent at 147 pounds, many have pointed to the PBC as the most likely landing spot for Crawford.
But while signing with his crosstown rival would allow Crawford to face some of the bigger names in the welterweight division including Thurman, Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Yordenis Ugas, Shawn Porter and a long list of others, Thurman doesn’t necessarily believe that coming across the proverbial street is what Crawford needs to do.
The former three-division world champion can face several high-quality fighters without inking a promotional agreement. Just, more importantly, Thurman is simply of the mindset that Crawford needs to move on from his long-time promoter.
“Be his own man if that’s what he needs to be and I think he’ll be able to negotiate better fights from there.”
Errol Spence Jr. Opens Up On Landing Manny Pacquiao Fight Over Terence Crawford
By: Hans Themistode
With nine years as a professional under his belt, Errol Spence Jr. can see right through the bullshit.
Just a few weeks ago, former eight-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, made serious headlines when he announced that he would be taking on Spence Jr. on August 21st, in Las Vegas, Nevada. While half of the boxing world was marking their calendar, the other half wondered what Terence Crawford would do next.
According to promoter Bob Arum, a deal between Crawford and Pacquiao was on the verge of becoming a reality. However, due to a lack of funding, Arum revealed that their deal fell apart. For a number of years now, Arum has regurgitated the same thing over and over again regarding a matchup between the pair. In the mind of Spence Jr., he believes Arum is simply full of it.
“Terence Crawford has been trying to get that fight for how many years now?” Questioned Spence Jr. during an interview with Barbershop Conversations. “It’s excuses after excuses that Bob comes up with. Bob talks a lot of shit saying all of these things but Al (Haymon) gets the job done. I told (Haymon) I wanted the fight and it worked out in my favor.”
Spence Jr., 31, is fresh off a one-sided beating against former two-division champion Danny Garcia in December of 2020. For the Dallas native, it was his first fight since getting into a horrific car wreck in October of 2019. Any thoughts that Spence Jr. wouldn’t be the same were quickly put to bed with his performance.
As for Pacquiao, even at the age of 40, he proved that he could still compete with the best that the division has to offer. In July of 2019, he floored former unified champion Keith Thurman in the first round of their contest before ultimately taking home a close split decision victory.
Since then, Pacquiao has remained on the sidelines. But, even at the age of 42, he stated on numerous occasions that he was willing to face the likes of Crawford and Spence Jr. Despite his words, Arum has always believed that Pacquiao wasn’t too keen on facing Crawford. That thought, however, is anything but true in the mind of Spence Jr. The current unified champion solely believes that Arum has to get his affairs in order before anything else.
“Pacquiao doesn’t care who he fights. Pacquiao is a warrior. Pacquiao is a guy who will fight anybody. If the money is right and everything is lined up correctly, Pacquiao would have fought [Crawford]. But it didn’t line up that way for whatever reason. I just say ‘blame Bob’ because he’s the guy that’s orchestrating it all, and it didn’t happen in their favor.”
Bob Arum On Errol Spence Jr. Getting The Manny Pacquiao Fight As Opposed To Terence Crawford: “We Tried”
By: Hans Themistode
The boxing world was seemingly minding its own business before Manny Pacquiao dropped his seismic size news upon it.
The former eight-division world champion announced this past Friday that he will be taking on unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 21st.
All along, promoter Bob Arum continually stated that he was attempting to lock in a deal of his own with Pacquiao to face WBO welterweight star, Terence Crawford. That, of course, failed to materialize. Now, with Spence Jr. and Pacquiao a reality, Arum isn’t upset with the way things shaked out. All in all, he believes he did all he could.
“We tried to do Pacquiao and Crawford over in Abu Dhabi because the money is huge for that fight,” said Arum during an interview with ESNews.
While Arum claims that he wanted to stage Crawford vs. Pacquiao overseas due to financial reasons, Pacquiao vs. Spence Jr. is happening stateside. Considering the risk that came along with attempting to do the same, Arum reveals that he simply wasn’t willing to pull the trigger.
“As a business person, I just thought that it was too risky,” explained Arum. “Hopefully, they come out okay with Pacquiao and Spence but it’s risking a lot of money to do.”
Pacquiao, 42, was last seen in the ring in 2019 against Keith Thurman. After scoring a first-round knockdown, Pacquiao took home a split decision win on the night. As for Spence Jr., the powerful southpaw made it look easy against Danny Garcia in December of 2020, beating him mercilessly over the course of 12 rounds.
The moment Pacquiao decides to hang up his boxing gloves, the next stop for him will be the boxing Hall of Fame. As his former promoter, Arum nestled into his ringside seat for numerous years to watch Pacquiao destroy his opponents. Despite that, he has a hard time giving him the edge this time around.
“I would never count out Manny Pacquiao but you would have to make Spence the big favorite.”
Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier: Remembering When The World Stopped To Stare
By: Hans Themistode
The throne always belonged to Muhammad Ali. He had just been unjustly and temporarily removed from it.
In the 1960s there wasn’t a soul alive that didn’t believe Ali was the best fighter in the world. Unless you were Joe Frazier of course.
With Ali forced to spend three years and a half of his prime sequestered on the sidelines due to his refusal to be inducted in the Vietnam war, Ali was given no choice but to spend the next several years away from the sport while he was at the top of his game.
When he returned, his name was scribbled out and instead, replaced with Joe Frazier.
While they would go on to fight on three occasions, the very first time they graced the ring against one another was unlike any other fight in history.
In essence, the world stopped.
Looking back now 50 years later, even some of the greatest to ever step foot inside the ring sat back and reminisced about what they witnessed.
“I was amazed watching that fight,” said former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes during a recent joint conference call. “It was amazing that Joe Frazier took the punches that he took and kept fighting.”
For Holmes, 21 years of age at the time, he simply couldn’t believe what he was watching. While he would eventually go on to become a champion in his own right, all he could do was fixate on was the piece of history that was taking place right before him.
The scenery for their legendary fight which took place in Madison Square Garden was unforgettable and captivating. In fact, former multiple-time heavyweight title challenger Gerry Cooney remembers vividly how it all looked.
The sound of the ring floor, the aura that filled the air and of course, the stars that flooded the arena. As Cooney thinks back to that time, he remembers rubbing elbows with them all. Or, at least, he thinks he did.
“I could swear on everything holy that I was in the Garden watching Clyde Frazier, Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio,” said Cooney. “I could’ve sworn I was there watching the whole thing. It was so magical between those two guys.”
At 14 years of age however, that was merely impossible. Yet, the feel of their big fight made Cooney believe he was there cheering on Frazier as he dropped Ali with a left hook in the 15th round. But as he continued to scream and point to the ring as his man continued to win, he recalls actually doing that from his bedroom, not the actual fight.
“You gotta love Muhammad Ali but I was always an underdog guy. When he dropped Ali it was like wow, he really won the fight.”
Big fights have become far too common in the sport of boxing. Fans and boxers alike have called every fight that flashes across their television screens a big one. Yet, with the paltry numbers that routinely check-in, those assumptions are made to be wrong time and time again.
In the case of Ali vs Frazier, it wasn’t just a big fight, it was the fight of all fights.
“This was such a big fight that the people in Vietnam and the United States stopped the war to watch the fight,” said an excited Cooney.
Although the joy and exuberance were plain to see in the eyes of everyone involved, promoter Bob Arum sits back in his chair and begins his own detailed thought process of what went down on that unforgettable night.
It wasn’t just that both Ali and Frazier gave the world an incredible fight but more than anything, they proved something that even Arum never knew.
“Going into that fight, I believed Ali was invincible,” said Arum. “I didn’t think Frazier was in the same class as Ali. We used to take bets on how few shots Ali would take when he fought but the Ali that came back after three and a half years off was a different Ali. Before then, we didn’t know if he could take a shot because he never got hit, but what we found out later is that he could take an unbelievable shot. It was incredible.”
There aren’t many moments that are permanently ingrained in the minds of everyone. But on March 8th, 1971, the world stopped spinning in order to witness what many believe is the greatest fight in boxing history.
While it was important to find out who would win, in hindsight, it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Other great historical contests have taken place since then but at some point, they have lost their luster. In the case of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier however, it will forever be the most compelling and unforgettable fight of all-time.
“It will never be diminished,” said Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. “Never.”
Bob Arum: “Nakatani Is A Really Hard Punching lightweight And We’re Looking To Him As The Opponent For Lomachenko”
By: Hans Themistode
Following Vasiliy Lomachenko’s surprising loss at the hands of Teofimo Lopez in mid-October last year, promoter Bob Arum did not want to bother him just yet. Lomachenko had always dreamed of becoming an undisputed world champion and needed only one more win to achieve his ultimate goal.
Lopez though, would hear none of it as he outboxed Lomachenko to a clear unanimous decision victory. Not only did the loss strip Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) of the world lightweight titles that were in his possession, but it also dropped him from the consensus number one pound for pound spot as well. With Arum giving him nearly four months to sulk and dust himself off, the long time promoter has begun discussions with his star about his return.
Although Lomachenko was adamant in his desire to run things back with Lopez, that ship has seemingly sailed. With that being said, Arum believes he’s found a more than suitable replacement for his return fight.
“The Japanese boy, (Masayoshi) Nakatani,” said Arum during a recent interview with IFL TV. “He knocked out (Felix) Verdejo and gave (Teofimo) Lopez all he could handle. Nakatani is a really hard-punching lightweight and we’re looking to him as the opponent for Lomachenko.”
As previously mentioned by Arum, Nakatani is currently riding the high associated with the best stretch of performances in his career. In July of 2019, Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) took it to Lopez during their showdown. Coming in, the Japanese native was viewed as an easy victory. However, he proved that he could compete at the highest level.
The results on the night weren’t exactly what he was looking for, but after taking a year and a half to recover from his back and forth battle with Lopez, Nakatani would return to the ring. As was the case in his previous contest, Nakatani was once again the underdog, this time against Felix Verdejo. A short and unsuccessful night at the office appeared to be on the cards for Nakatani as he was dropped twice during the first and fourth rounds.
Nevertheless, he not only climbed back to his feet each and every time but he also went on to hand Verdejo a savage beating. One that culminated in two knockdowns in the ninth round before the referee waved things off entirely as Verdejo fell flat on his face in an attempt to beat the count.
The win for Nakatani has now placed him in the driver’s seat for Lomachenko’s return to the ring. Unlike the Ukrainian’s last contest which was held in the empty arena of the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada, Arum has revealed that he isn’t planning on subjecting his fighter to that lonely atmosphere once again.
According to Arum, he’s confident that by the time Lomachenko’s fight date comes rolling around, a limited amount of fans will be able to attend events.
“We’ve talked with him and we’re looking at early summer. He’s tired of fighting in bubbles, he’s a big-ticket seller so we think we can do a big fight in early summer in the United States. We’ve been talking with MSG, so we believe by June, they’ll be able to accommodate hopefully 50-60 percent.”
Shawn Porter To Bob Arum: “What Makes Kell Brook Worth More Than Shawn Porter? You Really Don’t Want Terence Crawford To Have That Fight”
By: Hans Themistode
In the sport of boxing, sometimes words can get misconstrued. However, former two-time welterweight belt holder Shawn Porter made his words as clear as possible when regarding who he wants to step into the ring next.
“I prioritize Terence Crawford,” said Porter following Errol Spence Jr.’s win over Danny Garcia.
Porter, of course, held a birds-eye view as he watched Spence Jr. dismantle Garcia during their pay-per-view main event late last year. While Porter is positioned to take on Spence Jr. due to his high ranking in both the WBC and IBF sanctioning bodies, the Ohio native appeared more interested in taking on WBO belt holder Terence Crawford.
Although Porter currently sits in the mandated position, promoter Bob Arum is apparently playing hardball with the welterweight contender. During a recent interview, Arum revealed that the guaranteed dollars he would be willing to offer Porter would fall well short of what the rugged fighter has grown accustomed to making.
“I’m not guaranteeing more than a million dollars,” said Arum during an interview with Barbershop Conversations. “I’m just not, not in these times.”
“These times,” that Arum is referring to, is the current worldwide pandemic. Still, even with fans absent from arenas, Porter believes Arum’s excuse for not offering him more zero’s at the end of his paycheck is flat out bullshit.
Considering his stature in the sport of boxing, as well as what Arum paid Crawford’s most recent opponent, Porter simply isn’t buying the excuses that Arum is trying to sell.
“I said it before, I will not fight Terence Crawford for a million dollars,” said Porter on his podcast The Porter Way Podcast Clips. “You paid Kell Brook two million, reportedly, to fight Terence Crawford. What makes Kell Brook worth more than Shawn Porter at this point in time? Especially in the United States.”
While at one point, Brook was considered the cream of the crop of the welterweight division, the 34-year-old has suffered numerous knockout losses, making his fourth-round stoppage defeat at the hands of Crawford not surprising.
With Porter’s bank account is currently filled to the brim with millions upon millions of dollars, accepting a lesser offer then given to Brook simply doesn’t make sense to the 33-year-old.
Although the potential of raking in a million dollars would make most individuals jump out of their seats, Porter merely yawns and remains stone-faced.
“I get it, for a lot of people a million dollars is a lot of money. However, with the money that I’ve been able to make I understand the business of boxing. To even begin negotiations at two million dollars is an insult. Everybody in the sport of boxing knows that the welterweight division is the hottest in boxing and if anything, second to heavyweight. We command a lot of money and attention. This fight would do all of that and more. A million dollars isn’t chump change to somebody else but to Shawn Porter, it’s chump change.”
“I guarantee that if there’s fans in the stand, that we will fill up whatever stadium you want to take the fight to,” continued Porter. “If we do it on pay-per-view we’re going to sell more pay-per-views than Terence Crawford’s ever sold before because now he’s fighting Shawn Porter and I am a pay-per-view draw.”
For years now, Arum has said time and time again that Terence Crawford isn’t just the best fighter in the welterweight division but also that he’s the best fighter in the world. Those words however, ring hollow to Porter. Sure Arum may say one thing about the skills of Crawford but for the number one ranked contender, he believes Arum wants to keep Crawford as far away from him as possible.
“You know the only way you can stay away from Shawn Porter and justify it is by saying that a million dollars isn’t chump change. You really don’t want Terence Crawford to have that fight.”
Bob Arum Responds To Keith Thurman’s Rant: “What The Hell Is He Talking About?”
By: Hans Themistode
Former unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman tore Bob Arum a new one with a seething rant recently. The Florida native had long expressed an interest in facing WBO belt holder Terence Crawford. However, talks broke down as Arum refused to acquiesce to Thurman’s financial demands.
Words such as “cheap,” and “a piece of shit,” were at the top of Thurman’s list in terms of how he felt about the long time promoter.
After taking the time to listen to what Thurman had to say, Arum is puzzled as to why he is the target of his derogatory rant.
“I saw that but what the hell is he talking about?” Asked Arum during an interview with IFL TV. “I’m being cheap? I’ve been in this boxing business for many years. There were fighters that always said promoters like myself and particularly (Don) King, that if there was a pie, that we were getting this percentage and that we should get a smaller percentage.
“That was one thing, that was legitimate. As a promoter are we taking too big a share of the pie? That makes sense but what doesn’t make sense is to say to a promoter that we know that it’s a pandemic and we know that there’s a limited amount of money but go into your own pocket and pay me what I want to get paid. For Christ’s sake, there has to be some kind of business element. Don’t tell me I got to go in my pocket for millions of dollars to make the fight happen. Why? What’s the reason for that? It makes no sense.”
For Thurman, his argument surrounding the need to get paid more money stems from Crawford’s level of opposition. As of late, the pound for pound star has received a ton of criticism for the lack of well known and established fighters on his resume. Despite Thurman’s recent defeat against Manny Pacquiao and his penchant for sitting on the sidelines due to injuries, no one questions the credentials of the former unified welterweight titlist.
In the mind of Arum however, he isn’t keen on losing money during the midst of a pandemic. As for the matchup itself, the 88-year-old promoter believes it’s a terrific one. But he doesn’t plan on shelling out the money in order to make it happen. Instead, he has offered another idea to make their bout come to fruition.
“I would tell Thurman have somebody else promote the fight and let them lose money. I promise I’ll buy a ringside seat to watch the fight.”
Bob Arum On How Much He’s Willing To Pay Shawn Porter In Possible Terence Crawford Clash: “I’m Not Guaranteeing More Than A Million Dollars, I’m Just Not”
By: Hans Themistode
Regardless of how much Shawn Porter believes he should be paid to face WBO welterweight belt holder Terence Crawford, promoter Bob Arum refuses to open his wallet anymore than he has to.
For the former two-time welterweight titlist, Porter currently finds himself in an ideal situation. At the moment, the Ohio native occupies the number one spot in both the WBC and WBO sanctioning bodies, as well as the number two ranking in the IBF.
With a wide variety of championship bouts at his disposal, Porter expressed a desire to take on WBO belt holder Terence Crawford. However, with Arum offering Porter only one million dollars for his services, the former champions balked at the offer, claiming that it was somewhat of a slap in the face. To Arum, on the other hand, he simply doesn’t understand how Porter, or anyone for that matter, could scoff at the possibility of pocketing a cool million dollars.
“I read someplace that he felt that I insulted him by only offering him a million dollars,” said Arum during a recent interview with Barbershop Conversations. “I’m old fashion, I don’t know why a million dollars would be an insult to anybody.”
For the 33-year-old Porter, there’s a reason why he feels offended by what he believes is a paltry offer from Arum. Not only is the Las Vegas, resident a multiple-time belt holder, but he also managed to rake in over 300,000 pay-per-view buys in his September unification bout against unified champion Errol Spence Jr. in 2019.
When juxtaposing resumes to previous Crawford opponents, Porter believes he is of a much higher stature. In Crawford’s most recent appearance in the ring, the WBO belt holder made quick work of British product Kell Brook with a fourth-round stoppage victory. While Brook was once a former champion in his own right, at the age of 34, his best days are seemingly behind him.
Although his time in the ring against Crawford was a short one, Brook was reportedly paid two million dollars for his efforts, making Arum’s one million dollar offer to Porter an even bigger insult according to the rugged contender.
Still, even with Porter viewed as the most accomplished and dangerous opponent Crawford has ever faced, Arum has drawn a line in the sand.
“He should work a deal with me on upside. I’m not guaranteeing more than a million dollars, I’m just not, not in these times.”
Bob Arum: “Tyson Fury Has Said To Me That Not Today, Not Tomorrow And Not Ever Will He Fight Wilder After What Wilder Said To Him”
By: Hans Themistode
Former WBC heavyweight belt holder Deontay Wilder is still working behind the scenes as he attempts to get Tyson Fury into the ring for a third time. After settling for a controversial draw in their first showdown in December of 2018, Fury closed the door definitively on their rivalry with a seventh-round knockout win in February of 2020.
Since then, Wilder has attempted to enforce a mandated third contest between them. However, due to lingering injuries as well as a worldwide pandemic, their trilogy has been pushed back on several occasions. Now, according to promoter Bob Arum and team Fury, the time has run out as their contract has reportedly expired.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the former long time titleholder from pursuing one final showdown. At the moment, both men are entangled in mediations over the possibility of a third contest. Despite both parties sitting down to hash things out, Wilder has apparently placed his foot in his mouth.
Several months ago, the Alabama native released a seething rant that pointed the finger directly at Fury. Claiming that the Gypsy product cheated during their second matchup. With time to dissect exactly what Wilder accused him of, Fury has decided that he will never share the ring with him again. No matter the circumstances.
“There was mediation over Christmas and New Years,” said promoter Bob Arum during a recent interview with Barbershop Conversations. “I don’t know, maybe the mediator will be able to solve the situation but we have a real problem. Tyson Fury has said to me and the mediator that not today, not tomorrow and not ever will he ever fight Wilder after what Wilder said to him. He regards it as a slur not only against him but against the Gypsy nation.”
While Fury is completely uninterested in sharing the ring with Wilder again, he feels the complete opposite about current unified heavyweight titlist, Anthony Joshua. With the two British stars in possession of every single heavyweight world title, the pair are locked in intense negotiations to determine who will become the first undisputed heavyweight belt holder since Lennox Lewis accomplished the feat in 1999.
For Wilder, the surly knockout artist refuses to be left in the cold. But while he continues to fulminate over why he should be given one more opportunity, Arum believes that the decision is solely up to Fury.
With a two-fight deal against Joshua reportedly nearly complete, Arum is under the impression that an undisputed title fight will be next for his heavyweight star. And whether he likes it or not, Arum is convinced that neither Wilder nor his legal team will be able to stop it.
“The idea of anybody stopping the Fury vs Joshua fight just can’t happen.”