LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum sat about three feet to Terence Crawford’s right on a stage Saturday night.
Crawford seems more than ready, however, to separate himself from Arum and the promotional company, Top Rank Inc., that has represented him throughout his Hall-of-Fame run as a three-weight world champion. The 34-year-old Crawford’s contract with Top Rank expired after his division-defining, 10th-round technical knockout of former welterweight champion Shawn Porter about an hour earlier at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena.
Now that he is a promotional free agent, one of the top performers, pound-for-pound, in the sport obviously has a lot of options for his first fight of 2022.
“Well, I’m pretty sure my decision is made already,” Crawford said. “You know, Bob couldn’t secure me the Spence fight when I was wit’ him. So, how he gonna secure me the Spence fight when I’m not wit’ him? So, you know, I’m moving forward with my career right now and I wish everybody the best.”
Crawford wanted Spence more than any other welterweight, but their lucrative showdown has eluded the Omaha, Nebraska, native since he moved up from the junior welterweight division early in 2018. Top Rank paid Crawford very well during their partnership, often for fights that the supremely talented Crawford was heavily favored to win.
The unbeaten WBO welterweight champion reportedly earned approximately $10 million in combined guarantees for his past two fights – stoppages of former IBF welterweight champ Kell Brook a year ago and Porter. Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) was consistently listed by credible Internet sportsbooks as at least a 7-1 favorite to beat Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs), but Porter, who is also 34, was the most accomplished, tested welterweight Crawford fought in six appearances as a 147-pound boxer.
England’s Brook beat Porter by majority decision to win the IBF belt in August 2014. Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) had already been battered, however, by middleweight knockout artist Gennadiy Golovkin and Spence, both of whom left Brook with fractured orbital bones, before Crawford stopped him in the fourth round of their November 2020 bout at MGM Grand Conference Center.
Arum’s expression didn’t change late Saturday night when Crawford pointed out that his outspoken promoter couldn’t secure the showdown with Spence.
Before their press conference began, Arum told BoxingScene.com and other outlets that he believes another high-profile fight against Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs), boxing’s undisputed junior welterweight champion, would do bigger business in the United Kingdom than Crawford-Spence would do in the United States. Arum’s company promotes Taylor, thus Crawford would have to work with Top Rank in some capacity to get that fight, even if he doesn’t want to sign another multi-fight deal.
When asked to clarify his aforementioned statement regarding the “decision” he declared he has already made, Crawford offered a vague response.
“I don’t know,” Crawford said. “I’m gonna let my little head-butt heal up. And then, you know, we gonna go to the drawing board and see what’s best for Terence Crawford and his career moving forward.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.