Race and racism in boxing is nothing new unfortunately. The three share an intimate relationship, whether it be in stereotyping, aesthetics or promotions.
This weekend, after Terence Crawford defeated Amir Khan, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum fanned the flames of race in pugilism once again in his rant about PBC head, Al Haymon.
Fans have been clamoring for a highly desired fight between PBC star, Errol Spence Jr., and Top Rank star, Terence Crawford, and Arum appeared to be annoyed by what he sees from Haymon and PBC. Calling Haymon a “scamster”, Arum let it fly Saturday night, blaming Haymon for not allowing Spence to demand Crawford be his next opponent.
“No, because you can hear what he’s [Haymon] gonna say,” Arum spewed to reporters. “He’s gonna say, ‘Spence, listen to me. Don’t listen to the white guys, because if you listen to the white guys they’re gonna steer you down the road. Listen to me, brother. We’re part of a brotherhood. And if I tell you not to fight Crawford, I’m telling you not to fight Crawford.’ That’s exactly what he will say.”
Arum, 87, has been a beef with Haymon for years, things intensifying with the rise of PBC a few years ago.
According to boxingscene.com, Arum went after Haymon and PBC with a federal antitrust lawsuit after Waddell & Reed invested a reported $500 million in the group. He sought $100 million in damages and wanted the courts to issue an injunction to deter predatory practices, stating that PBC was a monopoly which violated the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.
The two agreed upon an undisclosed settlement in May of 2016, but that hasn’t stopped Arum’s attacks on Haymon.
“I don’t care what publications you write for, what website, who’s supporting it, Al Haymon won’t make fights. Wilder won’t fight Joshua. Why? Because of Al Haymon.” fumed Arum. “Spence won’t fight Crawford, not because of Spence, but because of Al Haymon. He’s running a scam and a company, and people have to realize that. He is ruining the sport of boxing. You know, not to agree to make a Spence fight with Crawford, which is a fight that all fight fans want – why? Why? Because he’s running a scam operation. I’m telling you. He will only have his fighters fight with his own camp, unless he gets opponents that he knows his fighter can beat. That’s a scam.
“Al Haymon doesn’t believe that Spence will beat Crawford, and he won’t do the fight.” continued Arum. “And they’ll say, ‘Well, he did Mayweather and Pacquiao.’ He did Mayweather and Pacquiao because [former CBS chairman and CEO] Les Moonves forced him to do that. Les Moonves said Showtime wouldn’t put on another one of his fights unless he agreed for Mayweather to fight Pacquiao. Now God, you guys have gotta realize when a scam is going on. A guy got $500 [million] from a mutual fund, pissed it all away. He’s a scamster.”
While we don’t know for sure what goes on behind closed doors, especially with the ultra-secretive Haymon, one thing we do know is that Arum is using every tactic at his disposal to force Haymon’s hand, including race, something that seems to be par for the course when hype is need in the sport.
And because of that, boxing fans always suffer, denied too often from seeing the fights they truly want to see at the times that they should be seen.
Hopefully this will be a different situation and things will progress properly. But those who recognize the politics, baiting, posturing and legalities of boxing will, understandably, have major doubts.
Fans will have to wait and see what the next steps are for all parties involved, but we know they won’t be holding their breath.