“I Put Him Under My Wing And Show Him The Ropes” | Terence Crawford Mentors Deserving Youth From The Same Omaha Streets

Image Credit: Leo Adam Biga/Flatwater Free Press

Terence “Bud” Crawford is well-known for his exploits as a professional boxer.

He has held multiple world championships in three weight classes and had a short reign as the undisputed light-welterweight champion before moving up to welterweight.

Many believe his most significant accomplishment to date has been forcing Shawn Porter’s corner to throw in the towel and stop him for the first time in his career.

The Big Give Back

However, those in his native Omaha, Nebraska, know that Bud’s true greatness comes from his commitment to his community.

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As the co-owner with head trainer Brian “Bo-Mac” McIntyre of the B&B Sports Academy, the world welterweight boxing champion mentors an 11-year-old nationally ranked USA Boxing bantamweight, Reno Busby.

Busby is a Davis Middle School sixth-grader who Crawford believes has the talent to go far in the sport. What is more, the young fighter reminds Crawford of himself at that age and the special relationship he had with the man who molded him into a champion, Midge Minor.

Mini-Me

“He reminds me of me. His consistency, his ability, his desire to win, his attitude,” Crawford said in an interview with the Flatwater Free Press. “If he gets in trouble, his mom will come and let us know he’s doing bad at school or messing up.

“Reno is a good kid. I try not to get on him too hard or yell. I just try talking to him about doing things different. That you don’t gotta get an attitude or get mad and flip out. There’s other ways.”

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When Reno doesn’t make the grades, he is encouraged to keep up; Crawford and the team enforce consequences to establish a risk and reward dichotomy for the young athlete.

“His grades are a little down, so he’s gotta come down here and watch everybody else work out while he cleans up,” Crawford said. “He’s got a job to do. That’s his punishment.”

Breaking The Cycle

Busby, like many inner-city youths, unfortunately, lost his father to violence. Reno Busby Sr. was the victim of a stabbing in 2011 during an altercation with family members.

His mother, Jache Thompson, brought Busby Jr. to B&B’s open gym when Busby was 8 years old. Since then, the sport of boxing has filled a void and provided an outlet that Crawford himself experienced from his late trainer, local Omaha boxing legend Midge Minor.

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Crawford grew up impoverished in the same neighborhood as Busby.

He was influenced by local gang life and received a gunshot wound to the head when he was a young adult. It drove his mother to seek the help of Midge, and Crawford found a respite to quell the anger that fed his recklessness.

In Memory Of Midge

Now Crawford mimics the mentorship that made him a star. Whenever he hears that the young Busby is in a bad mood, he defuses it by taking him to his home to play video games and spend time with Crawford’s kids.

“I put him under my wing and show him the ropes,” Crawford said. “I just take that time out to clear his head away from boxing and to be like a big brother figure in his life.”

Seeing the young man’s hunger to excel in the sport made him stand out to Crawford. He also recognized Busby’s leadership during sparring and when a group of kids Busby’s age was around.

“Boxing’s something Reno loves to do,” said Busby’s mother. “He’s so dedicated, determined. Reno gives it his all,” Thompson said. “I let him try other sports, but he’s like, ‘Mom, this is where I’m supposed to be, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.’”

A True Champion

Busby is fortunate to have Crawford in his life, and it is a testament to Crawford making it but staying in his community. Unlike his peers who move to Los Angeles, Miami, or Las Vegas for training or to get away from their beginnings, Crawford is a staple of Omaha on the same level as the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Crawford regularly keeps that star power in the neighborhood.

“Reno’s on that course of doing good things,” Crawford said, “but it’s just that he’s so young right now and he hasn’t even come across half of the distractions that’ll come when he gets older.

“That’s where it’s going to matter most,” he said. “That’s where you start understanding a lot about yourself. That’s when it’s really going to show what he’s made out of.”


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.