Terence Crawford heard how disgruntled the fans were with his potential epic showdown against Errol Spence, Jr. for welterweight supremacy being snatched away from them. Fans had a lot of questions as that is probably the most anticipated fight in a sport that some say is dying and currently prefers YouTube boxing exhibitions to true championship faceoffs.
So Crawford decided to talk directly to them. On Tuesday, “Bud” took to Instagram Live and told the viewers his version of what led to the breakdown of negotiations.
I have a min or 30 to waste. Why it take you 2 weeks to say something? @terencecrawford you tried getting your shit together Lol. we can see you looking at some flash cards or piece of paper, good you speaking now I was worried 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/LZSeoIvC76
— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) November 3, 2022
“I’m about to give it to you raw and uncut,” said Crawford, the WBO welterweight titleholder, as he gave a peek behind the veil with boxing’s most powerful enigmatic man, Al Haymon.
“We’re going back and forth and back and forth,” Crawford said. “Al’s a good dude. Al’s a charming guy, you know. He’s a cool dude—I kind of like talking to him. But at the same time, Spence is Al’s guy. I’m not. So, of course, he’s going to do what’s best for his fighter, his guy. That’s like any other manager slash adviser would do. He would do the best for his fighter.
“Me and Al, you know, we’re going back and forth, back and forth about, you know, the numbers. We are not going back and forth about anything else. We just going back and forth about the numbers. I have two companies that reached out to me that wanted to give me and Spence $25 million guaranteed — $25 million guaranteed, upfront.
“So, a real guy like myself, I called Spence. ‘Hey, bro, look, listen, you know what I mean? I got this company that’s willing to give us $25 million apiece guaranteed. What’s up? What you gonna do?’ He’s like, ‘$25 million? What about the back end?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, listen, if they make the money back then we get 80-20 (in our favor of the profits). Do you know what I mean? It’s simple math.'”
‼️ Terence Crawford speaks out to give his side of why the Errol Spence fight didn’t happen and says he was getting “f***ed” in the deal…
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) November 2, 2022
Al Haymon is boxing’s most powerful advisor and the creator of the Premier Boxing Champions Boxing brand. He advises Errol Spence, Jr., and is the chief architect of the Spence vs. Crawford fight. For Crawford, it’s a matter of upfront money versus the pay-per-view trickle, and as a free agent, Crawford wants the upfront payout.
“I said, ‘Man, we got people who are buying the fight, I mean, stealing the fight. They got the firesticks.’ And he laughed. He like, ‘Man, I got a firestick, too.’ I’m like, ‘See.’ I’m like, ‘Man, ain’t nobody really like buying pay-per-views no more.’ I said, ‘Man, we get this up-front money, and we good. It’s a no-brainer. You know what I mean?’
“But the difference between me and Spence is I’m really my own boss now and he’s not. He got to go through Al. He got to go through his team and ask them if he can do certain things that I don’t have to no more. I might have had to when I was with Top Rank because I was signed to Top Ran and they was my promotional company. .. But now that I’m a free agent and free to do whatever I want I’m the one sitting at the table. (Spence) had to go back and ask Al for permission if he can take this big chunk, a lump sum of money, to fight Terence Crawford.”
Errol Spence and Terence Crawford exchanging words about their failed fight on social media overnight… pic.twitter.com/zGa81YnE3Y
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) November 3, 2022
However, Crawford accepted a deal to fight European champion David Avanesyan on Dec. 10 at the CHI Health Center in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Crawford said he was willing to fight for no guaranteed purse and that Al Haymon never offered him one.
Crawford brought another potential scenario to the table, saying he spoke to Spence about an offer he received from an unnamed hedge fund willing to guarantee him and Spence $25 million apiece. Additionally, there would be a share of potential profits, but Spence and Haymon would not discuss it per Crawford. Also, he and his lawyer were willing to meet in person with Haymon and Spence to get the deal done, but they would not.
“I asked Al, ‘Why don’t you get Spence and you and I’ll get myself and my lawyer and anything we got to do we can make it right here, signed, sealed, delivered. And Al told me straight up, ‘That ain’t ever happened in history where two fighters sit down at the table and they come to an agreement and get a fight made like that. Not even Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.’ And I said, ‘There’s a first time for everything.'”
Lastly, the three-division champion Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs), 35, wanted to fight in 2022, and once Haymon couldn’t make that happen, he took the Avanesyan fight. The talks with Haymon for the event started in May, a few weeks after Spence knocked out Yordenis Ugas to retain the IBF and WBC titles and unify them with the WBA belt he took from Ugas. For Crawford, it comes down to Al Haymon, not Errol Spence, Jr.
Crawford said Spence did not call him back to follow up on the conversation about the $25 million offer, so he took it upon himself to call Haymon.
“I hit up Al. I’m like, ‘Al, listen, you know, man, I got this big hedge fund company out there. They claim they know you. Not one, but two companies willing to put $20-plus million in both of our pockets, guaranteed,” Crawford said. “Al told me straight up, ‘I’m not letting nobody touch this fight.’ Like, ‘All right, cool.’ But I’m like, ‘Why?’ He like, ‘Why would you wanna put a ceiling on yourself? Why you wanna put a cap on yourself?’ I’m like, ‘Well, that’s not putting a cap on myself if this company is taking a risk? It’s high risk, high reward.’ If that’s the case, you know, I can’t see a fight that’s been doing millions (of pay-per-view buys) since Floyd (Mayweather).
“I never heard of a fighter taking zero guarantee. I never heard a fighter of a four-rounder take a zero guarantee. That’s new to me but that’s something I was willing to do to make this fight happen,” Crawford said. “A lot of people saying, ‘Terence you ducked. You don’t want to fight Spence.’ I was taking all the risks. I told them, alright, cool. I’ll take no guarantee; I’ll take the less end of the money. Whatever it is you want, I’ll take it because that’s how much confidence I got that I’m gonna beat that man.”
Terence Crawford sends a message to Errol Spence: “Stop saying you’re your own boss.”
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) November 2, 2022
Crawford’s next issue was that as long as he was willing to fight only for a percentage of the event profits, he wanted to the ability to be involved in the decisions related to expenses.
“So, even though I knew I was getting f**ked in the long run I wanted a little transparency,” Crawford said. “I said, OK, if I’m gonna bet on myself, and I’m gonna go against all the odds, I want a little transparency. I want to be able to (sign) off on things that’s going to affect my check. Of course, I want to see if the numbers add up to what they telling me.”
However, Crawford said Haymon told him to take the deal or leave it.
“Al told me if I don’t take this fight, Errol Spence is going to go and make eight figures without me,” Crawford said. “He was basically telling me take this fight or leave it, and you got nothing.”
At that point, Crawford said he moved on to finalizing a deal with little-known BLK Prime to fight Avanesyan on its obscure streaming platform in the main event of a $39.99 pay-per-view.
“And you (fans are) mad at me for taking a fight with a tough opponent — you may not know him, but he’s a tough opponent — for a bigger purse, a guarantee that I wasn’t even going to get (against Spence)? You crazy in the head,” said Crawford, who has said he is guaranteed a career-high of at least $10 million to fight Avanesyan. “So, now, here we go back to square one. What do you really expect? You expect me to be disrespected, ran over, stepped on, and just sit there and take it? That’s crazy.
“I wasn’t even going to say nothing because I’m not the talkative type but sometimes you got to say what’s real. You got to say what’s on your mind and you got to stop letting these people just do what they want with you.
“My intentions,” Crawford said, “are still the same.”
Crawford believes Haymon will now match the 32-year-old Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) against former titlist and fellow PBC fighter Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs), even though Spence has said he would never fight him.
Will the fight between Crawford and Spence ever happen? Probably, but now the shenanigans in boxing are exposed a little more.