Terence “Bud” Crawford is at the proving grounds of his career. His fight against “Showtime” Shawn Porter this Saturday is pivotal in terms of his competition level and the potential to become a more prominent businessman.
Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter intense final face-off ahead of tomorrow night…
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) November 19, 2021
Crawford is an undisputed light-welterweight champion, undefeated, and a three-weight-class world champion. However, he is promoted by Top Rank and has had a problematic relationship with its chairman, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.
Arum has claimed it’s hard to promote Crawford since he isn’t much of a self-promoter in the age of social media. However, Arum only promotes the good-guy image, hence his success with Oscar De La Hoya, the Golden Boy.
— The World Famous MVO (Matt) (@izdatyofaceee) November 11, 2021
However, the most successful Top Rank defect is “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was with the company for the first ten years of his career.
Mayweather knew that he was the heel or the “bad guy” in promoting a fight. However, he bet on his polarization against non-Black fighters and knew he would secure the Black PPV buyers and others would pay, hoping he would lose.
Then in April 2006, Mayweather turned down $8 million to fight Antonio Margarito; at the time, it would have been the highest purse of his career. Instead, Mayweather exercised a provision in his contract to become a free agent by paying Top Rank $750,000 to buy out his contract.
He then morphed into Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.
Later Mayweather would fight De La Hoya in a history-making bout for $25 million. It set the tone for his career to make a $100 million guaranteed purse and a piece of global pay-per-view and everything sold in the arena.
Now, Mayweather has been the highest-paid athlete when he was professionally active his past few years. Mayweather leveraged his newly minted “Money” Mayweather brand and picked his opponents carefully after a career fighting everyone; he became the best boxer-businessman ever.
That is where Crawford is right now. A win against a legitimate former champion like Shawn Porter solidifies his dominance. After that, if he follows Canelo Alvarez’s model of playing well with all broadcasters or signing a deal exclusively for his own company with one broadcaster or streaming company, he will own his career.
It is where the game has evolved, especially at the level that Crawford is at. When the promoter doesn’t understand how to promote you, simply promote yourself.
Crawford’s Big Decision
However, Crawford is a throwback fighter who wants to fight and not get too mired in business. But with elder statesmen mentors around him like Andre Ward, Crawford has to understand that greater responsibility comes with his position in the fight game.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) September 15, 2021
Mayweather set the financial bar, and Canelo is showing the new-school derivation of it. Crawford has spent his whole life perfecting the role of the athlete and never the part of businessman. But in today’s boxing landscape, the pinnacle of your career is ownership, not championships.
Until then, even if successful against Shawn Porter, any future deals against fighters like Errol Spence Jr., will only be genuinely impactful if they are is under a Crawford promotional banner.
Terence Crawford's resume speaks for itself. #CrawfordPorter
✅ Former WBO Lightweight Champion
✅ Former Undisputed Junior Welterweight Champion
✅ Current WBO Welterweight Champion pic.twitter.com/RB6yKo13NY
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) November 18, 2021
The new normal is being the owner, going from “Pretty Boy” to “Money,” and Crawford is on the verge of chasing the greatness of his peers.