Mancuso: Arum Spectacle Divided Crawford/Spence

You be the first to determine if Bob Arum, the Hall of Fame promoter was out of line. Terence Crawford, his top fighter, always in that discussion as best pound-for-pound got a victory with a low blow stoppage in the ring Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. It was a classic ESPN production of show and tell well past midnight in the east coast.

And Bob Arum was on the stage doing his production and imitation of a King in the Mecca of Boxing. Yes, Terence Crawford got a win, low blow or not, and it can be determined that an aging fighter, Amir Khan, may have opted out as quick as Gio Gonzalez was doing with the Yankees the past few days.

Khan was going to lose and got knocked down in the first round. Then, Khan made a brief comeback. But Terence Crawford, who makes a lot of money for Bob Arum, finished the job with a supposed low blow that solidified the argument of possibly being the top fighter at 147.

Or is that top fighter Errol Spence Jr. who works for Arum’s adversaries at the PBC and holds another piece of the welterweight titles?  Spence makes a lot of money for the PBC, (Premier Boxing Champions) and Al Haymon is the promoter and manager.

Haymon, conspicuous by his absence, is never seen at the fights. He  and Arum are known for a silent war of words. It’s business and boxing has become this huge money making machine with Arum and ESPN, Haymon and the PBC, Matchroom and DAZN.  Streaming networks with ESPN/ Top Rank, and DAZN. FOX/ Showtime, with the PBC and limited streaming provides the network.cable telecasts and plenty of it.

And then there is pay-per-view, still a factor as was the promotion for Arum’s Top Rank and ESPN that presented Terence Crawford again to the world.

Back to Arum and his tirade, as the legendary 87-year old does well, better than the billionaire President who resides in the White House.

His champion, Crawford, with this win got one step closer to opposing Errol Spence Jr. This is a mega fight boxing fans want. It’s a fight in demand and would rival the record revenue that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao compiled in May of 2015.

The low blow
Credit: Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

And recall, that fight took some time before it was set in stone. Recall, it was Bob Arum again, without ESPN and a streaming network. It was  Mayweather, a one-time Arum fighter and another adversary with Showtime as the partner. It was Top Rank with Arum. and HBO was the number one network that televised boxing.

They combined forces and it worked. Took some time but boxing fans got what they wanted. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, top two fighters at the time and everyone went home happy, with exception of that record number of fans at the gate and the millions who purchased the fight on pay-per-view because it was dull and  the fight did not live up to expectations. Mayweather retained his claim as the undefeated fighter and best pound-for-pound.

So Bob Arum went on his tirade Saturday night.  He proclaimed that Crawford and Spence should fight to unify the welterweight titles, a division in boxing that has the elite fighters. It’s the anticipated  fight boxing fans want and the sport would see a good one.

But here we go again. Whether it’s the ego of Bob Arum, or simply his age of not thinking before he talks, or being on stage as the promoter, he put the foot in his mouth.

He told the world, boxing fans who want to see Crawford against Spence, “Boycott PBC fights.” His attack was directed at Haymon and the PBC. In other words, Arum insists that Haymon and the PBC are holding back Errol Spence Jr from getting in the ring with his fighter,

We all know, this is about the networks. ESPN, supposedly with all the money is in control, even though they let go most of their good writers and on air personalities because of cutbacks. They coordinate the dates and who gets what for Top Rank and Bob Arum.

Haymon and the PBC want this fight. They do business, though always with the cloud over them, because this is boxing and there is big money going around the table from different and unknown sources.

But Bob Arum, with this Hall of Fame ego, and granted a promoter of past and great champions, he put that foot in his mouth.  Haymon is not the culprit as Showtime or Fox will listen.

Terence Crawford had to answer about the low blow. He was on his way to a TKO and will fight again at some point this year. But that fight won’t be with Errol Spence Jr. Maybe it will happen next year but Bob Arum let his ego and mouth get in the way,.

Damage control? Obvious this is business but you don’t do that in the ring at Madison Square Garden as boxing fans did not want to hear about a boycott of the PBC. They are the managing company that has a hold on most of the elite fighters at 147.

Bob Arum needs Al Haymon and the PBC.  Instead, he would rather have a boycott as a negotiating tool to get Crawford and Spence in the ring. He took a tool that a tyrant uses in the White House.

Yes, Terence Crawford continued his quest.  And we are not talking about another Bob Arum fighter, unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, who could be considered the top fighter. That is a discussion for another time.

For Bob Arum, a boycott is his negotiating tool. And of course, that statement was another black eye for the sport of boxing,.

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

Get connected with us on Social Media