Derrick James: “It’s Not About What the Fans Want!”

Derrick James No Money in Crawford

Terence Crawford, Derrick James and Errol Spence
From left to right: Terence Crawford, Derrick James and Errol Spence.

Derrick James explains why Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford won’t happen anytime soon!


At the present time, welterweight is one of the most stacked and competitive divisions in the sport. The champions are talented and the up and comers look fierce and determined. For a good part of it, many of these focused fighters are willing to battle with one another.

Case in point, IBF champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr (25-0, 21 KO’s) and WBC champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO’s) will soon collide in a highly competitive unification bout.

“I think they can expect a really good fight, a really tough, rugged fight. I think that’s the type of fight that Shawn brings. You’ll see Errol, you know, we going to box him, we going to do what we do. And whatever type of fight he wants that’s the type of fight that he’ll get.”

The general consensus holds that Spence should walk away the winner of the evening; Vegas odds greatly support this notion. The Truth’s chief second, Derrick James, is also of the same mindset. Confident in their impending victory, James somewhat speculated on Spence’s future opponents given the night goes their way. Or, to be more specific, James went into who the IBF welterweight champion was unlikely to fight.

AN UNLIKELY OPPONENT

Since his arrival into the division, the boxing world has salivated over the potential match-up between Errol Spence and Terence “Bud” Crawford. So far though, the business of the sport has prevented this bout from becoming a tangible reality. Unfortunately, there is no deviation from this current trajectory in sight. In a recent interview with 3kingsboxing, James was caught using the typical “big money fight” rhetoric that usually proceeds a fight not happening.

Rick Mohamed questioned Coach James if there was a fight in the works for Spence v Crawford. Coach James replied by saying there was no money in it. For example, the versatile chief second brought up Spence’s fight with Mikey Garcia and Crawford’s match with Amir Khan. Citing the numbers attained by these two events, James drew the conclusion that Crawford would not be able to carry his half of the promotion.

When Mohamed noted that this was a fight the fans wanted, James countered that promoters don’t promote for the fans. Instead, they do so for their own personal economic gain. On this topic, he dug into how Bud has not received the proper superstar marketing he deserves. To his point, Crawford’s Top Rank promotion certainly have not put the same powerhouse energy into his career as they have into Vasily “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko and more recently Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury. Ironic, since both Hi-Tech and the Gypsy King are foreign born fighters.

“There’s no money in that fight, where is the money in that fight? Nobody promotes the fights for the fans, promoters promote fights to make money for themselves. So like I said, it’s not about what the fans want.

“You see the fight won’t even make money if boxing fans buy it. You have to give the opportunity to change over to wanting the whole world to want the fight right? People who are not boxing fans. Crawford did in his last fight, he only sold 98,ooo pay-per-views, he’s not a pay-per-view fighter.

“Listen to me, he wasn’t even the draw in that fight, Amir Khan was the bigger name.”

Regardless of how big a star Bud Crawford is or isn’t, it’s still a stiff kick in the teeth to hear that Team Spence are not thinking about making that bout. To realize it’s due to the Truth deeming him to be a financial small fry is even worse.

Excluding Manny Pacquiao, who represents a bigger fight in the division than Terence Crawford? Not to mention legacy, history or true dominion of the weight class.

No one could truly be mad at Spence if he chose to face Pacman after beating Porter. That is both an in-house fight and the bigger event due to Pacquiao’s status in the world. Spence has maintained for some time the desire to “clean up his side of the street” before facing Bud anyway. If victorious over Porter and then Pacquiao, that clean up would be completed.

Crawford would be the only remaining belt holding champion in the division.

“He [Terence Crawford] is the most established fighter in boxing today. There is no other fighter most accomplished fighter in boxing hands down. But that doesn’t sell tickets, that doesn’t sell pay-per-view buys […] I’m going to keep saying over and over, it’s not a conversation to have.”

Yet, it must be taken into consideration that Pacquiao has shown little to no actual desire to face Spence or Crawford. Even while they were Top Rank stablemates, the Pacquiao versus Crawford bout went unrealized for years.

Furthermore, Pac Man just engaged in a grueling fight with Keith Thurman at the ripe old age of 4o years old. All said to say, there is no guarantee that Pacquiao faces Spence or Crawford next, if ever. So, even if there is no prizefight with Pac Man to be made, will Team Spence still veto a bout with Crawford?

This is why it is a bit disconcerting when James makes it seem like Crawford is nowhere on their radar. Spence has mentioned a desire to fight Canelo Alvarez. And obviously, that would make for a huge event. However, to make that prizefight come to life, Spence would have to campaign outside of the division.

This leads right back to the same question: outside of Pac Man, who is a wildcard at best, what bigger fight at 147 can Spence make other than Crawford?

“Not ‘if’, he is the guy, but he is not being marketed. He is not being promoted […] until they start doing that, there is no point in even talking about it.”

By: Bakari Simpson

1 Comment

  1. Let’s be honest here, none of these welter weights are are household names. Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Bud Crawford… These are NOT PPV fighters on their own. Or with each other. None of them have gotten enough exposure on regular TV for casual fans to get on board. True boxing fans know who they are. But thats because we watch fights every chance we get. But we are talking about bringing casual fans for those PPV buys. And none of them have that kind of drawing power. Outside of Manny and a few Mexican fighters, the only other fighter that can sell out arena’s and bring in casual fans is GGG. And I think even GGG is starting to back slide now that he is on the back 9 of his career. So to say there is no money in a Crawford fight is just ignorant. There is more money in Porter vs Crawford then Errol vs Porter. Crawford has a slightly bigger name in the sport than Errol or Porter because he has accomplished more than any of the other younger Welters. PBC is seriously promoting their fighters the wrong way, if they are trying to bring in casual fans. Porter v Errol should have been on Fox or NBC, ABC sports, something. Boxing is so compartmentalized that casual fans have no access to it. To be a boxing fan you have to pay for it. Sorry but thats not going to bring in any revenue for PPV. Typically, in the past 1992-2014, PPV has been reserved for elite A level fighters. Outside of possibly Crawford, there are no elite A level fighters at 147. Manny use to be an elite A level fighter, but obviously those years are long gone. Unless there is NO DRUG TESTING. Then Manny is on fire. But Manny has also earned the right to demand PPV. Plus he’s a legit title holder, having knocked off the over rated B level Thurman. You know, I give Manny a lot of credit for that win. Go look at Floyd’s resume, and you will see there are no prime natural welter weights or prime black fighters at 147 on there. So Manny for sure deserves to demand PPV. But outside of Manny, there are no PPV fighters at 147. So Al Haymon and PBC can keep charging, but they are not going to have good numbers. Because no one cares about these dudes. They’re not big names, they just happen to be the only names at welter weight worth talking about. Haymon needs to rethink this going forward. There are some young welters coming up and for them to get some real shine he needs to keep them on regular TV. Tell their story, get the fans involved with who they are. Give the fans a reason to care. Seriously, I grew up knowing everything there was to know about Marvin Hagler because all his fights were on ABC or HBO. They didn’t start charging until his last fight vs Sugar Ray. And Hagler was 1000x the fighter compared to anyone fighting today between 140-175. So Errol’s camp need to check themselves because they’re not all that. Most people outside of our circle dont know who he is. Take the Crawford fight, earn what you are asking for. B level fighter….

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About Bakari Simpson 1162 Articles
Bakari is a writer and contributor for 3kingsboxing.com. Visit cheetahhead.com to view more of his literary work.