Errol Spence reminisces on how close he came to signing with Bob Arum
Within the welterweight division, easily the most highlighted rivalry has to be between Terence “Bud” Crawford (37-0, 28 KO’s) and Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr (27-0, 21 KO’s). Not only are they two great talents, both are belt-holders. Spence owns the WBC and IBF straps while Crawford holds the WBO title. Sadly, for a myriad of reasons, this bout has never come to fruition. In fact, it does not seem as if the bout was even close to getting made.
That has a great deal to do with industry politics and behind the scenes haggling. Bud is promoted by Top Rank while Spence is pushed by rival PBC. Sometimes the two entities have worked together, such as for the Wilder versus Fury bouts (soon to be a trilogy). On other occasions, negotiations were rough as the lyrics in Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline,” and therefore no headway could be made. So it is often fun to daydream ‘what if’ this or that happened. In this instance, ‘what if Spence and Crawford were promoted under the same banner?’ How would this situation have played out in that reality?
A FATHER’S WISDOM
In a recent interview with Barbershop Conversations, Spence retold how very close he came to signing with Bob Arum instead of Al Haymon.
“I was lucky enough to have a father, like my dad, who told me when I was going to sign with Bob [Arum], for like $200,000, I knew I was going to have to give that back! The signing bonus, but yeah I was going to sign with him. But my dad had talked to Al [Haymon], and Al wasn’t talking about nothing! He was just talking about 15K and $2,000 dollars a month and stuff like that.”
“And my dad was like, ‘I talked to Al, stop worrying about right now’. You know, you looking at this $200,000 for right now and Al is talking about later on in the future. So if you want to go with the right now, go on and sign with him [Arum]and I guarantee if you don’t make it to be what you think you going to be, you’re going to be broke. With Al, Al talking about you 21, 22 years old. He talking about when you retire and trying to set you up for the future. For me, I’m 22, I’m like, ‘you talking about retirement, I ain’t even talking about no retirement right now! All I need is to get to the money, I need money now!’”
“But just listening to my dad, I said, ‘alright, I’m going to trust my dad and sign to Al’. It’s a blessing. A lot of people give Al high praise in a lot of boxing because as long as you handle your business inside the ring, he make sure to handle your business outside the ring and make sure you good outside the ring.”
It is nice to think that there is a universe where Spence versus Crawford could have taken place. We would finally have the answers that so many of us want hashed out in leather and blood. Yet, even if Bud and The Truth were under the Top Rank banner, there would still be no guarantee that we would get that fight. Sure, Arum has a long established preference of staging in-house fights. Even with that being said, Arum admitted to leaving Bud chasing his tail with the Manny Pacquiao fight.
While both men were pushed by Top Rank and both men wanted the fight, it was Arum who would not give it his blessing. The long-time promoter would later say he feared for Pacquiao’s overall health and that is why he did not want it made.
Whether you even believe that in the first place, or not, most would say it was not his call to begin with. Regardless of the rationales or justifications, the end result was Crawford never got a mega-fight with a fellow stablemate due to Arum and Top Rank. All said to say, even if Bud and The Truth were both under Bob Arum, who is to say we would get it then? Yet it’s always cool to dream, right?!
By: Bakari Simpson