Andre Ward and Tim Bradley discuss race and marketability based on Terence Crawford’s comment.
On a teleconference call to discuss the WBO welterweight bout between Terence Crawford and Amir Khan, ESPN analysts Tim Bradley and Andre Ward began to discuss the sport’s coverage, business and the way race may play a role.
During the press tour for the fight in January, Crawford was asked about his staid personality and marketability as a fighter; to which, he asked a serious question. Namely, why does it seem the black fighter has to act a certain way to sell a fight?
He juxtaposes this to other fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya, who could be themselves and make money.
Asked for their take to the suggestions made by Crawford, neither Ward nor Bradley ran away from the subject. Instead they took to the subject head-on and gave some interesting observations.
Andre Ward’s Take
Ward suggests that Crawford may have a point. The former champion acknowledged it’s not every media outlet and not the order of the day.
However, based on his knowledge of and personal experience with the sport, there are moments where smiling, waving, and being soft spoken doesn’t seem to be enough for African-American fighters at times.
The former pound-for-pound king would further expound upon the topic by referencing cases of foreign fighters traveling to the U.S. He suggests there are fighters who come to the land of opportunity and get more promotion and a bigger push.
This occurs despite the fact the fighter may not know the language or is in he process of learning English.
While pointing out discrepancies within the sport when it comes to African-American fighters, Ward doesn’t solely blame the media. He says some of the responsibility falls on the African-American fighter, citing Floyd Mayweather as an example.
He notes the image and personality change in Mayweather from “Pretty Boy” to “Money”. Ward said while it works for the aforementioned, he wasn’t willing to compromise his beliefs and who he is as a person because of his family.
Tim Bradley Chimes In
While listening to Andre Ward’s example of Mayweather, Bradley chimed in. He saw the irony by saying it’s interesting that Mayweather gets criticism for being a defensive fighter yet got all the attention while Crawford is a very exciting fighter yet does not receive near the fanfare.
The former junior welterwegiht and welterweight champion said that Crawford just needs to stay on the grind, keep doing what he’s doing. He went on to further discuss how soon fighters are forgotten and their accomplishments are ignored once they hang up the gloves.
A capper was put on this conversation by Ward who said the topic of race and boxing is a tricky subject and you have to be very sensitive about the issue. Most writers and fans are objective, it’s not always about race.
With that said, he remains by his statements. He believes there is a notion of two opposing options for Black fighters. You are either Mayweather-esque and boisterous, or you are considered boring and undeserving of attention and notoriety; something you don’t always see on the other side.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.