By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Bob Arum arrived at ringside early Sunday morning with an agenda.
After Amir Khan asked out of a pricey pay-per-view main event his company promoted, Arum attacked Al Haymon. The 87-year-old promoter wanted to talk about Terence Crawford-Errol Spence Jr. more than the completely predictable beating Crawford had just given a huge underdog who had been knocked out three times prior to this strange stoppage at Madison Square Garden.
A visibly angry Arum made it known, at least according to him, that the only reason Crawford-Spence hasn’t happened, and won’t happen anytime soon, is because the notoriously private Haymon won’t allow it.
Arum claimed Haymon, who is black, will use race as a way to keep Spence completely committed to the Premier Boxing Champions organization Haymon launched four years ago.
Spence and Crawford, who’s promoted by Arum, are black. Arum, who’s white, predicted Spence won’t demand to face Crawford next in a welterweight title unification fight.
“No, because you can hear what he’s gonna say,” Arum told a group of reporters, referring to Haymon. “He’s gonna say, ‘Spence, listen to me. Don’t listen to the white guys, because if you listen to the white guys they’re gonna steer you down the road. Listen to me, brother. We’re part of a brotherhood. And if I tell you not to fight Crawford, I’m telling you not to fight Crawford.’ That’s exactly what he will say.”
Arum also repeatedly called Haymon “a scamster,” an abrasive approach to take if Arum is going to, as promised, reach out to Haymon on Monday to attempt to make a long-discussed Crawford-Spence showdown.
After Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder, Crawford-Spence probably is the boxing match most fans want to watch. That battle between welterweight champions seems unlikely to happen next, in large part because it’ll require a collaborative effort between Arum and Haymon.
The 31-year-old Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is promoted Arum’s Top Rank Inc. and has an exclusive contract to fight on ESPN, ESPN+ or ESPN Pay-Per-View, which distributed the Crawford-Khan card. The 29-year-old Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, is aligned with Haymon, who’s his adviser, and has fought on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View and Showtime in recent years.
Arum insists he’s not the one preventing Crawford-Spence from happening. He has not divulged details regarding his plan to complete Crawford-Spence negotiations so that a deal will work contractually and financially for the sides of both boxers.
Instead, Arum blamed Haymon and “boxing writers” for the fact that Crawford-Spence hasn’t happened. Arum did not accept any personal accountability, despite that his continuous public attacks on Haymon haven’t exactly helped his cause.
“Well, lemme just tell ya, you guys, you writers have to understand,” Arum said, “I don’t care what publications you write for, what website, who’s supporting it, Al Haymon won’t make fights. Wilder won’t fight Joshua. Why? Because of Al Haymon. Spence won’t fight Crawford, not because of Spence, but because of Al Haymon. He’s running a scam and a company, and people have to realize that. He is ruining the sport of boxing. You know, not to agree to make a Spence fight with Crawford, which is a fight that all fight fans want – why? Why? Because he’s running a scam operation. I’m telling you. He will only have his fighters fight with his own camp, unless he gets opponents that he knows his fighter can beat. That’s a scam. That’s a guy who’s not developing fighters, who’s not getting young kids, who, like Teofimo Lopez, like Shakur Stevenson, are gonna be big stars because they’re matched.
“He is a scamster and unless he’s called out, and unless you people get off your ass and call him out, it’s gonna continue. I really put a lot of the blame on the boxing writers. It is inexcusable not to make fights that people wanna see. It’s inexcusable. Now, I don’t believe that he thinks that Spence is gonna beat Crawford. Now some people think that Spence is gonna beat Crawford, and Spence thinks that he can beat Crawford. I know that for a fact. But Al Haymon doesn’t believe that Spence will beat Crawford, and he won’t do the fight. And they’ll say, ‘Well, he did Mayweather and Pacquiao.’ He did Mayweather and Pacquiao because [former CBS chairman and CEO] Les Moonves forced him to do that. Les Moonves said Showtime wouldn’t put on another one of his fights unless he agreed for Mayweather to fight Pacquiao. Now God, you guys have gotta realize when a scam is going on. A guy got $500 [million] from a mutual fund, pissed it all away. He’s a scamster.”
Arum referred to the reported $500 million Waddell & Reed invested in Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Arum’s Top Rank Inc. filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Haymon and Waddell & Reed in July 2015 that sought $100 million in damages and an injunction to stop predatory practices.
In that suit, Arum claimed that Haymon’s PBC is a monopoly, and that it violates federal antitrust laws and the federal Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. Arum and Haymon reached an undisclosed settlement in May 2016.
Arum, a Harvard-educated attorney who worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the early 1960s, didn’t offer proof early Sunday morning of any misconduct by Haymon. A spokesman for Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions declined Sunday to address Arum’s remarks.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.