Terence Crawford may want to rethink his hardline position on pandemic-era purses, according to a certain observer.
The welterweight titleholder caused a stir last month for saying he would rather sit out indefinitely than take a pay cut and fight as a result of Covid-19. The novel coronavirus has just about crippled every facet of the global economy, forcing record layoffs and depressed wages.
“Don’t try and tell me I have to take a pay cut because of a pandemic,” Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) told Brian Custer. “I don’t feel that’s right when I’ve already went through what I had to go through coming up, now you’re telling me go back to ground one and take a pay cut. I just don’t feel like I can do that.”
Fair enough, but former welterweight titleholder and current ESPN commentator Timothy Bradley also wants Crawford, a friend and mentee, to consider this: he’s not getting any younger.
“In all honesty, Bud Crawford is not dying for money,” Bradley, who used to enlist Crawford as a sparring partner, said on the recent episode of the SI Boxing Podcast. “But I have to say that being in his position, time off is time wasted. That’s just it. Whether you take a pay cut or not, you have to stay active.”
Crawford, 32, is conceivably at the age in which one’s reflexes begin to erode.
“‘Bud’ Crawford is not a young whippersnapper anymore,” Bradley said. “He’s in his 30s. He’s not young. Activity is important for him. But I know Bud Crawford personally. I know he works extremely hard, he’s constantly staying in shape. So, I think he’ll be okay.”
Bradley’s concerns aren’t specific to Crawford. Lightweight titleholder (and Top Rank stablemate) Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) is another elite fighter whom Bradley believes could be adversely affected by inactivity. Lomachenko, who is projected to fight fellow lightweight titleholder Teofimo Lopez later this fall, was last seen in the ring decisioning Luke Campbell last August.
“Think about it, when’s the last time [Lomachenko] fought?” Bradley said. “It’s been almost a year coming in August. He’s a little bit older now. He needs to be active as well.”
“One thing that we know is that you can’t buy back time,” Bradley continued. “You can’t buy back time. These are your prime years. Boxing is short. It’s a short lived sport, believe it or not. You have a short window to make your money and get out of the game before the game damages you.”
It’s not just about losing your prime years and guaranteed paydays, adds Bradley. Remaining on the sidelines is also a form of promotional suicide, especially in this era of entertainment overload.
“I’m thinking maybe close to Septemberish, some of these guys are going to get that itch and start saying, ‘You know what I’m staying at home, and yes, I’m training but I need to get back in the spotlight,’” Bradley said. “You know how boxing fans are. You’re here today, you’re gone tomorrow, on with the next. If you’re out of the light, they forget about you. And they’re on to the next one.
In other words, out of sight, out of mind.
“These guys have to sit down, speak with their promoters and find a plan to come back,” Bradley said. “Because they are being lost. You don’t hear the name ‘Bud’ Crawford anymore. You don’t heard Lomachenko anymore. That’s not good for the image. That’s not good for their careers.”