This was embarrassing, even by boxing’s standards.
No one should be surprised that Terence Crawford versus Errol Spence took a dump late Thursday evening. In fact, most of us knew it was only a matter of time before it blew up in our faces again. This kind of fight comes along every half decade or so, which is precisely the problem with this sport that’s more niche each day. Furthermore, when it comes to these types of events, you usually will get disappointed a few times along the way. And here, ladies and gentlemen, this is your pain. After all, none of this really makes any sense.
The initial reports stated that Spence and Crawford had agreed to all material terms. BoxingScene.com reported Thursday morning that Spence’s representative had sent back another revised contract to Crawford’s attorney earlier this month. All three changes Crawford’s attorney requested, which weren’t considered to be significant towards the consummation of a deal, were made. However, he failed to respond in the two weeks since the revised contract was sent.
Less than 24 hours later, Crawford announced that he would fight David Avanesyan on Dec. 10 at Chi Health Center in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, on BLK Prime Pay-Per-View for $39.95. Now, here’s the kicker. According to ESPN, Crawford is set to make an eight-figure sum, in excess of $10 million.
It’s hard to blame Crawford, a three-division world champion and current WBO welterweight titlist, for wanting to take what is essentially a tune-up. Besides, he hasn’t fought in nearly a year, and Spence has been more active. The problem is, virtually nobody has ever heard of BLK Prime, and for a good reason. According to ZoomInfo, the company is about three years old, has 25 employees, and has an average annual revenue of around $5 million.
Now, hold that thought.
Do you recall a report stating that Crawford was delaying the Spence fight because he wanted to take a look at Haymon’s expense report? Okay, did Crawford ask to take a look at BLK Prime’s books? Because if ZoomInfo is correct, the first thing that should have been an obvious red flag is how much money they’re pulling in! They’re not worth anything!
Here’s another way to decipher if your company is well-known. Go to your App Store and check how many people have provided star votes. For instance, ESPN has two million star votes, and DAZN has 345,000. Not as much as ESPN, but it’s a good number, right? beIN Sports comes in at 4,400. These numbers were posted as of Friday afternoon.
Now, you’re probably wondering where BLK Prime fits into the equation. My friends, and fellow boxing fans, the grand number is 46. Not 4,600. Not 46,600. 46. In other words, virtually nobody had a damn clue this company existed until last night. And in boxing, things that just pop out of the blue are generally suspicious. For instance, a fighter who was average a few fights ago suddenly is knocking out everyone, coupled with a massive increase in head size.
Well, now we have a company that just spurted out of nowhere offering guarantees that it appears they can’t even afford. So much for looking at the books. Top Rank was never the problem. Bob Arum didn’t get Crawford the Spence fight because it wasn’t worth this royal pain in the kisser. That’s the nicest way to put it. On the other hand, David Avanesyan? Why not Vergil Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs)? The Grand Prairie, TX native is more than deserving of his shot on the world title stage.
“I don’t know who [Avanesyan] is,” Spence told The Dallas Morning News. “I’ve done everything that I said I was going to do, and I’ll fight him next, and we’ll see who is holding the fight up. Everybody sees now who is holding the fight up.”
Avanesyan (29-3, 17 KOs), 34, a Russian native based in the United Kingdom, has knocked out his last six opponents. But let’s not pretend that any of those fighters were on the same pedigree as Spence, Ortiz, Jaron Ennis, and even Eimantas Stanionis. In May 2016, he did, however, hand Hall of Famer Shane Mosley a unanimous decision loss in his final fight in Glendale, Arizona.
Spence-Crawford can easily be made, but after this blunder of a financial decision, they might as well find a local cemetery and cremate it. It’s done. If the Omaha steak wasn’t overcooked before, boy, that thing is on fire now. It’s time to get the extinguisher. If one is willing to waste time in negotiations to do business with another company with no track record of success in boxing, let alone the industry they’re attempting to conquer, why should PBC entertain this nonsense any further?
When the Crawford-Avanesyan Pay-Per-View fails, and it will, they’ll be looking for that Spence payday. And if PBC decides, ‘Nope. We’re not wasting a year of our time again.’ Can you really blame them? Roberto Duran never fought Alexis Arguello. Riddick Bowe never fought Lennox Lewis. Juan Manuel Marquez never fought Erik Morales. Boxing fans have been disappointed before, and this won’t be the last.