Top Rank's Bob Arum recently said he would reach out to WWE about the possibility of using the wrestling promotion's Performance Center to host events during the coronavirus pandemic. WWE has used the facility in recent weeks to broadcast their television programming without fans in attendance. While that is one potential path to bringing boxing back, Top Rank star Terence "Bud" Crawford says he would need extra compensation to take part.
"Well, I haven't heard of that yet," Crawford said on Chris Mannix's Sports Illustrated podcast. "But at the same time, if it was to happen, then they have to pay me more. You know, they have to pay me more because fighters of my status and on my level, we get paid for the people that's coming there as well. So, you know, if I can't get paid off of people coming, then I'm gonna have to get paid up front."
Crawford, the current WBO welterweight champion, expanded on his thoughts by pointing out the health risk fighters take to participate in a bout.
"You know, you've gotta pay me, you know, to go up there and do what I do because it ain't free," Crawford said. "Just like people gotta pay, you know, to do anything else in the world. You know, you gotta pay us fighters because, you know, we're taking a big risk and health risk at the same time. You know, you can't play boxing. You know, one false move and you can be six feet [deep]."
Any fighter making a bigger payday during the pandemic for an empty arena fight seems unlikely. While some of the top stars in the game make money off a percentage of the live gate, the loss of that gate affects everyone from the top down.
That was explained by Arum when he previously discussed the idea of empty arena fights.
"[The biggest fights] are either going to have to wait till you have spectators," Arum said. "Or if the fighters get antsy, they will have to deal with an adjustment in their purses because you will have cut off an important revenue source from the event. For example, [Tyson] Fury and [Deontay] Wilder, the gate was close to $17 million, and that's from the public buying tickets to the fight. How do you replace that? Well, if you don't replace it -- then somebody has to eat that."
While fans have wanted to see Crawford mix it up with the division's other top star, Errol Spence Jr., the Top Rank divide with Spence's promoter, Premier Boxing Champions, makes that fight unlikely. Arum has floated the idea of Crawford fighting Kell Brook in his next outing.
Whenever that fight takes place or who is standing across the ring, don't expect Crawford to take any reduction in pay.
"Nah, I ain't ready to do all that," Crawford said. "I done took less money, you know, almost my whole career, you know, just because I knew where I was trying to go and what I was trying to accomplish. So, you know, we past that part."