EXCLUSIVE: Bids delayed as Bob Arum sets Crawford-Porter target date
There will be no purse bid drama on Thursday. The WBO had scheduled a purse bid for 9 a.m. ET at the sanctioning body’s offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to determine the promotional rights to a much-anticipated fight between welterweight titlist Terence Crawford and former two-time titleholder – and good Crawford friend — Shawn Porter.
However, the WBO announced on Wednesday that the purse bid “has been moved to September 14th, following a request from the promoters of both fighters, Top Rank (Crawford) and Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions (Porter). Both companies requested additional time to continue ongoing negotiations.”
While the sides had discussed a deal, there had been no serious negotiations to this point. However, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told World Boxing News on Wednesday that it now appears as though they will get serious about trying to make a deal rather than going to a purse bid, which would open the fight to bidding from any WBO-registered promoter.
“We’ve been talking to the PBC guys without much movement, and (on Tuesday) they suggested that we go along with the extension with the idea that in good faith we will try to work out a deal,” Arum said of Premier Boxing Champions, whom TGB Promotions puts on events for. “It’s stupid to not work together and get this thing done.”
If the fight goes to a purse bid, Crawford’s side is entitled to 60 percent of the money, and Porter’s side gets 40 percent. The WBO has set the minimum bid at $200,000, but if the fight actually goes to a purse bid, the winning offer could approach $10 million.
Arum said Top Rank and TGB Promotions/PBC could work together on a joint ESPN/Fox Sports pay-per-view event under a similar structure that they put on the heavyweight title rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in February 2020 and how they are also handling the third fight, which is scheduled for Oct. 9.
“That’s a possibility, certainly,” Arum said.
CRAWFORD vs. PORTER PPV
But Arum also said Top Rank or TGB/PBC could do the fight on their own depending on what they negotiate.
If Top Rank is the lead promoter, Arum said he already has a date and site lined up for what would be an ESPN PPV event.
“If we do it, we’ll do it Nov. 20 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas,” Arum said.
Arum said he thought maybe the reason that PBC is open to a negotiation now has to do with other events it is involved with.
“When they look at their situation, they have a tremendous amount that they’ve bet on the Canelo fight, and to take on a burden like this, an additional burden, is not easy,” Arum said of PBC’s deal to put on the Canelo Alvarez-Caleb Plant undisputed super middleweight championship fight on pay-per-view on Nov. 6 for which it is on the hook for around $50 million in guaranteed money just for the main event. “So, that may be one of the reasons why they may opt for us to do the event.”
Arum also said it might have to do with a disappointing performance of the Aug. 21 Fox Sports pay-per-view PBC put on, which was headlined by Manny Pacquiao’s upset loss to late replacement and WBA welterweight world titlist Yordenis Ugas on Aug. 21.
“Pacquiao’s never done, that I’m aware of, anything like how bad as he did for that fight,” Arum said of reports that the fight may have done only around 200,000 pay-per-view buys. “He never did anything nearly as bad. That could be their thinking. I can’t read their mind.”
PBC routinely declines to discuss the results of its pay-per-view events.
Whatever the reason for PBC’s willingness to now negotiate, Arum said he is ready to get a deal done, with talks being spearheaded by Top Rank president Todd duBoef and PBC’s Bruce Binkow.
“We talked numbers before, and I don’t think they’re just jerking around with this (extension),” Arum said. “Todd at least has a very good relationship with Binkow. We all do, and he’s not f——us around. That doesn’t mean necessarily we make a deal, but certainly, there’s good faith.”
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), 33, of Omaha, Nebraska, is one of boxing’s elite pound-for-pound best and has won world titles in three weight classes – lightweight, undisputed junior welterweight, and welterweight — but has yet to have the opportunity to face a top welterweight, which Porter is. Crawford, whose contract with Top Rank is set to expire this fall, won the title from Jeff Horn by one-sided ninth-round knockout in June 2018. He has made four title defenses, all by one-sided knockout, against Jose Benavidez Jr., Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Amir Khan, and Kell Brook.
Since Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), 33, of Las Vegas, lost his title by a close decision to Errol Spence Jr. in a title unification fight in September 2019. However, he has won his only bout, a shutout 12-round decision over Sebastian Formella in August 2020.