The boxing community is shaken by the news that WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Top Rank alleging his promoter Bob Arum for displaying “revolting racial bias”.
Crawford claims in the lawsuit that Hall of Fame promoter Arum discriminates against black fighters and claims Top Rank has a culture of “systemic racism” that runs throughout the company.
Yet Arum insists that he lost millions on Crawford and called the lawsuit absurd. “My whole career — I may have made mistakes — but one thing I cannot be accused of is being a racist. I have promoted scores of top black boxers,” he said.
Crawford, 34, left Top Rank two months ago after his contract expired, having first signed with the promoter in 2011. His suit, which seeks over $5.4m in damages, was described as "frivolous" by Arum, 90, who has worked with the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Tyson Fury in his career.
Crawford is alleging breach of contract as well as fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, and claims Arum and Top Rank failed to follow through on promises to secure a unification fight with Errol Spence Jr.
The Nebraska fighter has been chasing a fight with WBC and IBF champion Spence Jr for years and alleges he had an agreement with Top Rank in 2019 that he would receive a $900,000 payment if the company failed to make an offer "in good faith" to Spence by the end of 2020.
He also alleges Arum "continues to make racist and bigoted statements and purposefully damage the reputations of black boxers".
Arum, who is Jewish, said: "His vile accusations of racism are reckless and indefensible. He knows it, and his lawyer knows it. I have spent my entire working life as a champion of black boxers, Latino boxers, and other boxers of colour. I have no doubt the court will see Crawford's case for the malicious extortion attempt that it is."
Unbeaten in 38 fights, Crawford, now a free agent, has won world titles at three weights and is considered one of the world’s best. He is still seeking a match with Spence.
Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua is set to freshen up his training team before a prospective rematch with unified champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Speaking in Dubai, Joshua said: "I want to try some new things - a new environment to get inspired again and take the heavyweight division by storm. New environment, work with some new coaches and go to war. It's a warrior mind-set."
The Brit lost his WBO, WBA and IBF titles to the Ukrainian on points in September and the rematch is likely to take place in London in April.
Joshua has been trained by Rob McCracken since turning professional, but has recently been in the US and Middle East working with experienced trainers including Ronnie Shields, Virgil Hunter and Eddy Reynoso. He also sought advice from Floyd Mayweather Jr.
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