Reigning, undefeated WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford has filed a lawsuit against his former promoter Bob Arum and his company Top Rank.
The news was first reported by The New York Post's Emily Smith, revealing Crawford is suing Arum on claims of "revolting racial bias" that prevented the 34-year old Omaha, Nebraska native from landing big fights and costing him millions. Crawford is being represented by attorney Bryan Freedman and is seeking upwards of $10 million and also alleges in his complaint that Arum "Simply does not care about, support, or know how to promote Black fighters." Crawford signed with Arum's company back in 2011 and had a contentious falling out with the 90-year old promoter, after leaving Top Rank this past November.
The lawsuit which was filed in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Nevada on Wednesday continues on to state the following.
“Crawford shines a spotlight on the systemic racism that runs through Top Rank, Top Rank’s complete inability to properly promote Black fighters, and Top Rank, Arum and [his stepson] Todd DuBoeuf’s disparate treatment of Black fighters, including Crawford. It is painfully clear that Top Rank, and especially Arum, judges people based on their race. Arum’s sordid history with athletes of color, especially Black fighters, and his bias favoring white and Latino fighters is well-documented and known throughout the boxing world. Arum makes no secret of his deep-seated bias against Black fighters. For example, he called legendary Black boxer Floyd Mayweather ‘soft’ and claimed that he ‘shoots up cars’ — reinforcing an invidious racist stereotype with no basis in fact. He consistently mocks rival boxing promoter Al Haymon — who is a Black man — and his relationship with Black fighters, saying Haymon would steer a Black fighter away from fighting Crawford out of a sense of ‘brotherhood.'
“In truth, Top Rank, a company with zero Black executives, and only two or three Black employees refuses to admit that it simply does not care about, support, or know how to promote Black fighters. Recently, while most businesses have become sensitive to issues of race and social justice, Top Rank has not. At a time when most businesses took steps to honor Black lives in the wake of the George Floyd murder, Top Rank actually refused to place the Black Lives Matter logo on the mats of its boxing rings. Instead of standing behind a Black fighter such as Crawford, it publicly criticized him…Top Rank’s current smear campaign is deliberately aimed at punishing Crawford for possibly leaving Top Rank by making it harder for him to sign with a new boxing promoter. Tellingly, Arum has not subjected any of his white fighters to this kind of vicious, vengeful treatment. Clearly, Arum feels he is entitled to profit indefinitely off Crawford and other Black fighters, and he will retaliate whenever they dare to assert their independence. In this action, Crawford seeks to right the wrongs inflicted on him by Top Rank. Top Rank has repeatedly breached its contracts with Crawford, and in fact defrauded him into entering agreements in the first place. Since Top Rank…will not police themselves, do the right thing, and move forward as a responsible business in 2022, Crawford, who backs down to no one, will make them do so…Arum has made millions off the backs of boxers of color, including Black boxers. His racist attitudes pervade every aspect of his dealings with Black boxers like Crawford.”
Arum responded to the suit and Crawford's claims with the following statement.
"Bud Crawford's lawsuit against Top Rank is frivolous," Arum said (h/t ESPN). "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 color. I have no doubt the Court will see Crawford's case for the malicious extortion attempt that it is."