Terence “Bud” Crawford looks back on his beginnings in boxing
TC: “I went from fighting for $600 in my first fight to the top of the world!”
Undefeated boxing superstar Terence “Bud” Crawford sat down ahead of his long awaited super fight against Errol Spence Jr., to discuss his journey that has led him to the pinnacle of the sport in a new episode of “The Pivot Podcast” that debuts today at 12 p.m. ET on the show’s YouTube channel.
Before he faces Spence live on pay-per-view this Saturday, July 29, Crawford talked with former NFL stars and co-hosts Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor about the scope of his life and career, with Clark opening up the conversation by asking the fighter known as “Bud” how he changed after narrowly avoiding death after suffering a bullet wound to the head in 2008 after a quarrel over a game of dice.
“It changed me in a lot of ways,” said Crawford. “I was already a troubled kid at that time and I was trying to find my way in the world. When that happened, it put me on the dark side, but my Uncle was a pastor and he brought me over to the bright side. He said that God had a lot in store for me and that this was just a warning. It made things make sense.”
Crawford would continue to talk about the reputation he had in his youth as a kid who was consistently getting into “trouble”, carried over with him into boxing and in his early days held him back from reaching accolades that he believed he deserved.
“Coming up as a young kid, people would say I was trouble,” said Crawford. “When I got to the U.S. boxing team, I fought with opposing crowds and got into it with teammates and coaches. I was just that type of kid…I had gotten a reputation…I wore that chip on my shoulder. It just made me hungrier, because I knew in my heart that no one was better than me. When I lost the Olympic trials, I said it’s cool, I’m gonna see them in the pros….It all played out the way it was supposed to.”
As Crawford continues to reflect on his upbringing and journey to get to this moment, he talks about how he may have resented the fact that his father was not around during that upbringing. Although it may have affected him negatively in his younger days, Crawford has flipped that narrative on his head and boasted about his ability to embrace fatherhood with his seven children.
“It shaped me into the greatest father ever,” said Crawford. “I really believe wholeheartedly that no person walking this earth can touch me on fatherhood. And that’s how it’s supposed to feel. That’s how any real father who wants to be there should be. I’m training for the biggest fight of my career and it’s my son’s birthday and we’re doing whatever he wants to do today. Any time my kids have any tournaments, birthdays, anything special or significant, I’m packing up and I’m leaving. Boxing can wait. Those kids are gonna remember that and cherish that the rest of their lives.”
Omaha, the only city that starts with a sigh and ends with a laugh
The three-division world champion was buoyed in his career, by the support of his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, which has little of its own boxing history outside of Crawford’s accomplishments. Likening himself as the city’s version of a professional franchise, he beams as he describes his pride in being able to bring memorable fight nights to the city throughout his career.
“Omaha has always backed me ever since I was a kid in the nationals,” said Crawford. “They’ve been supportive from day one. That’s why it was so meaningful to bring a world championship fight back to Omaha. That’s all I ever wanted to do when I was coming up. Because they do everything they’re supposed to. They travel and build community to support my journey to become world champion….We don’t have a professional team, so I am the professional team of Omaha, Nebraska.”
As the conversation shifted into Saturday’s highly-anticipated clash, the crew asks Crawford about the critics who have favored Spence because of the two fighter’s comparative resumes in the welterweight division. From Crawford’s point of view however, the same advantages people think Spence has over him are no different than what he’s heard throughout his time at welterweight.
“In my last few fights a lot of people have said my opponents are bigger than me and they’re more proven in the welterweight division,” said Crawford. “That’s what they’re saying about Errol. So be it, I knocked them all out and I still get excuses. Just give me my props on July 29…I was the bully against all those fighters.”
The fight analysis continues with talk of Crawford’s penchant for fighting out of both the orthodox and southpaw stance, often flummoxing opponents with his ability “switch-hitting.” After describing his comfortability fighting either style, he reveals how an injury in his youth led him to hone the unique skill.
“Sometimes I think I have a better advantage in the southpaw stance, and sometimes I feel better in the orthodox stance,” said Crawford. “I’ve done it all my life. I used to get yelled at and in trouble for doing it. But once I messed up my right hand fighting in school, I just started practicing more on my left…My left became stronger than my right and I became deadly either way I go.”
It's a family affair
To close out the episode, Crawford brings it back to his family in describing the biggest pivot of his life, as he credits his grandmother and uncle with giving him the positivity to turn his life around. Now, with the biggest fight of his career ahead on Saturday night he is in position to add a cherry on top of his story that was built from the ground up.
“I’d say my uncle and my grandma gave me my biggest pivot by supporting me through all the things I was going through as a child,” said Crawford. “Being able to actually give me those words that made me sit down and think. My grandma is a gangster, and she just always kept it real…I just always cherished her thoughts on things and how she tried to help me understand things…My uncle always told me to hold my head high and that everything happened for a reason. He had me walking on that right path.
“I went from fighting for $600 in my first fight, where big promoters didn’t want to take a chance on me, to the top of the world. And that’s coming from nothing. It’s a blessing. July 29 I assure you, my hand will be raised and everyone will be saying ‘that guy is special.’”
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