Written By Bakari Simpson: It’s no wonder why Team Terence Crawford, i.e. ‘Red’ Spikes, Esau, Bud and BoMac, operate the way that they do. In this murky boxing world the tight-knit crew maneuvers about and function more like family than professional counterparts. In fact, as far as they are concerned, Team Crawford is a family. And upon further investigation it’s rather hard to dispute the claim.
Many years ago assistant coach Red actually fought alongside Terence in the Omaha amateur system. While there is a brotherly feel to the entire quartet Jacqui “Red” Spikes is Bud’s closest contemporary in age. Next, there is Esau Dieguez who traveled from his native Guatemala to pursue a professional boxing career here in the states. When the talented three-time national champion made his way to America he settled in Omaha. Lastly, but really firstly, there is the co-manager and head trainer of Team Crawford, Brian “BoMac” McIntyre. To quote Bud himself, “He knew me, before I knew me!”
Reviewing his already astonishing accolades it’s only proper that Terence was born into a family of fighters. Both his father and grandfather before him were fighters. Well prior to Bud’s physical existence Brian McIntyre knew and was amenably affiliated with Crawford’s fistic family. A fighter himself, BoMac trained with Terence’s father and uncle in the C.W. Boxing Gym. Minus Esau, Red, Brain, Terence and his fighting family all learned their craft in the same region in Omaha, Nebraska. And all of them, including Esau, were coached and guided by sage trainer Midge Minor.
At this point, however, Midge has long retired from the physical aspects of training camp. Nevertheless, Minor is still very much apart the intellectual think tank that is the Crawford brigade.
Team Crawford is family through and through. Their intertwined roots with each other, Nebraska and the fight game itself stretch back many familiar decades.
To snub any member of Team Crawford, whether done by the media or another fighter, is provocation to the whole. Trouble is, just as angry wasps viciously and violently defend their hives so too does this crew protect one another. To further illustrate this point one need look no further than one of Buds more recent bouts. The match in question, his pummeling of Jean Pascal, remains one of Crawford’s more dominant and chilling victories.
Pascal made the painful blunder of referring to Crawford’s team less than respectfully. Further complicating matters Pascal made light of Terence defending his belt in front of his hometown crowd. Using the insults and anger as fuel Bud destroyed Jean Pascal and stopped him in the 10th round. In the post-fight interview Bud uttered the prickly, now infamous, barb, “Did you find what you were looking for?”
More recently, and in Madison Square Garden, Terence rough up and violently dispatched of bad blood rival Hammerin’ Hank Lundy. Like Diaz and Pascal a number of heated words had been exchanged before the bout. The verbal exchanges left Terence itching to settle up with his fists in the ring. The beating got ugly fast and in a hurry. Steve Willis had to pull Bud off a cornered and battered Lundy in the 5th round.
Talking reckless to Bud, or about his crew, is to be done at one’s own peril!
Loyalty and dedication are of paramount importance to Terence Crawford. This composed a huge part of his rationale to remain with McIntyre when he turned pro. BoMac himself will tell you at the inception Bud’s professional prize fighting days he knew virtually nothing about being a manager. Sure he had a brief pro-career himself but that did nothing to groom him for the gargantuan task ahead.
To begin, Brian heavily relied on a few dynamite industry contacts. Contacts such as, heavyweight matchmakers Joe Quiambao who, at the time, was with DiBella Entertainment and John Beninati, then working with Top Rank. While these men did supply McIntyre with sage advice Bud’s career was not advancing at the rate that Brian sought it to be. It was here, while bristling with talent and slowly climbing the ranks that tragedy struck.
Despite his unparalleled aptitude and limitless future potential Terence had yet to shed his desire to run the streets. Shorty had to be a thug. Terence and a friend were shot at point-blank range following a dice game. His associate was shot in the arm; Crawford was shot in the head. The bullet that struck his friend shattered the bone. Luckily, Bud attributes God, the bullet collided into his skull in such a twisting manner that it bounced off causing minimum damage. Bud was 21 years old at the time of the attempted homicide.
Understandably, the near death experience put Crawford in a reflective “How Long Will They Mourn Me” type of head space. Ultimately, the chaotic event was the last needed push to catapult Terence wholeheartedly into his boxing career.
Prior to the shooting BoMac was regularly in Bud’s ear urging him to respect his position in the game. He implored Terence to leave the streets alone. After the incident, when it had been determined Bud was not critically injured, BoMac was obsessed with advancing Crawford’s career. The head coach, chef and manager doubled down on his efforts to plug Bud in somewhere seriously beneficial. Having affiliated himself with the famed Cameron Dunkin, Brian used his access to apply great pressure on the influential shot caller. The persistence was rewarded with meetings with Golden Boy and Top Rank.
BoMac elected to furnish both company’s with a proposal meeting. After the two encounters he planned on siding with whoever provided the stronger service. Let BoMac tell it, Golden Boy supplied that jackleg Russell Red, ‘Janky Promoters’ brand of service. After getting his eyes checked the GB workers left Terence and his crew out in the sweltering Las Vegas heat for 4/5 hours before being retrieved. Naturally, a very livid Crawford vowed never to work for Golden Boy on the spot.
Following the meeting with Top Rank team Crawford was very pleased. The two have been cozy bed partners ever since.
Since becoming affiliated with Top Rank Crawford has done nothing but face the best available competition. Like the Predator stalking the most formidable foes in his reach Bud has scalped: Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ray Beltran, Dierry Jean, Henry Lundy, Victor Postol and John Molina. This terse ledger did not include his traveling to Scotland to beat down and deprive Ricky Burns of his WBO strap. The meaningful fight marked Terence’s first became a world champion. Having achieved this grand childhood dream on the road, surrounded by his Nebraskan corner and family, is why this is Bud’s favorite fight.
In accordance with his dazzling track record Bud is slated to fight Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (19-1, 9 KO’s). The inordinately unorthodox southpaw only has one blemish at the hands of Lamont Peterson marring his professional record. Even though losing to Lamont is no shameful act, scores of boxing fans believe that Diaz actually won this majority decision contest.
Wanting to prove himself as the premiere fighter in the junior welterweight division, Diaz understands he has to go through Terence. No matter how you slice it, this is a tough fight for challenger and champion alike. Yet, having called out Terence for more than a year has really amped up Crawford and his crew. They understand the rough neck challenge ahead, but they also comprehend the talents and abilities they command. Keeping this in mind team Crawford will attempt to win this bout like every other one: as a family.
If successful, most folks in the know think that he will be, Terence will be one fight away from complete unification. Crawford, like Thanos terrorizing the Marvel universe searching for all his infinity gems, has ravaged his junior welterweight foes questing for all the belts. If successful against the crafty Diaz, there remains one last puzzle piece. Bud and his boxing brothers will face one final obstacle in the form of Julius Indogo’s.
The dangerous Namibian recently usurped Ricky Burns, and like Crawford before him, left Scotland with his IBF strap. In doing so, if successful against Diaz, Indongo became the next name on Bud’s bloody hit list. Julius and Diaz, represent the only two items preventing Bud from being anointed as the undisputed, unified junior welterweight champion.
Bud has prevailed despite overcoming career and personal obstacles. Bud exemplifies determination to conquer obstacles. It’s a hurtful idea to get in Team Crawford’s way!
Even having sung all these warm praises, Terence Crawford and Felix Diaz still have some rough and tumble business to handle on May 20th. No matter who prevails, securing said victory would be harder than flossing a hungry alligator’s teeth.
Big praise goes out to Terence and Felix. Each man in turn has not only fought the best, they have made it their norm. Kudos!
The battle of the tricky southpaw and nimble switch-hitter should make for quite the memorable affair. It’ll be interesting to see what formula for success the Crawford platoon concocts.
Crawford vs. Diaz undercard will showcase an IBF eliminator with a former Crawford foe, Ray Beltran. The Main Event Terence Crawford himself faced Beltran in his hometown of Omaha, NE back in 2014. Ray Beltran will take on Jonathan “The Last Inca” Maicelo in this IBF eliminator. Beltran-Maicelo winner will become mandatory for “About Billions” Champion Robert Easter Jr’s IBF strap. As previously, reported by boxingego.com, Easter Jr. will have another hometown fight against the dangerous Denis Shafikov on Friday, June 30th. Crawford-Diaz card also showcases 2016 Rio Olympian and Silver Medal Winner, Shakur Stevenson making his 2nd appearance as a pro.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with DiBella Entertainment, Tecate and Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Crawford vs. Diaz world championship event will go on sale Tomorrow! Wednesday, April 5, at 10 a.m. ET / 7:00 a.m. PT. Priced at $250, $150, $100, $75, $50 and $35, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858- 0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.
Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson