Undefeated boxing superstar Terence “Bud” Crawford sat down ahead of his long-awaited super fight against Errol Spence Jr., to discuss his journey to the top of the sport in a new episode of “The Pivot Podcast” which debuts today at 12 p.m. ET on the show’s YouTube channel.
Before facing Spence live on pay-per-view this Saturday, July 29, Crawford spoke 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 the conversation by asking the fighter known as “Bud” how he’s changed after he narrowly avoided death after being shot in the head in 2008.
“It changed me in a lot of ways,” Crawford said. “I was already a troubled kid at that time trying to find my way in the world. When this happened it put me on the dark side, but my uncle was a pastor and he brought me to the good side. He said God had a lot in store for me and it was just a warning.
Crawford would go on to talk about the reputation he had in his youth as a kid who constantly got into “trouble”, got carried away with him in boxing, and in his early days kept him from achieving the accolades he thought he deserved.
“When I was young, people said I was a problem,” Crawford said. “When I came to the USA boxing team, I fought with opposing crowds and got into it with teammates and trainers. I was just that kind of kid… I had earned a reputation… I carried 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 was cool, I’m going to see them in the pros… Everything went according to plan.
As Crawford continues to reflect on his upbringing and journey to get to this moment, he shares how he may have felt that his father wasn’t around during this upbringing. Although it may have affected him negatively in his youth, Crawford turned that narrative on its head and bragged about his ability to embrace fatherhood with his seven children.
“It made me the greatest dad ever,” Crawford said. “I truly believe wholeheartedly that no person who walks this earth can touch me in fatherhood. And that’s how it’s supposed to feel. That’s how any real dad 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 what he wants to do today. Whenever my kids have tournaments, birthdays, something special or important, I pack my bags and go. Boxing can wait. These children will remember it and cherish it for the rest of their lives.
The three-division world champion has been buoyed in his career by the backing of his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, which has little of its own boxing history outside of Crawford’s accomplishments. Comparing himself to the urban 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 supported me since I was a kid in the Nationals,” Crawford said. “They supported me from day one. That’s why it was so meaningful to bring a world title fight back to Omaha. That’s all I ever wanted to do when I was riding. Because they do everything they’re supposed to do. They travel and build community to support my journey to becoming world champion… We don’t have a pro team, so I’m the pro team from Omaha, Nebraska.
As the conversation evolved into Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup, the crew asks Crawford about the critics who favored Spence due to the two fighters’ comparative resumes in the welterweight division. From Crawford’s perspective though, the same advantages that people think Spence has over him are no different than what he’s heard throughout his welterweight stint.
“In my last fights, a lot of people said my opponents were bigger than me and more proven in the welterweight division,” Crawford said. “That’s what they say about Errol. So be it, I knocked them all out and I still have excuses. Just give me my props July 29… I was the bully against all those fighters.
The fight analysis goes on to talk about Crawford’s penchant for fighting in both the orthodox and southpaw stance, often confusing opponents with his “switch-hit” ability. After describing his ease in fighting either style, he reveals how an injury in his youth led him to hone this unique skill.
“Sometimes I think I have a better advantage in the southpaw position, and sometimes I feel better in the orthodox position,” Crawford said. “I’ve done this all my life. I used to get yelled at and in trouble for doing it. But once I wasted my right hand fighting in school, I just started training more on my left… My left got stronger than my right and I got lethal either way.
To close the episode, Crawford takes him back to his family by describing the biggest pivot of his life, as he credits his grandmother and uncle for giving him the positivity to turn his life around. Now, with the biggest fight of his career coming up on Saturday night, he is able to add the icing on the cake to his story that was built from the ground up.
“I would say my uncle and my grandmother gave me my biggest pivot supporting me through all the things I went through as a kid,” Crawford said. “Being able to give me those words that made me sit up and think. My grandma is a gangster, and she always kept it real…I always treasured her thoughts on things and how she tried to help me figure things out…My uncle always told me to keep my head up and that everything happens for a reason. He made me walk this straight path.
“I went from fighting for $600 in my first fight, where the big promoters didn’t want to take a risk on me, to the top of the world. And that came from nothing. It’s a blessing. On July 29, I assure you my hand will be up and everyone will be saying ‘this guy is special.’