Heavyweight boxing legend, Mike Tyson, has labelled one man the ‘best fighter in the world’ but said that in today’s climate he will always struggle to attract big crowds.
In an interview with Joe Budden TV, ‘Iron’ Mike looked back on the days of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran – the faces of the sport when he burst onto the scene in the 1980s – claiming that the pair set a new precedent that allowed fighters to become household names.
Tyson went on to point out that the modern-era of the sport was different. It’s not enough to just be the best pound-for-pound fighter, a strong presence and following on social media is necessary in order to sell tickets.
He used Welterweight World Champion, Terence Crawford, as an example of a great ‘smaller man’ who wasn’t a big draw.
“Sugar Ray Leonard made it possible for us to get that big money, because they were little guys making big money. Making fifteen, eighteen million? Pfft, they were little guys, 147lbs, nobody did that, until him and Duran.
People that are small don’t make money like that anymore, it just doesn’t happen.
Terence Crawford is the best fighter in the world, he can’t sell five-thousand tickets, then you got Ryan Garcia, a video guy, who brings a whole arena.”
Despite Tyson’s comments, Crawford is set for a large payday in his highest profile clash to date. He takes on long-term rival, Errol Spence Jr, this summer for the undisputed welterweight title.
According to ESPN, both men will receive a guaranteed eight-figure purse for the first fight, with a bi-directional rematch clause meaning that the pair are likely to each receive upwards of twenty-million dollars across a two-fight deal.
Crawford will put his WBO world title on the line in an attempt to claim Spence’s three other belts at the weight on July 29 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.