In his first appearance on ESPN, Terence "Bud" Crawford made boxing history by knocking out fellow unified titlist Julius Indongo to become the undisputed champion of the junior welterweight division.
More recently, the unbeaten fighter from Omaha helped launch the network's new ESPN+ app with a one-sided demolition of then-welterweight belt holder Jeff Horn that made him a three-division champ.
Crawford (33-0, 24 knockouts) has seen his stardom within the sport grow since his promoter, Las Vegas-based Top Rank Boxing, signed an exclusive contract with ESPN last summer. He'll continue to fight on the network moving forward thanks to a new deal that was announced Thursday morning.
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Top Rank and Crawford have entered a new multiyear agreement that will continue a relationship that began in 2011. Specific terms were not disclosed, but the deal reportedly will be financially substantial.
"Without a doubt, this is one of the most lucrative deals for an individual fighter in the history of boxing," Crawford's trainer and manger Brian "BoMac" McIntyre said in a press release. "The deal that I helped put together with Top Rank and ESPN is unprecedented in the modern boxing landscape."
Crawford, who is expected to defend his new welterweight title in Omaha this fall, is considered by most to be one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The new deal with Top Rank will allow him to continue to perform on a network that will maximize his exposure to the boxing world and beyond.
"I am the best fighter in the world, hands down. ESPN is the biggest brand in sports, and Top Rank is the biggest promotional company in boxing," Crawford said. "This was a no-brainer for me and my team. All of the superfights that the world wants to see will happen. Mark my words. Like I've said before, I want all of the champions in the welterweight division."
The 147-pound weight class is the most talent-rich division in boxing, but nearly all of the other welterweight champions belong to manager Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions stable. The PBC recently entered a long-term deal to televise its fights on Showtime and Fox. Top Rank, meanwhile, inked a new seven-year contract with ESPN to have its fighters compete exclusively on the network.
Crawford is expected to face unbeaten challenger Jose Benavidez in his first WBO title defense in his next bout. Potential showdowns against WBA super champion Keith Thurman, WBA regular titlist Manny Pacquiao, IBF beltholder Errol Spence Jr. or the winner of Saturday's WBC title fight between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will have to wait. Deals between rival promoters and networks will face obstacles.
Top Rank, however, is committed to keeping Crawford busy and at the top of the sport.
"Terence 'Bud' Crawford is the world’s best boxer," Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum said. "We will continue our ongoing campaign to establish him as one of the world’s most recognizable athletes."
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Boxing has been a lifelong passion for Terence "Bud" Crawford, shown here in 1998 or '99 at age 11 at the C.W. Boxing Club in Omaha.
By 2005, Terence "Bud" Crawford was one of the nation's top amateur boxers in his weight class.
Terence "Bud" Crawford celebrates his victory over Carlos Molina at the 2006 Golden Gloves tournament. Crawford went on to fall in the national championship bout.
One of Terence "Bud" Crawford's first notable professional fights came in March 2013 against Breidis Prescott. Crawford won by unanimous decision.
In June 2013, Terence "Bud" Crawford won the NABO lightweight title with a technical knockout victory over Alejandro Sanabria of Mexico in a fight held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford added another belt to his list when he traveled to Scotland in March 2014 for a bout against Ricky Burns, taking home the WBO lightweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford received a hero's welcome when he returned to Eppley Airfield from Scotland after winning the WBO lightweight title.
Fighting for the first time as a professional in Omaha, Terence "Bud" Crawford defended his WBO lightweight title with a technical knockout victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa at the CenturyLink Center in June 2014.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's first professional fight in Omaha drew a crowd of nearly 11,000 people to the CenturyLink Center.
Terence "Bud" Crawford again defended his title at the CenturyLink Center in November 2014 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Ray Beltran. It was Crawford's last fight as a lightweight.
Terence "Bud" Crawford made his debut as a junior welterweight in April 2015, winning the vacant WBO title with a technical knockout victory over Thomas Dulorme in Arlington, Texas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford received the Sugar Ray Robinson Memorial Fighter of the Year Award during a ceremony in New York City in April 2015.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's sons — Tyrese, left, then age 2, and Terence III, right, then age 4 — carry their father's title belts during the Native Omaha Days parade in August 2015.
Terence "Bud" Crawford knocked out Dierry Jean at the CenturyLink Center in October 2015 to retain his junior welterweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford has represented both Nebraska and Creighton in the ring, often wearing gear from one of the schools before and after fights. He was honored on the field at Memorial Stadium during Nebraska's game against Iowa in November 2015.
This award-winning photo of Terence "Bud" Crawford was taken in February 2016 as the champ trained in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for his upcoming fight against Hank Lundy.
Terence "Bud" Crawford once again defended his junior welterweight title in February 2016 with a technical knockout over Hank Lundy in front of a sellout crowd at the Theater of Madison Square Garden.
Terence "Bud" Crawford added another honor to his impressive résumé in July 2016 when he collected the WBC super lightweight title and the 140-pound lineal crown to go with his WBO junior welterweight championship after winning a unanimous decision over Viktor Postol at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford dominated John Molina Jr. in December 2016 at the CenturyLink Center, winning every round on each judge's scorecard before earning a technical knockout victory in the eighth round.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's next title defense took place in the main arena at Madison Square Garden on May 20 against Felix Diaz. "This is where all of the great champions fought, and I want to be a big part of it," he said at a press conference announcing the fight.
Terence "Bud" Crawford, sporting Omaha shorts, lands a punch on Felix Diaz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Crawford won after the fight was stopped after the 10th round.
Terence Crawford celebrates his third-round knockout win over Julius Indongo at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, August 19, 2017. The victory made Crawford boxing's only undisputed champion.
Terence "Bud" Crawford knocked out Australian Jeff Horn in the ninth round on June 9, 2018. It was Crawford's first fight in the welterweight division and earned him the WBO title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford scored a knockout win in the 12th round against Jose Benavidez. The event in Omaha drew 13,323 fans and was Crawford's first defense of his WBO welterweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford defeated Amir Khan on April 21, 2019, in Madison Square Garden. More than 14,000 fans saw the champ retain his WBO welterweight title.