Jeff Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan (right) has claimed Terence Crawford’s hand injury was “fake”.Jeff Horn’s promoter alleges Bob Arum’s Top Rank boxing concocted a “fake injury” to delay his fight with Terence Crawford so it could be broadcast on a new ESPN streaming app.
Duco Events boss Dean Lonergan says he’s convinced Crawford’s supposed right hand injury, which forced the WBO welterweight championship bout to be pushed back from April 14 to June 9, never actually happened.
The change in dates will cost Duco Events and Horn a combined $1 million in pay-per-view income, with Foxtel’s Main Event channel already committed to screening n UFC star Robert Whitaker’s title defence on the same day.
“This has been brought about by what I consider to be a fake injury, to be bluntly honest,” Lonergan told AAP.
“I’ve requested that Top Rank send through the medical certificates to prove that Crawford had an injury and we were told in no uncertain terms they wouldn’t be forthcoming.
“So I’ve got no doubts that they’re bullshitting us.”
Crawford reportedly injured his hand during sparring last month but Arum said he did not tear any ligaments or break any bones.
The timing was curious, given plans to have Manny Pacquiao fight on the same card had fallen over.
Horn and Crawford have low profiles in the US and without Pacquiao’s pulling power, their bout would have been a difficult sell on pay-per-view.
Reports indicate it will now be shown exclusively on the new direct-to-consumer ESPN+ app in the US.
Lonergan said Top Rank had shown “zero respect” to his company and to Horn by ignoring their concerns around pay-per-view in , with his pleas to change the date falling on deaf ears.
“I think the reason why the fight was delayed (was because) Top Rank had done zero promotion on the fight and hadn’t formalised the agreement with ESPN,” Lonergan said.
“I would have been just as happy if they’d have said, ‘look, we’re not ready to go, let’s delay it by a month or two.’
“But you would have thought they would be considering their partners before they go and make unilateral decisions.
“Yes it has been frustrating, and yes, it is pissing me off no end.”
Lonergan said all broadcast options were on the table in , including a possible free-to-air deal.