Billy Graham's Preacher's Corner: greed is ruining the heavyweight division but Crawford and Spence can compensate

I don’t begrudge anybody making money. I want every boxer to get out of the sport with as much money as possible and physically and mentally intact.

The sheer level of greed on show is becoming ludicrous, though, and the heavyweight division in particular is being ruined by it. Fights are taking years to negotiate and fighters are pricing themselves out of fights at all levels. Just look at the Fabio Wardley-Frazer Clarke farce. Tyson Fury fighting Francis Ngannou instead of Oleksandr Usyk has to be the final kick in the balls. Things have to change.

I was getting really excited about the heavyweights a couple of years ago. Heavyweights have never been the most talented fighters in the world, and it’s very rare that the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is a big man, but we had a good, exciting mix of fighters; the sport was flooded with money and I thought we were in for a great time. A little place like Britain was dominating the world. That’s never happened in my lifetime.

Fury hasn’t fought Anthony Joshua or Usyk. Deontay Wilder hasn’t fought Joshua or Usyk, and can’t even sort out a deal to fight Andy Ruiz. The biggest fight Joe Joyce has had was with Zhilei Zhang. Credit to Joyce for jumping straight back in with Zhang, by the way.

In the past somebody who knew how the business worked could figure out who was lying. These days there’s so much bullshit thrown about – so many interviews and so many non-boxing people involved – that it’s becoming harder and harder to tell who’s telling the truth. Instead of enjoying the access YouTube, Sky and DAZN give me it’s all really annoying me.

It’s all about money and I’ve not got the answers. If I did, I wouldn’t be shy about sharing them.

I don’t think you can blame the promoters, really. I’ve never expected any better from them, and if you’re looking for good morals and ethical behaviour, you’re looking in the wrong place. You can go all the way back to P.T. Barnum and Tex Rickard. If they can generate money by promoting absolute shit, a promoter will do it. They won’t care about the fans as long as the money comes in.

I don’t think you can blame most fighters, either. They have to be able to feed their family and make a living. That’s the most important thing, and the main reason they’re doing it. A fighter also knows their worth. They know if they are a commercial commodity or not, and of course they want the money they deserve. Everybody wants the most money they can get. I understand how it works. 

But they should never lose that dream they grew up with.That dream of becoming a champion and following in their heroes’ footsteps, and I think that’s getting overshadowed by the money on offer. 

When you’re a boxer the sport doesn’t owe you anything when you’re starting out. In fact, the fans and the sport owe you plenty, because you’re the one bearing your soul for fucking pennies. 

The fighters who do do well and make money are the ones who appeal to the crowd. When you have a big house, millions in the bank and your family are secure, I think it’s time to give back. You’ve made yourself rich because of your own talent and hard work but also because the fans have stuck with you and paid their hard-earned money to support you. You do owe it to them to put it on the line and make the very best fights you can. You’ll be paid handsomely for it.

When you’ve got more money than you can spend in your lifetime, a big house, and your family are secure, then there’s absolutely no excuse for not fighting the best.

It shouldn’t matter if someone from the Middle East is offering a few million more for you to fight once a year against some wrestler or you’re getting offered £40m instead of £50m to fight your biggest rival. When you’ve got money you can afford to have principles.

I could sit here moaning day after day after day about boxing – and I do – but I’ll never stop watching it because the sport keeps producing beautiful fights and fighters.That’ll never change, thank fuck. 

Terence Crawford and Errol Spence fit the bill.

I don’t think there’s anything I could say about this fight that won’t be said by everybody else in the build-up, but we’ll have a go.

Crawford is a box of fucking tricks. He can do everything. He has so much variety and he’s so versatile. He’s probably a southpaw but it’s a close thing. He can go forward or backwards; he has power and a chin. He can box or walk people down. There haven’t been many fighters down the years who’ve had such a complex style as him, but there are fighters who have been just as effective with a very simple, basic way of fighting. Carlos Monzon, for example. 

You’d think that the fighter with every shot in the book would be the obvious favourite – and I think Crawford is – but simplicity can sometimes get the better of that. If Spence attempts to match Crawford for tricks and overcomplicates things then I think he’ll get himself into trouble, but if he keeps things basic and simple then he can have success. If I was training him I’d be telling him to back him up from a distance. I’d want hard singles to the body and lots of feints and twitches. Crawford has tremendous reflexes and anticipation so he’ll be hard to catch without feints but he’ll react to them. It’s fascinating. 

Crawford will go down as an all-time great whether he wins or loses. He’s accomplished too much and boxed so many different styles. If Spence wants to be talked about in years to come, he needs to win this fight.

This is a true 50-50. I don’t know either fighter. I know very little about how badly they struggle to make weight and I’ve no idea about their personal lives. If I knew those important little details I’m pretty certain I’d be able to pick a winner.

Before “Sugar” Ray Leonard fought Thomas Hearns, me and my brother agonised for hours about who would win. I eventually decided Leonard would, but it ruined the fight for me. Beforehand I just wanted the best man to win but I found myself pulling for Leonard and worrying about how I’d got it wrong because Hearns was boxing so well. 

This time I’m just gonna sit and enjoy it. I want the best fighter to win.