Home > Alexander Payne, Boxing, Celebrity, Entertainment, Film, Omaha, Sports, Terence "Bud" Crawford > What do Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne and WBO world boxing champion Terence “Bud” Crawford have in common?

What do Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne and WBO world boxing champion Terence “Bud” Crawford have in common?


What do Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne and WBO world boxing champion Terence “Bud” Crawford have in common?

These newsmakers share the same hometown of Omaha, Neb. but more than that they share an unflinching loyalty to their roots. Payne could elect to or be swayed to make films anywhere but he repeatedly comes back to Omaha and greater Neb. to create his acclaimed works, often resisting studio efforts to have him shoot elsewhere. Crawford doesn’t get to call the shots about where he fights but for his first two title defenses he did convince Top Rank and HBO that Omaha could and would support a world title card. Besides, it’s tradition that a world champion gets to defend his title on his own home turf. And when there was talk his first title defense might move across the river to Council Bluffs, he wasn’t having it. Now that he’s been proven right that Omaha is a legitimate market for big-time fights and is a formidable hometown advantage for him, he will undoubtedly press to fight here over and over again and opponents will certainly resist coming into his own backyard. As he moves up a division and the stakes get higher, there may come a time when the CenturyLink and Omaha can’t provide the same pay-day that a Las Vegas and one of its mega venues can. Whether Omaha could ever become a main event host for fighters other than Crawford is an open question. The same holds true for whether Neb. could ever attract a major feature film to fix its entire shooting schedule here outside a Payne project. The only way that will happen, it appears, is if the state enacts far more liberal tax incentives for moviemakers than it currently offers. But that is neither here nor there, as Crawford’s done right by Omaha and his adoring fans have reciprocated, just as Payne has done right by his home state and his fellow Nebraskans have responded in kind.

 

Terence Crawford vs Viktor Postol

Chris Farina/Top Rank

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The Crawford parallel to Payne goes even deeper. Just as Payne maintains a signifcant presence here, living part of the year in his downtown condo, serving on the board of Film Streams and bringing in world class film figures for special events, Crawford lives year-round in Omaha except when he goes off to train in Colorado and he owns and operates a boxing gym here, the B&B Boxing Academy, that’s open to anyone. Just as Payne looks to grow the film culture here Crawford hopes to grow the boxing scene and each has made major strides in those areas. A major Hollywood film besides one of his own still hasn’t come to shoot here, though he’s lobbied the state legislature to give studios and filmmakers the incentives they need. No world-class fighter has emerged here yer as a protege of Crawford’s or as someone showing promise to be “next Bud Crawford.” Similarly, “the next Alexander Payne” hasn’t announced him or herself yet here.

Another way in which these two Omaha figures – each so different on the surface, wth one the product of white privilege and the other the product of Omaha’s poor inner city – are similar is that each has been embraced and endorsed by the Omaha establishment. They’ve been honored with the keys to the city, feated at banquets and preened over by the media. When Mayor Stothert showed up for a photo op with Bud at his pre-Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and Warren Buffett appeared at one oh most title defenses, you knew that Crawford had made it.

I don’t know if Payne and Crawford have met, but I would enjpy the intersection of two different yet not so different Omaha’s meeting. At the end of the day, after all, each is in a segment of show business or entertainment. Each is a professional who has reached world class stature in his profession. Each has worked and sacrificed for his craft and been rewarded for it.

I have been covering Payne for going on 20 years, I have been covering Crawford for three years. I admire both men for having come so far with their passion. I congratulated Payne on his latest achievement, the film “Nebraska,” one in a long line of filmic successes. And I now say congrats to Terence “Bud” Crawford on defending his WBO world boxing title in his hometown of Omaha for the third time in the spaxce of a year. The 11,000 fans on hand for each of those fights at the CenturyLink arena were there to support their own and they roared and cheered and gave shout-outs to Bud, who’s become a much beloved folk hero here. Feeding off their energy he’s displayed a full boxing arsenal in thoroughly dominating tough challengers who ulitmately proved no match for his all-around fighting prowess. Every time his pressing opponents tried to trap Bud along the ropes or in the corners, The Champ used his superior quikness and agility to turn the tables with sharp counterpunching, By the last few rounds Bud was doing all the attacking, thwarting the few rallies his foes mounted and frustrating them at every turn. Each of Bud’s performances has been an impressive boxing display and further proof that the talk about him being pound for pound one of the best fighters in the world today is no hype. He’s the real deal and almost certainly the best prizefighter to ever come of Nebraska. As I articulated above, the fact that he remains rooted to his community and brings his success back home reminds me of what filmmaker Alexander Payne does in another arena, filmmaking.

Bud’s main events turn into veritable love-ins and as much love as the crowd gives to one of their own he gives it right back. That exchange is a beautiful thing that happens in what can be a brutal sport and a heartless game. After not making a film in his hometown of Omaha for more than a decade another local hero, Payne, is coming back to shoot his new feature “Downsizing” here in the spring 2016. By its nature, filmmaking doesn’t lend itself to cheering crowds the way boxing matches do. Most sets are in fact closed from the public, even the media. But Payne is recognized everywhere he goes, especially back home, and just like Bud he handles well-wishers and autograph-seekers and photo-op fans with great aplomb and charm. Look for my stories about him and “Downsizing” throughout 2016.

Look for my new story about Bud in the next issue of Revive! Omaha Magazine. Meanwhile, you can read my previous stories about Bud at this link:

https://leoadambiga.com/?s=terence+crawford

You can find excerpts of my many past stories about Alexander Payne on my blog, leoadambiga.com. You can also buy my book, “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film,” which is a collection of my extensive journalism about the artist and his work. The second edition of the book is now avaialable and features new content about “Nebraska” and his slated for late 2017 film “Downsizing” as well as the addition of a discussion guide. The book is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and select other sites and booksellers. You can also order it directly from me.

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