Is Bud Crawford Being Avoided?
By: Sean Crose
Let’s face it, with the exception of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao can pretty much face whoever he wants, whenever he wants. It’s the sort of privilege that comes with being an all-time great. And, make no mistake about it, the Filipino star still has a great deal of pop. Just look how good of a 2016 the man had if you don’t believe me. Want to say he’s diminished? Fine, he’s diminished – but he still might be able to take every active welterweight in the word at the moment. That’s really saying something when you consider just how loaded the welterweight division is.
There’s one particular junior welterweight, however, that team Pacqauio seems intent on avoiding – at least for the time being. While big names like Danny Garcia and Adrien Broner might be palatable to someone like Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, this top stable mate of Pacquio’s appears to be off limits. The stable mate is, of course, fellow Arum fighter Bud Crawford, the unquestioned dominant force of the 140 lb realm. Like PacMan, Crawford had himself one hell of a 2016, besting the likes of top competition such as Viktor Postol while firmly establishing himself as one of boxing’s rising stars – at least in the eyes of hardcore fans.
Crawford’s lack of casual fan recognition, however, makes it easy for him to be avoided. While his fight with Postol was a pay per view event, it had no business outside of the realm of basic pay cable and had a less than stellar buy rate. Even a Pacquiao who is no longer essential viewing for casual fans is still far more of a known commodity than Crawford is. Ask a person on the street who Manny Pacquiao is and he or she will probably know. Ask a person who Bud Crawford is, however…
All of this actually leaves team Pacquiao in a strange place. Again, the man isn’t the draw he once was – at least not in North America. And he’ll continue to marginalize his own popularity here so long as he continues to face less than top names. On the other hand, Pacquiao should be given some slack, considering his extended and extremely courageous career. He’s older now, after all, and has arguably earned the right to take it a bit easy. In this sense he is much like former opponent, Miguel Cotto, a man who can be forgiven for cherry picking at this point on his resume.
Like Cotto, however, Pacquiao must realize that he will continue to lose eyeballs and earning potential if he wraps up his career fighting men who simply aren’t the best opposition out there. What’s ironic in all this, of course, is that Pacquiao might well take Crawford to school. Believe it. Even now, there’s few out there as good as he is. The guy’s incredibly fast, mobile, buzzsaw style could well cause Crawford considerable frustration. Then again, Crawford would certainly stand a chance of besting Pacquiao. Which, of course, might be the reason why this potential matchup is being put off, if not avoided entirely.
Arum says he intends for Pacquiao to fight outside the United States next, and no, Crawford is not included in the plans. Perhaps team Pacquiao is just looking for one more large payday outside of America before facing the man from Omaha. Then again…