By: Sean Crose
If COVID-19 has done anything, it’s given people plenty of time to think. Those in the boxing business are no exception. It wasn’t all that long ago, for instance, that a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford seemed to be an impossibility. Pacquiao was too old. What’s more, he fought under the PBC banner while Crawford fought under Pacquiao’s old banner at Top Rank. How quickly things can change. In a recent interview with iFL, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum claimed that a welterweight title unifier between the two big name opponents is a “real possibility.” Such teases are often made in boxing, but during a time when the entire world appears to be on lock down, even the whiff of good news is apt to suffice.
Pacquiao, who is now 41 years old, remains one of the most popular fighters in the sport. He was long considered past his prime when he stunned a lot of people by besting the younger Keith Thurman last summer by split decision, a win which gave the Filipino icon the WBA welterweight crown. Crawford, on the other hand, is considered one of the best – if not the single best – fighter on the planet. The problem for Crawford is that he has no major opponents to fight at the moment. Most of the high level competition at welterweight, like Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr, and others, are PBC fighters. In a world of intense boxing politics, promotional entities act as a Berlin wall.
Should Arum, Crawford’s promoter, and Al Haymon, Pacquiao’s adviser, sit down and make a deal, however, then WBO champion Crawford could face WBA champ Pacquiao for both men’s titles. Such a match would thrill the fan base, probably do big pay per view numbers, and add a big shot of excitement into the sport. For now, though, the world will have to wait. Arum also told iFL that the business of boxing will have to change in a post COVID-19 world. With less money around, Arum argued, salaries and pay per view costs will have to be adjusted.
Fans might take comfort in the fact that Arum and Haymon came together to make Wilder-Fury 2, a huge pay per view event which saw Fury emerge victorious against his arch rival. What’s more, a third battle between both supersized heavyweights is said to be on the way. “We worked seamlessly with his staff,” Arum said of Haymon. “They were good, smart guys and women, and they worked well with us. They were a real team.”
If such cooperation could work at heavyweight, perhaps it can work at welterweight, as well.