By: Hans Themistode
WBO welterweight star Terence Crawford has never been one to call out fighters. He’s simply been content with fighting the best out there no matter who it is. Yet, following a fourth round win over former welterweight belt holder Kell Brook, Crawford kept his answer short and sweet when asked who he wants to go after next.
“I want Pacquiao,” said Crawford following his victory.
Crawford, 33, has been linked to a possible showdown with Pacquiao for years now. But most of the boxing world has pushed for him to face off with unified champion Errol Spence Jr. While a matchup with the aforementioned Spence Jr. is something that he would take in a heartbeat, Pacquiao (62-7, 39 KOs) is at the top of his list.
“Yeah, of course,” said Crawford when asked if he wants to face Pacquiao more than Spence Jr. “I want Pacquiao.”
Facing off with the 41-year-old WBA welterweight titlist was apparently just within the former three division champions reach. Just before COVID-19 made its unwanted presence felt, Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) revealed that both his team and team Pacquiao were on the verge of finalizing a deal for a contest that would take place in the Middle East this year. However, with such a big event, the mere thought of having it inside of an empty arena was unsatisfactory which led to the deal falling apart.
Unfortunately for Crawford, COVID-19 is not only still running rampant, but thriving. Spikes in various parts of the world have been reported as there doesn’t appear to be a reprieve in sight. Still, if there is any possibility at all to return back to the negotiating table, Crawford is all in.
“I want to revisit that fight,” explained Crawford. “It’s a fight that should have happened right now but because of the pandemic, they weren’t going to allow fans in the middle eastern so we had to put a halt to that. Everything was already 95 percent done. We had the venue and the money was almost there but not quite there. That was the only thing we were waiting on but the only thing that messed up the fight was the fans.”
For years now, several notable names have expressed a concern in a possible matchup between the two. The soon to be 42 year old Pacquiao has been boxing for a quarter century. Former promoter of Pacquiao and the current promoter of Crawford were amongst those waving the stop sign in front of a possible matchup between the pair.
“He doesn’t want to fight Crawford,” said Arum to FightHype during an interview last year. “He didn’t want to fight Crawford when I was promoting him. There’s no disgrace in Pacquiao not fighting Crawford. Pacquiao is not competitive with Crawford. He’s a great fighter still, but he’s not competitive.”
Despite his trepidation for Pacquiao, Arum seemed more willing to help push that fight over the finish line as recently as this year. For Crawford, he doesn’t view Pacquiao as someone who would avoid him. With 25 years as a professional boxer coupled with eight division world titles, the future first ballot hall of famer has never shied away from a challenge. Even at the age of 41, Pacquiao has shown that there is still plenty left in the tank.
“Manny is a true champion. He’s never shied away from any challenge at any time. He’s fighting young lions and beat two of them in Broner and Keith Thurman.”