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Arum says Postol might not get Pacquiao fight if he beats Crawford

Manny Pacquiao Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: If WBC light welterweight champion Viktor Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) beats WBO 140lb champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) tonight in their fight on HBO pay-per-view, it might not lead to a big money fight against Filipino star Manny Pacquiao. While Crawford has a chance to get the Pacquiao fight, apparently, Postol doesn’t. Bob Arum, the Top Rank promoter for all three fighters, says that he doesn’t know if he’ll let the 5’11” Postol get a fight against Pacquiao if he beats the 28-year-old Crawford tonight, because of the size difference between him and the much shorter 5’6 ½” Filipino star.

We’re not even sure if Crawford will get the fight with Pacquiao if he wins against Postol, because the decision rests with Pacquiao, not with Arum. The 84-year-old promoter has unknowingly put a lot of pressure on Pacquiao to fight Crawford if he wins by frequently mentioning to the media that he could get the fight with the Filipino star next.

It’s now to the point where if Pacquiao doesn’t agree to fight Crawford, he’s probably going to take a lot of criticism from fans and the media simply because Arum has mentioned the possibility of that fight happening so often. If Pacquiao wanted to keep Arum from doing this, then he should have spoken up months ago to tell him to stop saying that there was a chance that he would fight Crawford.

“If Postol beats Crawford he has a big future, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily with Manny,” Arum said to “Postol is so much bigger. It would be like Mutt and Jeff, and I don’t think it’s necessarily that good of a fight, but I’ll know a lot more after the fight on Saturday.”

It’s really not surprising that Postol might not get the Pacquiao fight if he wins against Crawford, because I don’t think there would be a lot of interest in a Pacquiao vs. Postol fight. I’m not sure what Arum’s thoughts are, but I don’t see Pacquiao vs. Crawford being a big fight either. It might get a few more buys than the Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley 3 fight, but not many. If Arum thinks that Pacquiao vs. Crawford is going to take Pacquiao back to the days when he was bringing in over 1 million buys, then he’s kidding himself. Pacquiao has probably lost a lot of fans with his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year and with him saying that he fought with an injury.

“I’m not disregarding Postol, but I don’t think Postol versus Manny is surefire entertainment as Crawford against Manny,” said Arum. “I think Crawford against Manny could be a sensational fight. I also believe Pacquiao-Crawford would do appreciably better business than Pacquiao-Vargas.”

There it is. Arum is admitting that he’s not high on a fight between Pacquiao and Postol taking place. I knew it. I never thought Postol had any chance whatsoever of getting the Pacquiao fight despite Arum saying the winner of the Crawford vs. Postol fight having a chance of being the opponent for Pacquiao on November 5. I think it’s pretty obvious what Arum’s next move will be if Crawford loses tonight against Postol. Arum will turn to his Plan-B option, which will likely be Mexican American Jessie Vargas, the WBO 147lb champion.

Vargas is seen as a paper champion in the minds of a lot of boxing fans because he’s not a big puncher like WBA champ Keith “One Time” Thurman and WBC champion Danny Garcia. However, Vargas is arguably less of a threat to ending the Pacquiao gravy train than Postol, and he probably would bring in more PPV buys than the Ukrainian fighter because he’s an American and Arum can play it up. I think Arum is willing to have Pacquiao lose to Crawford because he seems to think Crawford can become a PPV star.

I don’t agree with that. I don’t see Crawford ever becoming a big PPV star. I think Arum will stick him on PPV and hope that someday fans will start buying his fights in large numbers, but I think Arum will have to give up on that idea. He’s not going to be able to keep putting Crawford on PPV if the fans aren’t buying his fights. It would ultimately hurt Crawford’s career because he doesn’t have the fan base to be on PPV. Arum is putting the cart before the horse by taking a guy that still hasn’t created a fan base and putting on PPV. You don’t do that until after a fighter becomes popular, not before.

I don’t think a lot of fans are going to be willing to pay to see him fight Crawford. Additionally, Crawford doesn’t have a big built in fan base like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and some of these other big names. There aren’t fans that are going to purchase a Pacquiao-Crawford fight instinctively just because he’s one of their guys. Crawford doesn’t have a fighting style that is entertaining like Gennady Golovkin. Crawford is basically a counter puncher and not a particularly fast one. He’s not quick like Floyd Mayweather Jr. Most of the guys that Crawford has been beating are shorter fighters than himself.

If you look at the guys that Crawford has beaten in his last 10 fights, only Breidis Prescott, Thomas Dulorme and Ricky Burns were taller than him. Prescott, 5’11”, gave Crawford a lot of problems in their fight in 2013. While I had Crawford winning by a decision, I thought it was very close because he was hit a lot in that fight. I had Crawford barely winning a decision. It was close. Crawford had built his career on fighting shorter guys. Tonight, he’ll be fighting a guy that is taller than him in the 5’11” Postol and that could make it really hard for him, because Postol is a lot more disciplined than Prescott.

Jessie Vargas recently defeated #1 WBO rated Sadam Ali by a 9th round knockout to win the WBO welterweight title last May. In Vargas’ previous fight, he was easily beaten by Tim Bradley by a 12 round decision. I rate Vargas as perhaps No.10 in the division. He’s a world champion, but he’s only a belt holder and not THE champion. Arum can certainly stick Vargas in with Pacquiao if Crawford loses tonight, but I don’t see fans wanting to buy Pacquiao-Vargas. Arum’s problem is that Vargas isn’t seen as the best in the welterweight weight class. I think Vargas is well below the likes of Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence, Tim Bradley, Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, Andre Berto, Felix Diaz, Robert Guerrero and Frankie Gomez. If Marcos Maidana comes back, then you would have to put him above Vargas as well. What Vargas has going for him is he’s one of Arum’s Top Rank fighters, so that probably gives him the Pacquiao fight if Crawford loses tonight. I think Pacquiao can bring in a lot more pay-per-view buys fighting someone like Thurman than he would against Vargas or Crawford, but Thurman isn’t with Top Rank.

“Jessie is coming off a good win in his last fight. He had a good KO. So he’s not an easy fight either,” Postol’s trainer Freddie Roach said to “Manny is getting older.”

Pacquiao clearly beats Vargas. That’s a step down from Pacquiao’s last fight against Crawford. The only reason Pacquiao would fight Vargas would be if Crawford loses, and I think Arum wouldn’t want to have Pacquiao get beaten by one of the other non-Top Rank fighters like Thurman. If Arum can keep it in house, he can put Pacquiao in with Vargas for an easy fight that probably brings in around 250,000 PPV buys.

If Crawford turns around and wins his next fight against someone beatable, then Arum could try and stick him in with Pacquiao after that hope that fight fans will want to pay to see it on PPV. Arum couldn’t afford to wait for Crawford to rebuild his career in the traditional sense by winning three or four fights over the next two years, because Pacquiao will likely retire. Arum would have to stick Crawford in with Pacquiao after he wins one fight.

I don’t see Arum giving up on Crawford if he loses tonight, because he doesn’t have anyone in that weight class that can go anywhere. Crawford and Postol are the best Arum has at 140. So if Crawford loses tonight, then you can expect Arum to make a huge push for a Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight in 2017 after Crawford wins in a rebuilding fight. I don’t think Arum is going to let go of the idea of Pacquiao fighting Crawford until it actually happens. I think Arum will push for that fight no matter what until it happens. Once it does happen, I think Arum will try hard to get a rematch between them like he did with Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Pacquiao fought Marquez four times, Morales three times, and Barrera twice. Arum likes to do rematches with his Top Rank fighters.

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