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Pacquiao vs. Crawford = a Flop in the making?

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By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao will be meeting with his Top Rank promoter Bob Arum this week for the two to decide between Terence Crawford and Jessie Vargas for Pacquiao’s next fight on November 5. It’s believed by some boxing fans that Pacquiao will decide on whoever his 84-year-old promoter Bob Arum wants him to fight. In that case, if Arum wants Pacquiao to fight Crawford next, then we’ll see the two of them go at it on November 5th on HBO pay-per-view. If that’s the fight that happens, I cannot see it doing well in terms of PPV buys. It’s the wrong timing for the fight with it coming directly after a very boring fight between Crawford and Vitkor Postol. Arum should wait until Crawford beats someone recognizable to casual boxing fans and he puts in an exciting performance.

Manny Pacquiao’s new senate job in the Philippines means that his next training camp will likely be less than the full eight weeks that he normally uses to get prepared for his fight.

We’re probably looking at five weeks at the most, and that’s probably not going to be nearly enough for the soon to be 38-year-old Pacquiao to get ready for a highly mobile counter puncher like Terence Crawford at 140

If Top Rank promoter Bob Arum matches Pacquiao against Crawford, I can see a lot of angry fans at having paid to see Pacquiao trying to chase down Crawford for 12 rounds. There’s already a lot of angry boxing fans that were upset at having to pay $100 to see Pacquiao fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year.

After the fight, Pacquiao revealed that he fought with an injured right shoulder. We’ve since seen Pacquiao fight Tim Bradley in a third fight that few boxing fans wanted to see or who felt was a necessary fight. Fans wanted to see Pacquiao fight someone else, but instead they saw him fight a guy he’d already beaten twice. It was a dumb idea to put them in with each other again instead of bringing in new blood for him to fight.

Crawford has already said that his next opponent must come down to 140 because he’s not going to be going up in weight. Whether he knows it or not, Crawford’s request that his opponents come down to 140 has further limited his options more than they already are. With an abbreviated training camp, Pacquiao doesn’t have nearly enough time to get down to 140 to fight a guy with a running fighting style like Crawford.

If all Pacquiao is going to have is a short training camp, then that pretty much ties his hands by making the only reasonable option for him bein fellow Top Rank fighter Jessie Vargas. The reason why Vargas is ideal is because of two reasons: 1. He fights at 147 and it’s an easier weight for Pacquiao to make and still be strong. 2. Pacquiao doesn’t have to train hard to chase Vargas around the ring for 12 rounds like he’d have to do in a fight against Crawford.

What Pacquiao needs is to be put in with Vargas so that he can keep winning long enough for a potential rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao doesn’t need to be used up by being put in with a guy that is going to run for 12 rounds like Crawford. You can understand the fight from Arum’s perspective. He likes to make in house fights matching his own fighters against each other, and there’s chance that Crawford can become Top Rank’s next PPV star if he takes Pacquiao’s scalp on November 5 on HBO PPV.

I personally don’t see Crawford being turned into a star by beating Pacquiao, because the Filipino fighter is too old to turn anyone into a star for beating him in my view. If Crawford beats Pacquiao, he’ll still be where he’s at right now. Crawford still won’t have anyone to fight after the Pacquiao fight to make him a big PPV attraction.

Let’s face it; if Crawford beats Pacquiao, he’ll likely be back to defending his light welterweight titles against the likes of Jason Pagara, Jose Zepeda or John Molina Jr. Arum can try and stick those fights on HBO PPV if he wants, but I don’t see anyone wanting to see Crawford fight those guys. Likewise, Arum can’t make rematches over and over again between Crawford and fellow Top Rank fighter Viktor Postol. That’s why I think it’s a waste of time for Arum to match Pacquiao against Crawford, because I don’t see the fight turning Crawford into a star. All it will do is likely send Pacquiao into retirement without a replacement for Top Rank as their next PPV attraction.

It’s an arduous task to turn a fighter into a PPV attraction. It requires constant match-making against high level fighters that re popular and it takes exciting performances. With Crawford, he’s missing both of those areas. His last performance against Postol was very boring in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, and there’s not a lot of options for Crawford now other than one fight against Pacquiao.

I doubt that Arum is going to be able to get a four-fight rematch cycle between Crawford and Pacquiao like he did with Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao is too old to do that, and there’s no way that Arum is going to be able to keep matching him against Crawford over and over again for the next 10 years the way that the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry was string out. If Pacquiao fights Crawford once, he’ll likely lose the fight because of his inability to catch up to him. It takes fast feet to catch-up to Crawford, an Pacquiao is too old to catch up to the Omaha, Nebraska native.

Unless Pacquiao wants to do his aging promoter Bob Arum a favor by fighting Crawford to try and turn him into a star, I think Pacquiao only has one option of fighting Vargas or better yet someone with some popularity that actually fights. Pacquiao is too old to be chasing a runner like Crawford all around the ring. If Arum persuades Pacquiao to take the Crawford fight instead of someone else like Crawford, then I feel sorry for Pacquiao. Asking him to chase Crawford for 12 rounds is just wrong.

If Crawford was 37 and no longer the same fighter he was 10 years earlier, I wouldn’t recommend him fighting a runner. I would say that Crawford needs to be smart and fight guys that will be standing right in front of him. The types of guys that Crawford should be fighting right now are fighters like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter.

Unfortunately, those guys are on the other sides of the tracks and likely will never fight Crawford during his career due to them not being signed with Top Rank. Arum should match Crawford against Ruslan Provodnikov before he leaves the sport because he would be perfect for him. I’m not sure how much longer Provodnikov will be around, but Arum needs to make that fight while he still can.

Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) doesn’t want to retire just yet, but I’m betting he doesn’t want to chase Crawford around the ring for 12 rounds because that’s not going to be fun. If Arum wants someone that will chase Crawford for 12 rounds, then he needs to match him against IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, and make it a sweet enough deal that the Kazakhstan fighter will be willing to fight a guy smaller than him. I’m sure that Golovkin wouldn’t have any issues chasing Crawford around for 12 rounds just so that once he catches him, he can plant him on the canvas.




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