By Chris Williams: After his win over WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas last Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao likely put a smile on his 84-year-old promoter Bob Arum’s face last night when he said that he would be willing to fight WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence Crawford in his next fight.
Arum has been banging the drum for a fight between Pacquiao and Crawford for the past year, and now it appears that the fight is going to happen unless a popular fighter like Floyd Mayweather Jr. steps up to the plate to take the fight against Pacquiao.
I think it would have to be someone like Mayweather to get Arum to not match Pacquiao against Crawford. Even if it was someone hugely popular like Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady “GGG” Golovkin showing interest in fighting the Filipino star, I think Arum would reject those huge money fights and go with the smaller money match-up between Pacquiao and Crawford.
Pacquiao beat Vargas by a 12 round unanimous decision at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. After the fight, Pacquiao said he was leaving it up to his promoter Arum who he would face next. With Pacquiao saying that, it pretty much seals it that he’ll be fighting the 29-year-old Crawford next, because that’s the fight that Arum wants or needs to happen. Arum and Top Rank don’t have a replacement pay-per-view fighter to replace Pacquiao after he retires from boxing. If Crawford can beat Pacquiao, then there’s a chance that he can become Arum’s new PPV fighter for his promotional company.
I don’t see it happening, but you can’t blame the 84-year-old promoter for at least trying. If the boxing public isn’t ready to embrace arguably much more exciting and popular Gennady Golovkin as a pay-per-view attraction in the U.S, then they’re certainly not going to start paying to see a counter puncher, switcher hitter and mover like Crawford fight. It makes no sense. Crawford would probably need to change his fighting style entirely for him to have a good chance of becoming a PPV fighter, and I don’t know if he would do well as a puncher rather than a mover, counter puncher and switch hitter.
“I’m going to go back home to the Philippines and back to work in the senate, and then I’ll talk to [Top Rank promoter] Bob [Arum] about my next fight,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t know who the fight will be. Whoever the people want me to fight. I am not picking an opponent. Whoever my promoter gives me, I will fight. Anybody at 147. [Junior welterweight champion Terence] Crawford at 140? Not a problem.”
Well, the boxing public obviously isn’t going to pick Crawford for Pacquiao to fight next. They’re going to pick Mayweather. That’s the fight that the fans want to see. Mayweather was at the fight last Saturday night to see Pacquiao vs. Vargas, and his thoughts on the fight afterwards were “Not Bad,” according to ESPN.
If Mayweather doesn’t come out of retirement to fight Pacquiao, then Arum will probably push for the Pacquiao-Crawford fight, even if there are bigger money fights out there for the Filipino fighter. I think the Pacquiao-Crawford match is the fight Arum wants, and it looks like Pacquiao is going to be passive by letting his promoter make the call for him rather than him insisting on getting the biggst payday possible against a more popular fighter than Crawford.
What makes Crawford such a bad choice for Pacquiao, besides his fighting style, is the fact that his only fight on PPV as a headliner during his career was the 50,000 buys his match against Viktor Postol brought in last July on HBO PPV. That’s reason enough for Pacquiao to steer clear of Crawford forever, because he’s not a PPV attraction. He’s just a normal fighter like Vargas in terms of popularity. You can argue that Vargas is more popular than Crawford in terms of the casual fans in the U.S.
Here are Pacquiao’s BEST options for his next fight:
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
2. Saul Canelo Alvarez
3. Miguel Cotto
4. Gennady Golovkin
5. Adrien Broner
6. Danny Garcia
7. Amir Khan
8. Kell Brook
9. Keith Thurman
10. Errol Spence Jr
11. Shawn Porter
12. Terence Crawford
I had to put Crawford below all of those fighters on the list, because I do not see him bringing in the same kind of PPV buys as those guys. Granted, some of those fighters won’t bring in a lot of buys either, especially the ones lower on the list, but they’re still better options than Crawford in my opinion. The guys in the top eight are far better choices for Pacquiao than Crawford as far as money that can be made, I think.
In the best possible world, Mayweather will throw Pacquiao a bone by agreeing to fight him in his next fight. However, I have my doubts whether Mayweather will do that. He’s happily retired from boxing, and he doesn’t need to return to the ring. It would make big news if Mayweather did come back, because the boxing public wants to see a second fight between him and Pacquiao. I just don’t see it happening though. That’s why I think Arum is going to push really hard for a Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight next rather than putting Pacquiao in with a more popular opponent like Canelo, Golovkin or Cotto. Those would be BIG, BIG money fights for Pacquiao rather than a simple fight against Crawford, but those fighters aren’t with Top Rank, so I don’t see Arum bothering to try and make any of them.
Pacquiao made $4 million guaranteed for the Vargas fight last night, which is a far cry from the $20 million that he used to make for his fights. When you’re fighting guys that the boxing public is not demanding like Vargas or Tim Bradley, then of course the money is going to go down. Why Pacquiao ever agreed to fight either of those guys is the big question. He should have told Arum to go find him a popular fighter like Cotto, Canelo, Golovkin or Mayweather. Pacquiao will make more money from the pay-per-view money for the Vargas fight than just the $4 million guaranteed, but probably not a lot more. If the fight doesn’t bring in a lot of buys, then there won’t be much more for Pacquiao to get for the fight.