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Arum says Pacquiao will choose between Crawford and Lomachenko after Alvarado fight

Image: Arum says Pacquiao will choose between Crawford and Lomachenko after Alvarado fight

By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is leaving it up to 39-year-old Manny Pacquiao to choose between Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko for his next fight after he faces over-the-hill Mike Alvarado on April 14th in his undercard assignment at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 86-year-old Arum wants to see Pacquiao score a knockout over Mike Alvarado on April 14th, because that would help create more interest in the Filipino star’s next fight against Lomachenko or Crawford. Pacquiao hasn’t knocked out an opponent in 9 years since 2009 with his 12th round stoppage win over Miguel Cotto.

Arum feels that Pacquiao’s drop off in hand speed is the major reason why he no longer scores knockouts. Perhaps the reason Pacquiao stopped knocking out guys is because he was always too small for the 147 lb. weight class. The only guys that Pacquiao knocked out at 147 were fighters that weren’t true welterweights like Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya.

Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will have to choose between Crawford and Lomachenko for his next fight if he gets past the 37-year-old Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs) in their ESPN pay-per-view match on the Jeff Horn vs. Crawford undercard. Crawford and Lomachenko are both with Arum’s Top Rank company, as is Alvarado as well. Pacquiao fighting Lomachenko or Crawford is a win-win for Arum, as it will potentially increase the popularity one of those fighters. I say ‘potentially increase the popularity’ because it might not make Crawford or Lomachenko more significantly popular.

It didn’t help past Pacquiao opponents Tim Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Chris Algieri or Brandon Rios become huge stars just because they fought him. Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez both beat Pacquiao in their prime, and neither of them became huge PPV stars. They might have become slightly more popular, but neither of them was able to make the leap to PPV in which they were the A-side attraction. Arum seems to be hoping that Crawford or Lomachenko will become a star by fighting Pacquiao. I think it’s a pipe dream if that’s how Arum sees it. Pacquiao’s popularity has decreased to the point where he’s now being assisgned to an undercard by Arum. It’s too late at this point for Crawford and Lomachenko to get a huge boost in popularity by using the nearly 40-year-old Pacquiao as a stepping stone.

“Would I like to see him get a (knockout?), Yes, of course,” Arum said to “But again, as you know, he’s a smaller guy fighting these welterweights and he’s certainly not as fast as he used to be and so his knockout ability, I think, has diminished over time.”

A lot of boxing fans see Arum feeding Pacquiao to the younger Lomachenko or Crawford to make those guys his new star for his Top Rank stable. Pacquiao has made Arum a ton of money during his time with Top Rank with all of his huge pay-per-view bouts. Arum hasn’t had anyone that has generated the kind of money long term through PPV that Pacquiao has had for him. But instead of letting Pacquiao end his career on a positive note with some easy fights against guys that he can probably beat like Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner, Arum wants to match him against his own fighters Crawford or Lomachenko. It looks to some boxing fans that Arum is having Pacquiao be a stepping stone to turn his fighters Crawford or Lomachenko into stars. Those fans wonder where the gratitude from Arum with Pacquiao is after he’s made so much money for him over the years with his big fights. It would be nice for Arum to let Pacquiao go out on a high with a fight with Khan, Broner or Matthysse instead of putting him in a fight where he could end up either being embarrassed or hurt against Lomachenko or Crawford.

Recently, Crawford said that he would never let himself be put in the same situation Pacquiao is about to be put in by staying too long in the sport and being fed to younger fighters. Crawford said he would retire. He wouldn’t let that happen to him. With Pacquiao being a senator in the Philippines, it’s surprising that he’s going to agree to fight Lomachenko or Crawford. You would think that as a politician that Pacquiao would have become more assertive with his career. Fighting on Crawford vs. Horn undercard on April 14 is another thing that you have to wonder about. Why Pacquiao agree to fight on an undercard against a shot fighter like Mike Alvarado. It looks so bad for Pacquiao. In Pacquiao’s last fight, Arum matched him up against Jeff Horn in the Australian fighter’s home country in Brisbane, Australia last July. The results saw Pacquiao losing a controversial 12 round unanimous decision to Horn. Pacquiao was roughed up continually by Horn in the process of losing that fight. Why was Pacquiao put in the position of having to fight Horn in Australia in the first place? A big star like Pacquiao shouldn’t have ever been put in that position.

“That’s going to be up to Mr. Pacquiao,” Arum said in talking about who Pacquiao will fight next between Crawford and Lomachenko. “Both can make good money fighting Pacquiao and I’m going to let Manny, assuming everything works out in April, make the decision.”

Pacquiao can make good money fighting Crawford and Lomachenko, but he can also make good money facing other fighters like Broner, Khan, Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse. Those would be fights that would likely have a better outcome for Pacquiao.

In a perfect world, Pacquiao would beat Alvarado and then choose between Lomachenko and Crawford and beat one of them as well. Pacquiao would then retire from boxing as a hero. Arum would be left with a diminished Crawford or Lomachenko, and with no replacement for Pacquiao as the next PPV star for Top Rank. But this is real life, and Pacquiao is about to turn 40-years-old in December. He’s likely going to end up getting beaten badly by Crawford or Lomachenko, and his career will end on a sad note instead of on a positive.

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