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Arum talks Pacquiao and Crawford’s next fights

Manny Pacquiao Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum says Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will likely be outside of the United States in a place where he can fight. Arum isn’t saying where the 39-year-old Pacquiao will be fighting next. Arum appears to be still very much involved in Pacquiao’s boxing career despite the talk from fans that the Filipino star has split with the 86-year-old promoter.

The fans want to see Pacquiao fighting unification matches against the like of Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, Errol Spence, Terence Crawford and the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter fight. It’s unclear whether Arum has the same idea as the fans, unless Pacquiao is interested in facing Crawford, who he also promotes.

Amir Khan has talked of wanting Pacquiao to come over to the UK to fight him in a stadium fight. However, there would need to be enough money to satisfy Pacquiao. Taking a fight against another big name like Khan could make it difficult for Pacquiao to get the kind of money that he’s been accustomed to.

“I don’t think so. We’re looking to get spots outside of the United States where he can fight,” Arum said to Fighthype about Pacquiao’s next fight.

Arum would like to match Pacquiao against Terence Crawford or Vasyl Lomachenko. However, those would be difficult fights to get made, and they would likely end badly for Pacquiao. Moreover, those are not fights that would bring in a lot of pay-per-view buys on ESPN, as Lomachenko and Crawford aren’t PPV fighters. They’re ESPN guys, and you can argue they’re more suited to regular ESPN rather than ESPN+. Neither of them has built up enough of a fan base with the casual boxing fans for a fight between them and Pacquiao to be a huge showing. Of course, if Arum can come up with a huge amount of money to lure Pacquiao into fighting Crawford or Lomachenko, then he might be tempted to take the fight. In best possible worlds, Pacquiao will end his career fighting Crawford and Lomachenko in back to back fights. By doing that, Pacquiao will increase the popularity of those guys to some extent with the casual boxing fans, who might not be aware that he’s no longer in the prime of his career.

Pacquiao’s last fight was in Malaysia against WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on July 15. Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) made easy work of the 35-year-old Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) in stopping him in the 7th round. Afterwards, Matthysse announced his retirement from boxing.

Arum says boxing fans will be pleased with Crawford’s opponent for October 13

86-year-old Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he’s not ready to reveal the name of WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s next opponent for October 13, but people will be very pleased with who he’s facing. #14 WBO fringe contender Jose Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs) is believed to be the opponent that Arum will be picking out to match against the unbeaten Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) on October 13 in Omaha, Nebraska. Arum promoted Benavidez and Crawford. However, the boxing world isn’t calling for Crawford to fight the near bottom ranked Benavidez. The fans want to see Crawford fight a good welterweight; ANY good welterweight. The fans preferably want to see Crawford fight someone along the lines of Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia or Amir Khan. Benavidez, 26, is viewed by knowledgeable boxing fans as a guy with a pumped up record of stiffs. Benavidez has only fought one contender in his career in Mauricio Herrera four years ago in 2014, and he looked VERY poor in that fight in winning a questionable 12 round decision. It’s unknown why Arum and Top Rank has kept Benavidez in their stable all these years. After his fight with Herrera, it would seem clear that h lacks the talent to be a major contender in the 147 pound division.

”I can’t say who it is,” Arum said about Terence Crawford’s next opponent for October 13. ”We program now for ESPN. They’re a big company. We have protocols on how we announce it. Here we have to go through the people at ESPN. They have to make the release, but everybody will be pleased,” Arum said.

A fight between Crawford and Spence is likely a year or two away, as it still needs to be built up more. Spence already is popular enough to bring in a lot of boxing fans from his side, but Crawford would appear to be lagging. With his fights on ESPN+ instead of regular ESPN, Crawford isn’t getting the exposure that he needs for him to increase his popularity in my opinion. I think Crawford would be better off fighting on regular ESPN until he builds up a fan base, and then moving over to the ESPN+ subscription service.

Crawford needs Top Rank to start matching him against solid fighters because it’s not going to help him if they throw Jeff Horn back inside the ring with him for a needless rematch or if they feed him Benavidez. Crawford beat fellow Top Rank fighter Horn by a 9h round knockout last June to capture his WBO 147 pound title. Horn is the fighter that beat Pacquiao by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision last year in July 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. Pacquiao made the mistake of agreeing to travel to Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, and he ended up getting roughed up and robbed of a victory in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Horn wasn’t viewed as a real champion by a lot of fans after that fight.

It would be nice if Arum matched Crawford against a talented welterweight that the fans actually want to see him fight. Arum doesn’t have any talented welterweights in his Top Rank stable at the present time aside from Crawford, which makes things kind of tough for him. All he has is Jeff Horn, Benavidez and Pacquiao. It’s unclear whether Pacquiao is still being promoted by Arum or not. But even if he’s not, if Arum is still working with him to put together fights, it means that we could see him fighting Top Rank guys like Crawford or Lomachenko. Crawford would love the idea of fighting Pacquiao, but I don’t know if the feelings are mutual. Pacquiao would be better off facing a vulnerable welterweight like Amir Khan or the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter fight. Thurman, Spence and Crawford would be nightmarish opponents for Pacquiao to fight.

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