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Terence Crawford sends Keith Thurman a message: wants him to beat Pacquiao

Keith Thurman Manny Pacquiao Terence Crawford

By Dan Ambrose: Terence Crawford says he wants WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman to beat Manny Pacquiao in their fight on July 20, and then he wants him to move on to bigger fights. Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) doesn’t say which fights he specifically wants the unbeaten Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) to take if/when he beats the 40-year-old Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), but it doesn’t requite a rocket scientist to figure out that he wants Thurman to fight him next. Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen. Errol Spence Jr. can’t even get Thurman to fight him, and he’s been trying for the last three years since 2016.

“I’ve been knowing Keith Thurman since the amateur days. I wish him nothing but the best,” Crawford said to Fighthype. “I hope he goes out there to do his thing and take care of Pacquiao, get the victory, and move on with his career to bigger and better things,” Crawford said.

Is Crawford holding a grudge against Pacquiao?

There are some boxing fans who feel that Crawford is less than happy with the 40-year-old Pacquiao, because he never attempted to fight him when the two were both signed with Top Rank. Crawford wanted the fight with Manny, but the match never got made. Whether it was Pacquiao or his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank that kept the fight with Crawford from taking place is unclear. With the kind of pull that Pacquiao has, it’s hard to imagine him not getting the fight with Crawford if he’d insisted that Top Rank make that fight. It’s too bad for Crawford. It would have taken his career to the next level if he’d beaten Pacquiao and added his pelt to his large collection of fine pelts. Crawford might be a pay-per-view star at this point in his career if he’d beaten Pacquiao years ago. Crawford recently fought in his second pay-per-view match of his career against the shot Amir Khan on April 20, and the fight is rumored to have brought in only 100,000 buys on ESPN. This is a bump up from the 50,000 buys Crawford’s first PPV effort against Viktor Postol is rumored to have brought in back in 2016. Still, those are very low numbers. Crawford needs a big win on his resume, and fast. A fight between Crawford and former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook is being talked about taking place in September. That’s not a much that will interest a lot of American boxing fans unfortunately, because Brook is seen as an over-the-hill fighter just like Khan. The casual U.S fans know of Brook from his losses to Spence and former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

“I’d love to get in the ring with all those welterweights [from Premier Boxing Champions]. If we do, we do. If we don’t, then there’s nothing I can do,” Crawford said.

Crawford might need to think about focus on whatever guys that Top Rank can dig up for him and forget about guys like Thurman, Spence, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Pacquiao. That was Crawford’s call though. He decided to re-up with Top Rank. He kind of followed the path that Tim Bradley chose when he re-upped with Top Rank years ago rather than go in another direction to get fights against some of the PBC guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“We’re going to talk a little bit more this week about the next move is for Terence Crawford,” said Crawford.

Crawford vs. Brook isn’t a bad fight

If Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) turns out to be the opponent for Crawford to fight next in the tail end of the summer, it’s not that bad of a fight. As long Top Rank doesn’t put the fight on ESPN PPV, it should do alright. It wouldn’t be a good idea for Top Rank to continue to put Crawford’s fights on pay-per-view, because his fan base isn’t going to grow by leaps and bounds. Khan and Brook aren’t well known in the U.S, and aren’t well thought of by the boxing fans that do know of them. They’re both seen as shot fighters. The only names that make sense for Crawford to fight on PPV is Spence, Vasily Lomachenko, Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. The only name among those handful of fighters that has a chance of fighting Crawford is Spence. Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum is still hopeful that fight can get made later this year.

Regis Prograis worried about Pacquiao’s health against Thurman

WBA light welterweight champion Regis Prograis says he doesn’t want to see Pacquiao get hurt by the 30-year-old Thurman. He wants the former eight division world champion Pacquiao to retire after the Thurman fight, because he feels he could get hurt if he continues much longer.

Pacquiao, I’d hate to see him go out and get dominated. Can Thurman do it, I don’t know,” said WBA light welterweight champion Regis Prograis to Fighthype in talking about the Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight. “Pacquiao, his age is showing. Basically, his last fight against [Adrien] Broner; he beat Broner, but he didn’t look like too much. He looked slow,” Prograis said.

The first six rounds will likely be the toughest part of fight for Pacquiao against Thurman. That’s where Pacquiao will get hit the hardest, and struggle the most. Thurman always fades in the second half of his fights, and he becomes tired and gun-shy at that point. Thurman’s legs still work, but he doesn’t throw as many punches in the second half of his contests. Thurman often looks scared in the second part of his fights. If Pacquiao can take the fight to Thurman, and chase him down, he has a chance of beating him if he’s still around by that point in the fight.

“Of course, he still looked faster than most people, because he’s Manny Pacquiao, but he’s looking slower,” Prograis said. “He’s the only eight division champion in the history of the sport, but at the same time, against Broner, he didn’t look great. He hasn’t looked good for a lot of fights. Against Jeff Horn, against Broner, he hasn’t been looking good. His age; nobody has beaten father time. Everybody has lost. With that, Keith Thurman is young, he’s strong, he’s undefeated. I saw he got rocked [against Josesito Lopez] last January, but it was a comeback fight,. He hasn’t been in the ring for so long. You can judge it, but at the same time, you really can’t judge it, because that was a come back. That long layoff, he [Thurman] was a little rusty, but against Pacquiao, he won’t be,” said Prograis.

Prograis, and many other people, are assuming that the only reason Thurman looked bad against Joesito Lopez is because he’d been off for 22 months. They’re not factoring in the natural thing that happens with athletes when they hit their 30s. It might be unreasonable to assume that Thurman is going to be able to ever get back to the fighter that he once was three to five years ago. Without a time placement machine that can move a 25-year-old Thurman into the ring on July 20 to fight Pacquiao instead of a 30-year-old Thurman, we might see him struggle and possibly lose once he runs out of gas. If Thurman runs around the ring to avoid the smaller, older 40-year-old Pacquiao, it’s going to be seen as a loss for him even if he wins a decision. Given the size and age difference between the two fighters, Thurman has to fight bravely, stand his ground and dominate. If he reverts to the same form he showed against Danny Garcia and Porter, he’s going to be booed out of the arena on July 20.

“I think Pacquiao can still win because he’s Pacquiao. He’s a legend,” Prograis said. “He’s been in with way bigger punchers than Thurman. He’s been in with [Miguel] Cotto. He barely got hit by [Ricky] Hatton. You’re talking about people like [Antonio] Margarito and [Joshua] Clottey. He fought all those big names. He destroyed them. He ran through them, but he’s not the same Pacquiao no more. I don’t want to see him get hurt. He can win, but at the same time, he’s 40 now. We all what happens when an old man [fights a younger man]. They start slowing in the ring. Keith Thurman is 30. He’s way younger than Pacquiao by 10 years. There’s a difference. I don’t want to see Pacquiao get hurt. Sometime, that may be the best thing for him. You never know; like when [Sugar] Ray Leonard came back [against Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho in 1997 and lost by a fifth round knockout after being retired for six years],” Prograis said.

Pacquiao retire at some point, possibly after the fight with One Time. But it might take more than a loss to Thurman for that to happen. Pacquiao can still make money, and we don’t know what his finances are and what his reasons are for him to be still fighting at his age. Maybe Pacquiao needs money? Who knows? Thurman likely won’t be still fighting at 40. He’s not the same dominating fighter that Pacquiao was when he was 30. Thurman is fighting more like one guy with one foot in retirement. If Thurman’s last performance against Josesito Lopez is any kind of indication of what he has left in the tank at 30, he’ll be lucky to be still fighting three years from now at age 33.

“50-50, I think he [Pacquiao] can win, but I’m more for Thurman,” Prograis said. “I’d like to see Pacquiao win, but at the same time, I’m ready for him to retire. If he has a hard fight with Thurman, and he beats him, and he takes hard punches from Thurman, that might do something to him in the long run. I’m talking about health-wise. It might be a good thing for him to get beat bad, because he’ll retire. If he loses and it’s a close fight, he can think, ‘Oh, I still got it.’ Then he’ll have to fight somebody else like a Shawn Porter or Errol Spence, which would be tough fights for him,” said Prograis.

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