Crawford to fight Pacquiao or Spence in 2021 after Brook, says Arum
By Chris Williams: Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will be fighting Manny Pacquiao or Errol Spence Jr in early 2021 once he’s gotten his fight on November 14th against Kell Brook out of the way.
The Top Rank promoter Arum says he would prefer to have WBO welterweight champion Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) face WBA 147lb champion Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) first in 2021 and then IBF/WBC champ Spence afterward, but he’ll take whichever of the two he can get first.
Arum told ESPN that he had worked out a deal for Crawford to face the 41-year-old Pacquiao in 2020 in Qatar, but the fight was nixed due to the pandemic. We never heard from Pacquiao’s side whether he had any intentions of fighting Crawford.
Crawford needs Pacquiao and Spence
If Crawford wants the big money that has been elusive to him thus far during his career, he needs to face Pacquiao and or Spence in 2021. The big question is whether Arum can deliver those fights for him during the pandemic.
For example, if Crawford does face Spence in early 2021 and is knocked out by him, there’s no way that Arum will be able to convince Pacquiao to fight Terence immediately afterward in the second half of 2021. There would be no upside for Pacquiao to come in and fight a defeated Crawford, who’s value will drop off dramatically after a loss to Spence.
It’s one thing for Arum to say that Crawford head a deal for a fight with Manny, and another thing for Pacquiao to say it. Assuming the COVID 19 is still around in 2021, the odds of Crawford fighting Pacquiao are likely slim and none.
Arum believes that Pacquiao and Crawford will fight next year as long as the fight receives clearance from the Middle East, which would also seem very unlikely to happen. If you look at the news on the pandemic, the situation has worsened as of late, not improving.
With Arum name-dropping Pacquiao and Spence’s names right now, he might be trying to entice the boxing public to watch Crawford’s title defense against former IBF 147lb champion Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) on November 14th.
Crawford, 33, and Brook will be battling it out on ESPN & ESPN Deportes. The start time for the card is at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
In the co-feature on the Crawford-Brook card, WBA ‘regular’ super flyweight champion Joshua Franco defends against Andrew Moloney in a rematch. On the card is the young light-welterweight knockout artist Elvis Rodriguez (10-0-1, 10 KOs) facing an opponent still to be determined.
Arum aiming high for Terence in 2021
“The next fight is going to be, as far as I can control things, we’re not going to fool around, it’s going to be Pacquiao or Spence,” Arum said ESPN.
“It’s to everybody’s benefit for us to do it together. “If the fighters want guarantees, I think Haymon would be reluctant to face that bill himself.
“If it cratered, he would lose a lot of money. This way he would have a partner in the money.”
Arum is getting ahead of himself, talking about Spence and Pacquiao as potential options for Crawford’s next fight in early 2021. It helps Arum and Top Rank to talk about Crawford potentially taking on Manny or Errol in the first half of next year, but it’s quite possible we won’t see either of those fights.
Spence, 30, has already said that he wants Pacquiao in his next fight after he faces Danny Garcia. After Spence takes on Pacquiao, he’ll fight Crawford after that and then move up to 154 to begin campaigning as a junior middleweight.
If Spence goes ahead with his plans, he won’t fight Crawford in early 2021. What could get in the way of Spence and Crawford’s plans for a fight against Pacquiao in early 2021 is the Filipino star’s senatorial job in the Philippines. He’s not likely to step away from his duties during the pandemic.
That’s not likely to happen. It would play out badly if Pacquiao took a time out from his job as a senator to fight Crawford or Spence. You can argue that’s the reason why Pacquiao didn’t fight in 2020. He’s been busy helping his countryman to deal with the pandemic.
Minimal buzz for Crawford vs. Brook
Not surprisingly, there’s not much interest from U.S boxing fans in Crawford’s fight against the 34-year-old Brook on November 14th. Here we are one week away from the Crawford-Brook fight, and very few boxing fans are discussing that contest on social media.
It’s a good fight, but the casual fans in the States aren’t familiar with Brook, who has let his career slide following his defeats against Spence and Gennadiy Golovkin. Following those defeats, Brook eased off with fighting talented, world-class opposition in the last two years. He’s been taking it easy fighting lesser fighters and not keeping his name in the limelight.
As a result, Brook has become an afterthought in the eyes of the hardcore boxing fans that are familiar with him. The low-level of opposition that Brook has been fighting and his inactivity reinforced the view that people have about him being over-the-hill at 34.
The fans have been thinking this for the last two years because Brook hasn’t shown a willingness to get back in there against talented opposition. Two years ago, Brook announced that he was moving up to 154 to begin campaigning as a junior middleweight. But despite having chances to fight Jermell Charlo, Tony Harrison, and Jarrett Hurd, Brook has chosen to fight these fringe level contenders:
- Sergey Rabchenko
- Michael Zerafa
- Mark DeLuca
Errol must beat Danny Garcia on December 5th
Spence still needs to win his December 5th fight against former two-division world champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) on Fox Sports pay-per-view from the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It’s not a sure thing that Spence wins that fight, as he’s facing arguably the hardest puncher in the welterweight division. Also, Spence is coming off of a car crash, and he may not be able to take getting hit to the head as he did before.
If there are lingering neurological problems from Spence being ejected from his Ferrari Spyder during his car accident in October 2019, Danny is someone that could take advantage of that.
Spence and Crawford is a fight that can happen next year, and it would likely end up in front of a limited-sized crowd at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. In other words, it’ll be the same venue where Spence is facing Danny Garcia on December 5th.
Arum is also interested in staging the Spence vs. Crawford fight at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, in front of a crowd. If Spence can’t get the fight with the soon to be 42-year-old Pacquiao in early 2021, he might opt to take on Crawford to get that match out of the way.
Arum is still getting ahead of himself in talking about Crawford fighting both Spence and Pacquiao in 2021. First of all, Crawford might lose to Brook on November 14th.
Brook could overturn the applecart
We don’t know if Brook has anything left after two years of facing soft opposition and dealing with his eye injuries from his fights with Spence and Golovkin. If Brook is 80 to 90% of what he was back then, he probably beats Crawford, who has been selectively matched during his 12-year pro career.
And we know that Crawford can beat lesser guys like Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez, Amir Khan, and Egidijus Kavaliauskas, but we don’t know how he’ll do against talented fighters.
For whatever reason, Top Rank has chosen not to put Crawford in with the best at 140 and 147. As such, if Brook is almost as good as he used to be, he probably beats Crawford and exposes him as a product of years of soft match-making. When and if that happens, Arum can forget about his visions of Crawford facing Spence and Pacquiao in 2021.
Arum will have to resume matching Crawford against fighters like Viktor Postol, John Molina Jr, Khan, and Felix Diaz. Maybe in a couple of years, Arum can start banging the drum again to fight between Crawford and Pacquiao and Spence, but it isn’t very certain.
Those talents will have likely moved, leaving Crawford with little option but to face young lions like Vergil Ortiz Jr, Jose Ramirez, and Josh Taylor.
Crawford has never fought a quality welterweight before, and he doesn’t react well when he gets hit with headshots. Egidijus Kavaliauskas had Crawford on the deck last December, and he stunned him a couple of times in that fight.
Brook, even at his worst, is a far superior fighter than Kavaliauskas, who is more of a fringe level guy. If you’ve been keeping score, Kavaliauskas fought to a controversial 10 round draw in his previous fight against fringe contender Ray Robinson before his title shot against Crawford last year.
Boxing fans thought Robinson had done more than enough to beat Kavaliauskas. But instead of Robinson getting the title shot against Crawford, fellow Top Rank promoted Kavaliauskas got the call.
So if Crawford struggles to beat fringe contender level fighters like Kavaliauskas, what does that say about his chances of defeating Brook, a world-class contender? Crawford could lose to him.
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