Home Boxing News Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford close to being signed

Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford close to being signed

Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao. Photo credit: AP

Negotiations are well advanced for WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao 62-7-2 (39) to face WBO counterpart Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 37-0 (28) in Abu Dhabi on June 5.

Earlier this week Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum said he was on the verge of announcing a major fight for the undefeated 33-year-old switch-hitter from Omaha, Nebraska.

“There will be an announcement on Bud Crawford’s next fight within a week,” the Top Rank boss told Barbershop Conversations.

“I can’t reveal it now, but it’ll be a major fight.

“A date, and a place and everything, but I’m not at liberty to discuss it at this time.”

According to The Athletic: “Top Rank has informed its network partner, ESPN, and pay-per-view distributor In Demand to hold June 5 for the potential fight it’s exploring between Pacquiao and Crawford, sources said. Crawford would easily represent Pacquiao’s biggest challenge since he met Floyd Mayweather in a 2015 super fight that shattered revenue records.

“The structure of the deal is contingent on the fight taking place in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, sources said. There’s no agreement for the fight at this time.”

Despite winning world titles in three different weight classes and unifying the junior welterweight division, Crawford has face criticism for his level of opposition. A win over a marquee name like Pacquiao would go a long way to solidify his credentials.

“It would be huge for Crawford, a fighter who has been dogged by criticism over his lack of quality opposition,” Mike Coppinger of The Athletic said. “Crawford is 33 and his biggest win came against Viktor Postol in 2016, a good but not great boxer.

“Pacquiao, even at 42, would represent the toughest opponent of Crawford’s career by a large margin. Yes, Pacquiao hasn’t competed since the summer of 2019, but that performance was utterly impressive, a victory over then-champion Keith Thurman. And Pacquiao is forever a legend.”

Lance Pugmire of The Athletic praised Pacquiao, who turned professional a remarkable 26 years ago, for consistently seeking out the toughest opposition.

“I’ll never forget a breakfast I attended at Pacquiao’s Southern California home two years ago when he and legendary rival Erik Morales discussed their fighting mindsets and fervently agreed they could never accept a ‘light touch’ on the way to retirement,” he said.

“Pacquiao has assessed the landscape of the welterweight division, judged Crawford as the toughest foe and has tabbed him for what might be his final bout. Pacquiao’s legacy won’t be the outcome. It’s the fact that he’s repeatedly never shied from choosing ‘best available’.”

The Middle East is fast becoming a major player in boxing.

“The Middle East has been aggressive in pursuing marquee boxing matches with the promise of massive site fees and that’s what would bring Pacquiao-Crawford to Abu Dhabi: bundles of money,” Coppinger said.

“Saudi Arabia has hotly pursued the rights to the Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua super fight, and Abu Dhabi has been involved there, too.

“If Pacquiao-Crawford is going to happen ― and it’s still a big if at this stage ― a sizable guarantee from Abu Dhabi will be necessary. Without Abu Dhabi, the deal falls apart.”