Terence Crawford is highly regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, but his career has been desperate for a true big fight since he’s moved up to 147 pounds, where as a Top Rank fighter he’s been frozen out from fighting the rest of the division’s best, who are pretty much all with Premier Boxing Champions.
The 32-year-old Crawford (36-0, 27 KO) and his team have reportedly had some talks about facing WBA titleholder Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO), the legendary 41-year-old who now fights under the PBC banner after years with Top Rank himself — years in which it is alleged he had no interest in fighting Crawford.
This year, there has reportedly been interest on both sides, with Bob Arum also changing his tune on being willing to do the bout, but Crawford just isn’t sure with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of live gates the fight is doable any time soon.
“Manny Pacquiao is the fight we’re still currently looking forward to getting, but the pandemic has messed up a lot of things as far as money issues and whatnot, fans not being able to actually come and see the fight,” Crawford told ESPN’s Max Kellerman.
“I really don’t know how (the situation will play out for a fight) against any top welterweight in the division. When you look at the landscape, the whole thing is gonna come down to money, and if you can’t provide the proper money for each fighter, how can you make a fight happen?”
It remains a terrible situation for Crawford’s career, as PBC control not just Pacquiao but also Errol Spence Jr, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, and even the less-popular likes of Yordenis Ugas, Sergey Lipinets, and Jamal James.
Top Rank just doesn’t have anyone on the roster. They played the Egidijus Kavaliauskas card in December, and Crawford stopped him in nine. Alexander Besputin has no name value in the first place, and is also caught up in a drug testing scandal. Top Rank even had to overpay Amir Khan in Apr. 2020 to come in and give Crawford an opponent with some name recognition, and there’s been a lot of talk of doing the same thing with Kell Brook now in Khan’s place.
The best opponent who’s available might be 22-year-old Vergil Ortiz Jr, who is set to return July 24 against Samuel Vargas, and has said he’s ready to fight Crawford.
“At the end of the day we all have to fight each other, and I’m willing to fight everybody,” Crawford also told Kellerman, but that’s really overshadowed by the current situation with the money available to put on big fights. You can balance some of the cost with pay-per-view, at least if the pay-per-view sells.
It remains a waiting game for Crawford, and frankly not one that seems to have a particularly enticing ending for the time being.