Manny Pacquiao was recently named “champion in recess” by the WBA, which is basically that tip-toeing halfassed boxing speak for stripping him of the belt, but also recently said he’s training and gearing up to return to the ring, saying he’d have news “soon.”
Pacquiao, who turned 42 in December, hasn’t fought since July 2019 when he beat Keith Thurman to win the WBA belt, and tells the Daily Tribune that he wants a title fight. WBO titlist Terence “Bud” Crawford came up specifically, and Pacquiao says his team have given Top Rank promoter Bob Arum the figures:
“I like to fight somebody who has a title. ... We told Bob I get $40 million and Crawford gets $10 million. ... I will fight anybody. You know me, I don’t back away from any challenge. Bring ‘em on!”
The article names Crawford (37-0, 28 KO) as Pacquiao’s “first choice,” but that’s probably by process of elimination at this point. Manny had been very clear that he really wanted to do a fight with UFC star Conor McGregor, before McGregor was knocked out in the Octagon in January, and talks for a potential bout with young lightweight star Ryan Garcia flared up and fizzled out with quickness.
When the WBA removed Pacquiao as “super world” champ, they moved Yordenis Ugas up from “world” champion status, a move that seems pretty transparently designed for PBC to set up an Errol Spence Jr vs Yordenis Ugas fight for three belts. And Pacquiao didn’t seem that interested in Spence in the first place, so Crawford really might be the best bet right now.
But this could all come to nothing, too. $40 million for Pacquiao and $10 million for Crawford would mean the money is going to largely have to come from a site fee, and right now there just might not be anywhere willing to offer that, or even really able to, given how quickly things are “opening” and “closing” for business around the world, and it changes everywhere, all the time, at different times.
If it can be done, and Pacquiao really does want it, then it’s a no-brainer for Crawford and Top Rank, or should be. Crawford is a tremendous fighter who at 33 has won world titles in three weight classes and become a top pound-for-pound talent, but he still doesn’t have that signature win, and at 147 for the last three years, Top Rank simply have not been able to provide him a truly big fight, because all the in-prime, name guys have been with PBC. Pacquiao is still the biggest name in the welterweight division, and by quite a bit. It’s a fight ESPN and Top Rank could legitimately put on pay-per-view for extra revenue, too.