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Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford in talks for June 5 in Abu Dhabi

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Top Rank previously attempted to stage the bout in Bahrain last year.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images and Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

It’s not a unification match anymore, but Terence Crawford vs. Manny Pacquiao remains in play. The Athletic reports that “Top Rank has informed its network partner, ESPN, and pay-per-view distributor In Demand to hold June 5 for the potential fight,” which is “contingent” on it taking place in Abu Dhabi.

Bob Arum recently claimed he’d “be announcing a major PPV fight for Terence Crawford this week,” so that tracks but also seems a bit premature. According to Mike Coppinger, there’s “no agreement for the fight at this time.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Top Rank tried to pit “Bud” (37-0, 28 KO) against “Pac-Man” (62-7-2, 29 KO); they were “in serious talks” to stage the bout in Bahrain last year, but nothing ever came of that. Pacquiao, who hasn’t fought since a July 2019 decision over Keith Thurman and was recently named champion in recess due to inactivity, stated in January that he’d face Crawford for $40 million and had been linked to a fight with Mikey Garcia.

No telling whether Top Rank met his asking price.

As Coppinger points out, Pacquiao could be the marquee opponent Crawford so desperately needs. For all his obvious talent, the Nebraskan’s best wins came over a blown-up Yuriorkis Gamboa, Viktor Postol, Jeff Horn, and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. A world-renowned fighter like Pacquiao, faded though he may be, would immediately stand out on his résumé.

At the same time, they’d be striking while the iron is bone-cold; Pacquiao’s age and the enormous physical disparities between the two made this a hard sell even at the best of times, and slapping a two-year layoff on top of that makes it difficult to imagine the Filipino legend having any shot at turning back the clock. It’d still sell, sure, but only the most devoted of contrarians would consider it any sort of truly even matchup.

Still, it’s better than Crawford and Errol Spence futilely sniping at each other for another year, so I suppose we should take what we can get.