Boxing fans are getting restless with the career of Terence Crawford, though not because of anything the undefeated WBO welterweight champion has done. Rather, it's what hasn’t happened, despite the 32-year-old being widely recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
The politics of boxing have been to blame for Crawford’s inability to land a fight against a marquee welterweight, as the biggest and best names in the division are all nestled underneath the umbrella of Premier Boxing Champions. Crawford remains aligned with Top Rank.
But Bob Arum has been optimistic Crawford will land a major fight once the coronavirus pandemic subsides and the boxing world returns to some sort of normalcy. Two of the targeted names are IBF and WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBA (Super) welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.
A potential Crawford-Pacquiao fight appeared to be a lost cause once Pacquiao left Top Rank after dropping a controversial decision to Jeff Horn back in 2017. But Pacquiao has since revived his boxing career with impressive wins against Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman.
Although now 41 years old, Pacquiao is one of the most recognizable names in boxing and would afford Crawford the opportunity to thrust himself into mainstream stardom. Per Arum, he had started working on a potential showdown before COVID-19 ran roughshod over the boxing world.
“I had feelers out before all of this happened with the coronavirus where it was pretty much down the line about getting a Pacquiao-Crawford fight on late in the summer or in the fall,” Arum explained in an interview with Boxing Scene. “Then, of course, everything blew up. But I am optimistic that I will be able to continue with these talks in the next month or so. I talked to Terence and (trainer/manager Brian McIntyre) about it. It appears to me that Crawford and Pacquiao wanna go ahead with that fight.”
Arum revealed there have been “tentative talks” about a fight that would need a “big site fee,” with the possibility of the showdown happening outside of the United States. There is also the challenge of dealing with Pacquiao’s new advisor, Al Haymon (although the two sides demonstrated they could work together with the recent Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight).
If that's unable to come together, Arum is also optimistic a fight with Spence could materialize in 2021. He said in an interview with Crystina Poncher that the groundwork was being laid before the coronavirus brought boxing to a screeching halt.
“If we hadn’t had this coronavirus situation and continued doing fights in March and to this day, we would be talking about a Crawford-Spence fight towards the end of the year,” Arum said. “I really believe that would’ve happened.”
The 88-year-old is optimistic a fight could come together sometime next year once the pandemic is over.
“I’m optimistic it will happen next year once this situation clears itself up and once we’re operating as usual again," Arum said.
Crawford, Spence and Pacquiao have yet to fight in 2020. Crawford was last seen stopping Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the ninth round of their December showdown; there were rumors of a return in the spring before the coronavirus. Spence has been sidelined after a frightening car accident in October following his hard-fought victory over Shawn Porter, which dashed a January fight against Danny Garcia.
As for Pacquiao, there were rumors of a summer fight with Mikey Garcia in Saudi Arabia following his July 2019 victory over Keith Thurman. But nothing was officially scheduled and the Filipino senator will wait for the pandemic to subside before weighing his options.