An immediate consequence of Top Rank and Team Pacquiao picking a relative nobody to fill one of the Congressman’s precious two annual ring appointments in November is rampant speculation of who he will fight after dispatching with Long Island’s Chris Algieri. After some collective head-scratching followed by irrepressible yawning, the response from the boxing world that expects nothing from the Islander falls along the lines of “Well, who will he fight after Algieri?”
As Pacquiao showed last April against Tim Bradley, he’s still got it. If he’s got five fights left in his career to line his pockets with campaign cash for a potential presidential run in ten years, let’s see him in with some of the top names at 140 and 147.
Obligatory regretful note on Floyd Mayweather: while the megafight remains a potential record-setting draw, Pacquiao isn’t hurting for lucrative dancing partners, especially if, as reported, he’s exploring a return to 140 pounds where the Salka-slaying champion Danny Garcia resides.
Aside from Garcia, with the expected promotional détente Pacquiao could make PPV worthy appearances with Lucas Matthysse, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Kell Brook and hell, throw old friend Juan Manuel Marquez into the mix. But in the event that the cold war reenters the polar vortex of autumn, there’s a readymade opponent in the Top Rank stable in rising lightweight star Terrence Crawford.
Coincidentally, Crawford is set to duel Raymundo Beltran one week after the Pacquiao-Algieri in Macau. If Crawford prevails against the rugged Mexican, he’ll have cleaned out the division at 135 and put a Nebraska-shaped exclamation point on 2014 as the year of Bud Crawford.
At 5’8’’ and with power, Crawford will have little choice but to move up to the more competitive and rewarding 140-pound division at the same time that Pacquiao should be moving down to rekindle his romance with the kayo.
For a sport desperate for an American star younger than 37, you can’t do much better than the Pride of Omaha. He’s turning 27 this month and entering his physical prime. He displays virtuosic hand speed with power, ring cunning, chin, heart; Bud Crawford is the full package and Bob Arum would love to give him the Chris Algieri treatment and introduce him and his story to a wider public by pitting him against his aging superstar in Manny Pacquiao.
It’s clear that old man Arum has taken a shine to Omaha after selling for than 10,000 tickets for Crawford’s spectacular comeback stoppage over Yuriorkis Gamboa last June. Could a strong repeat showing for the Beltran fight tempt Arum to explore bringing Pacquiao into the 85,000 seat stadium at the University of Nebraska an hour away in Lincoln? Probably not, but if you’re looking for a fight that could ignite new interest in the sweet science, you’d have to like the prospects of a cornfed showdown in the middle of nowhere.
You have to admit, “Amber Waves of Pain” has a nice ring to it.
There are two factors we can reasonably count on in Manny’s twilight that will result in better fights than the egg Arum is laying with Chris Algieri. The Congressman’s recent tax troubles coupled with his probable presidential aspirations should mean he’ll try to maximize his purses. Secondly, unlike other certain top pound for pound fighters, you always get the impression from Pacquiao that he wants to deepen his legacy further in the fistic arts. The maestro wants to compose a few more concertos before his body bows out.
The offensive-minded Terrence Crawford could be an explosive matchup for Pacquiao inside the ring. Who really knows what will ever happen between guys like Garcia and Mayweather, their fathers, managers, lawyers and promoters, and the fight world isn’t exactly clamoring for a fifth fight with Marquez.
We might not need to even worry about any of that. Bud wouldn’t think twice about fighting Pacquiao, and I’d give that fight even odds.