Terrence Crawford a Compelling Dark Horse to Land Manny Fight in 2015

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.

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COMMENTS

-SouthPawFlo :

I'm not so sure this is a smart move, Gamboa was tagging Crawford Pretty Good and had him hurt a few times, and Manny is better Offensively, with better footwork and a South Paw....


-oubobcat :

I wouldn't call Crawford a dark horse at all to fight Pacquiao in 2015. I would call him a leading candidate. He has been performing well and being built towards this fight. Top Rank and HBO lack opponents for Pacquiao and Crawford's performance against Prescott last year opened each their eyes that this could be a guy down the line. He has been moved along since with that idea in mind. Not coincidentally for example his next fight with Ray Beltran is on a week after the Pacquiao-Algieiri fight. I would go as far right now to say that assuming Pac is successful Crawford may be next in line. Look, we'd all love to see Danny Garcia. But that fight is not happening despite what Oscar states. Garcia is advised by Al Haymon, Pac has an exclusive deal with and HBO has made it clear they are not doing business with Haymon. So next best available fighter out there is Crawford. He's undefeated, skilled and has a huge fan base in Omaha. The fight is marketable and boxing fans will eat this up. I do look for it to happen in 2015 and maybe sooner than a lot may think.


-Radam G :

I wouldn't call Crawford a dark horse at all to fight Pacquiao in 2015. I would call him a leading candidate. He has been performing well and being built towards this fight. Top Rank and HBO lack opponents for Pacquiao and Crawford's performance against Prescott last year opened each their eyes that this could be a guy down the line. He has been moved along since with that idea in mind. Not coincidentally for example his next fight with Ray Beltran is on a week after the Pacquiao-Algieiri fight. I would go as far right now to say that assuming Pac is successful Crawford may be next in line. Look, we'd all love to see Danny Garcia. But that fight is not happening despite what Oscar states. Garcia is advised by Al Haymon, Pac has an exclusive deal with and HBO has made it clear they are not doing business with Haymon. So next best available fighter out there is Crawford. He's undefeated, skilled and has a huge fan base in Omaha. The fight is marketable and boxing fans will eat this up. I do look for it to happen in 2015 and maybe sooner than a lot may think.
I'm not buying it. Ev'ybodee and dey momma -- except Money May and Marquez/Hulkquez -- want Da Manny/3m next. OMG! This has been going on for years. Besides, let see the Omahan against Beltran. Beltran will be as tough as nails. He is going to give T-Craw fits. Holla!


-MCM :

Amber Waves of Pain --I love it. Forget about what's probable, I want to think about what's possible. And a megafight in Nebraska is just the kind of thing that could capture hearts and minds. Look at how Lebron's return to Cleveland ignited imaginations: people long for a return of the old-fashioned Hometown Story. Boxing can separate itself from other sports in just this fashion: most basketball, football players etc have no real connection to the cities they play for. But, boxing has always been about the home-town kid. Enough with Vegas megafights (Mayweather excused). I want fights in Buffalo, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and Cincy (thanks, AB). Just have to make sure Crawford gets by Beltran first --I think he will, in what I hope is the fight of the year. Champagne at the Golden Corral!


-brownsugar :

They can do the fight. Like MCM says its got a great pre-existing warm and fuzzy buzz... and enough angles to keep a whole fleet of hype machines churning out spin material for three to six months. But Terrance should avoid such a fight for at least 18 months because he is simply not ready. If Gamboa almost had him close to doing a ten second "Rip Van Winkle". Pac will most certainly have Crawford dreaming about beating the 147 lb icon before the fight reaches the final round. I know its hard for a young hungry fighter like Crawford to decline such an opportunity as huge as fighting Pac since he is dirt farmer poor by comparison. However rushing in the opportunity too soon is a recipe for failure.


-Skibbz :

Am I the only one more disappointed at the prospect of Crawford leaving 135 than anything else? At 135 there are so many good fights for Crawford to be a part of but as BSuge so rightly said it is often too hard for a young and hugnry fighter to decline an opportunity to huge. For Crawford at 135 there is Figueroa who holds the WBC strap, a fight that would no doubt get fans in there seats and be a high quality match up. There's Linares who I'd love to see him face and would be a good opportunity to fight a good southpaw before a mega fight with Pacman. There's the well skilled Terry Flanagan, the British Champ at 135, Richard Abril who hold the WBA 135 title and even Ant Crolla who is improving and is hungry for a shot at a world title. Basically at 135 there are a ton of good fights for him to take which on paper at least he could win and it would cement his supremacy in the division, and help get him more fans he so desperately needs in the process. Throwing Crawford into the mix at 140 would be great too, but the timing's not right in my opinion. There are too many fighters in their primes who have handled their apprenticeships and are competing for the titles on offer in the division. In my opinion Crawford's apprenticeship at world level isn't complete and stepping up to the highest level of competition too soon would be the wrong move.