By Danny Howard
Outside of Saul Alvarez getting his permission slip signed by Oscar De La Hoya to fight Gennady Golovkin, there is no bigger and more important fight to make in the sport than Manny Pacquiao vs. Terence Crawford. Pacquiao/Crawford is, by all accounts, an easy fight to make being that they are both promoted by Top Rank and are amongst the most recognizable active fighters in the world.
While Crawford’s team has been more than willing to pursue the opportunity to end Pacquiao’s legendary run, a sticking point has always been the apprehensive approach from Pacquiao’s team looking to profit as much from Pacquiao’s twilight as they can. However, Pacquiao’s manager and mouthpiece Michael Koncz recently came out and said Pacquiao will fight Crawford as long as he is guaranteed a $20 million purse.
Now a $20 million demand isn’t that far-fetched considering the magnitude of a Pacquiao/Crawford bout, but Pacquiao just isn’t that big of a deal anymore and funds might be hard to come from indication of his recent performances. Pacquiao came back from the undressing he suffered at the hands of Floyd Mayweather to win underwhelming bouts between Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas, each failing to find an audience and the latter failing to find a network to air it.
Behind Pacquiao’s inflammatory statements in regards to gay marriage and the fatigue of watching a third fight with Bradley, the pay-per-view bombed miserably. HBO simply turned down the Vargas fight and had to be aired by Top Rank amidst criticisms of the selection of a Vargas as a soft touch with a belt.
Money is a tremendously big issue for Pacquiao, who is notorious for his horrifying mismanagement of funds throughout the years and admitted that he returned to boxing after being elected as a Senator in the Philippines because he is practically broke, but it’s an even bigger for his promoter.
Top Rank would have to risk taking a loss like they did in the third Bradley fight to pad Pacquiao’s purse, and it is every bit of a risk as Crawford’s subdued personality makes him a formidable threat to not only Pacquiao in the ring, but potential buys as he may not add much to the promotion outside of the initial anticipation.
Being that Pacquiao’s premise for returning to the ring is to make as much money as he possibly can with the time he has left, it is also not outside of the realm of possibility that the $20 million demand is just a public demand with a hint of subversion saying that Pacquiao does not want any part of Crawford right now, and for good reason.
At this point of his career, Pacquiao’s speed and activity have come down to a crawl. He’s getting hit a lot more, but against opponents that do not have the punching power or ring IQ that Crawford possesses. It took Pacquiao more time to get going against Bradley and Vargas who are as textbook as it gets whereas Crawford basically possesses all the makings of being a nightmare match up for Pacquiao in his prime, let alone now.
If Crawford beats Pacquiao, and chances are that he absolutely would, then Pacquiao’s retirement tour ends up a few bucks short and loses all the leverage to demand anything over $5 million unless it is in another risky fight where another beating awaits him. Pacquiao is looking for a soft landing to pad his pockets one last time, so this may not be part of the plan.
It comes to no surprise that Arum is talking up the unheralded and grossly underprepared Jeff Horn (who?) as a Pacquiao opponent, or the ludicrous notion that Jr. Lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will climb three weight classes to take a beating at Pacquiao’s hands whereas Crawford is still in the wings, waiting for a call.
Pacquiao/Crawford is risky business, and the fact that it is taking this long to make means not everybody is on board to make the fight that makes perfect sense.
Danny Howard has been all over the place, writing for FightHype, the Yahoo Contributor Network and the Examiner. He also became a legend in his own mind by writing “And Stay Down! Boxing’s Worst Comebacks, which you can either buy on Amazon or email him for a free copy. Howard can be found on Facebook or Twitter @dbbox625 or let him have it directly at Daniel.Howard6@att.net