Terence Crawford has waited around long enough for a big fight to fall on his lap, and he’s more than deserving for it, but Crawford finds himself once again facing off an opponent that nobody wants any business with while big paydays continue to feast on soft touches.
Not that there is anything wrong with Crawford fighting Felix Diaz this weekend, but the prospects for Crawford are looking bleak in the long term and nobody, not even Crawford’s promoter Top Rank, seems to want to roll the dice on the supremely talented two-division champion.
The natural fight to make has been to match Crawford up with aging legend Manny Pacquiao in what is easily one of the biggest fights in the sport to make now that Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin have finally come to terms, but that is easier said than done. Pacquiao’s team has made no indication that they are going to be looking at Crawford as an opponent anytime soon, opting to target ready-to-order opponents so Pacquiao can rake up as much cash as he can before his gifts are rendered useless by age.
Pacquiao’s next opponent is part-time civil servant Jeff Horn of Australia in a fight that has been announced and publicized under conditions of anonymity. There is a great chance that Pacquiao’s fight will be his second consecutive fight not carried by a major network, a shocking reversal of fortune from just a few years ago when he was one of the sport’s top attractions, and that’s all fine by him.
It’s all about the money, and Crawford simply doesn’t merit the risk for the reward. Pacquiao’s team made a $20 million demand to make a Crawford fight happen earlier in the year before moving on to a stillborn negotiation with Amir Khan, only to settle on the unheralded Horn for a July clash.
Crawford’s handlers haven’t had much luck in boosting his profile, either. An abysmal pay-per-view with Viktor Postol drew in the neighborhood of 50k buys and his opponent selection since blitzing Yuriorkis Gamboa in a fight of the year candidate a few years back has dulled his shine. Diaz is going to be Crawford’s toughest fight in some time and should test him for the duration of their clash, but it very well could turn into an ugly stylistic clash between two tactical-minded boxers that could sink his stock even in victory.
Win or lose, Crawford is still going to be ways away from landing the bout that would cement him as one of the premier fighters of this era. Pacquiao’s team may either re-visit Khan or even try to goad Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia for a catchweight fight in the near future, and it is hard to imagine that Crawford and his team would take the smaller share moving up to Welterweight to fight Keith Thurman or the winner of Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence next weekend.
He’s going to have to keep doing what he is doing: Fighting guys either nobody has heard of or nobody wants business with. He’s going to have to keep dreaming.