While WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford is training and staying fit during this forced downtime, his frustration is still percolating.
Frozen out of the welterweight picture due to his promotional/business alliance, the three-division world champ is still on the outside looking in. With the other top dogs at 147 doing their thing under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner, Crawford remains the odd man out. He’s tied to an exclusive contract with Top Rank/ESPN and that makes him, apparently, ineligible for the career-defining battles he so desperately craves.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Crawford expressed his frustration. He also revisited his long-standing desire to fight 8-division world champ, Manny Pacquiao.
“One of the greatest skill sets of all time,” Crawford said. “For him to move up in so many divisions, and at the same time, he has dominated as he has in the past years. … I’ve been trying to fight Pacquiao since 2015. Back when I was trying to fight them, they wouldn’t fight me. But they were fighting guys like Brandon Rios and Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley. So I don’t know what it was, but I just think that they don’t like my style or whatever the case may be. But now that he’s at the end of his career and the last leg of his run, it may be the money.”
The Omaha, Nebraska native went on with his praise of the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
“He surprised a lot of people with the win over Keith Thurman,” Crawford continued. “A lot of people thought Keith Thurman was going to go in there and just knock him out. Pacquiao showed glimpses of the old Pacquiao that got him to the top.”
Crawford, indeed, has been in a tough spot. Without access to fights against the division’s best– Errol Spence, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter– he’ll never get the acclaim he deserves. He’ll also never get the paychecks he deserves. And, as long as his own professional business ties keep him from getting these other big fights, he’ll never have access to those big fights.
Although blessed with all-time great-level ability, his legacy may be incomplete when he finally hangs up the gloves. At 32 years of age and with an indefinite Covid-19- related inactivity ahead of him, the clock is definitely ticking.
A bout with Pacquiao right now would be the perfect antidote for what ails Crawford’s career at the moment. The feeling he has, though, is that Pacquiao has always been reluctant to meet him and this reluctance won’t be changing any time soon.
Is Crawford too much risk for too little reward for Pacquiao? Does the Filipino icon simply have nothing to gain by meeting someone like Crawford? Are business concerns keeping the fight from happening?
Whatever the case, these two main stage warriors probably won’t ever face one another– and that’s a real shame.
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