Manny Pacquiao may have been the primary target of Bob Arum and WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford, but he was never a realistic fight option.
Arum, who used to promote Pacquiao, is a master of the bait and switch. The aged Hall of Fame promoter is well-known for using bigger names to help sell lesser fights for his guys. As a matter of fact, he used to do it for Pacquiao back in the day, when a Mayweather fight would be dangled out to the public before Manny would eventually be signed up to face a lesser foe. So, fans shouldn’t be surprised to see him employ this shady salesmanship on Crawford’s behalf.
Since before the Covid shutdown, a Pacquiao fight was being hyped for Crawford. Arum constantly floated it out there for media consumption. But there was never any real deal being discussed. There were no negotiations. And, to this day, there’ve never been any real talks, despite Arum selling the possibility of Pacquiao being next for his fighter and laying out scenarios where middle-east investors may lay out tons of money for the event.
“I don’t know whether [the Pacquiao fight] is gonna come to fruition or not come to fruition,” Arum recently told IFL TV. “It’s such conjecture at this point, again, I don’t even have a concrete offer. Nothing at all concrete.”
Arum had also targeted Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) fighters Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Yordenis Ugas for Crawford. But, again, that was likely nonsense as well. Arum does not have an easy working relationship with PBC. There would also be a ton of business conflicts standing in the way of these fights. Arum has an output deal with ESPN and the PBC fighters have deals with Fox and Showtime.
So, that leaves Kell Brook as the only realistic option of the fighters Arum listed earlier this year as possible opponents for Crawford. Frankly, it looks like it was going to be Brook all along.
The UK’s Brook is a former world welterweight champ who’s been competing at junior middleweight since 2018. His team has, reportedly, been aggressively pursuing this Crawford fight for quite a while. And, given the business realities of Crawford’s career, he was probably going to get it all along.
Boxed out of the welterweight main stage by his deal with Top Rank/ESPN, Crawford has few big fight options . A matchup with Brook, who beat Shawn Porter in 2014 and lost a competitive bout to Errol Spence in 2017, was the biggest, most doable fight out there for him. It was kind of obvious that Brook would be next.
Not so obvious, though, was whether the 34-year-old Brook could still make the 147 lb. limit. But his people say he can. Arum says he can. So, maybe he can.
“They assure me that Brook has lost a lot of weight and is getting into tremendous condition,” Arum said. “To do a Crawford vs. Brook fight is a lot easier because then it would be a fight that would be in the ‘bubble’ here in Las Vegas.”
Crawford-Brook is not a bad fight, although Crawford should win handily. But it’s just not Crawford-Pacquiao.
Then again, Crawford-Pacquiao was never actually a thing in the first place.