By Rich Cheney: HBO commentator Roy Jones Jr. believes that Terence Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs) can get fights against Manny Pacquiao or Keith Thurman following his win over Felix Diaz last Saturday night. Unlike a lot of boxing fans, Jones believes the former 8 division world champion Pacquiao will agree to fight Crawford if the money is right and the situation is ideal for him.
The problem is that Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum likely wouldn’t stick his neck out by giving Pacquiao a big guaranteed purse for a fight against Crawford. It would be a risky venture for Arum to guarantee big money that the 38-yeard-old Pacquiao was accustomed to receiving during the zenith of his pro career. Pacquiao was getting $20 million minimum per fight in the past. That was when Pacquiao was bringing in over 1 million PPV buys on a frequent basis fighting the likes of Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“Of course, he would,” said HBO boxing commentator Roy Jones Jr. last Saturday night in suggesting that Pacquiao will want to fight Crawford. “Manny Pacquiao is a guy that is just as competitive as Terence Crawford. Manny Pacquiao has looked good in his past fights. He still has a little bit left in the tank. He’s definitely a competitive type of guy. He would gladly welcome a fighter like Crawford in the right type of situation, then why shouldn’t he fight Terence Crawford?” said Jones Jr.
I like the way Jones Jr. speaks for Pacquiao and Crawford. I don’t think the Filipino star sees things in such a black and white way as Jones Jr. does when it comes to the guys he’s willing to fight. At this point, Pacquiao seems to want to take on the guys that will give him the biggest paydays possible. However, with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum being the guy that is doing the match-making for him, he’s not been put in with guys like Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence Jr., Amir Khan, Adrien Broner or Kell Brook. Those guys aren’t in Arum’s stable of fighters.
Arum was asked recently if he would be interested in matching Pacquiao against Thurman or Garcia, he seemed disinterested in either of those fights. Last Saturday, Arum was asked about matching Crawford against Thurman, and he pointed out that Thurman just had elbow surgery. He’s not an option right now for Crawford. It doesn’t look like Crawford or Pacquiao will be put in with Thurman anytime soon by Arum. The boxing public would like to see Crawford fight Pacquiao or Thurman. Whether either of those fights happen remains to be seen.
”He qualifies to fight ‘One Time’ [Keith Thurman]. ‘One Time’ has risen to the top of the division in my eyes because he’s beaten the best in the division in Danny Garcia, who was the ruler at 147,” said Jones Jr.
The question is does Crawford qualify to jump to the head of the line to fight WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman right away? I don’t think Crawford does. While there are a number of HARDCORE boxing fans that would love to see Crawford fight Thurman, the casual fans aren’t demanding that fight take place. Since the sport of boxing is ruled by the casual fans, I think it’s clear that Thurman would do far better to fight a rematch with Danny Garcia, who is a bigger name than Crawford in my opinion, or fight the winner of the Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr. fight.
Thurman can actually gain something by fighting the Brook-Spence winner, because Brook has the IBF welterweight title. If Thurman beats the winner of that fight, it would make him a 3-belt champion at 147. It would be further proof that Thurman is the best at welterweight. Crawford is not relevant at this time at 147. Until he moves up in weight and beats someone good like Spence, then I don’t see him as someone that is worth being discussed as a potential opponent in the future for Thurman.
I DEFINITELY not see Thurman’s manager Al Haymon thinking of having him fight Crawford, who is with Top Rank. I could be wrong, but I don’t think for a second that Haymon is interested in putting a fight together with Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum for a Thurman-Crawford fight. I do not see that fight ever happening in this lifetime unless Crawford becomes a HUGE PPV star in the future. Right now, Crawford is not a PPV fighter. He fought once on PPV and brought in just 50,000 buys last year in his match against Viktor Postol.
Jones Jr. is out there in outer space in saying that Danny Garcia was the ruler of the welterweight division before Thurman beat him earlier this year in March. As far as I can tell, Garcia was just a guy that moved up to 147 and struggled to beat Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero to win the vacant World Boxing Council welterweight title in 2016. Garcia didn’t beat a good fighter that was relevant at 147 to win the WBC title. Garcia is a decent fighter, but hardly the ruler of the welterweight division as Jones Jr. says he was.
”So with Floyd [Mayweather Jr.] being gone and ‘One Time’ being the ruler, why not put the two together?” said Jones Jr. about a dream fight between Crawford and Thurman. ”That’s what boxing is all about. That’s what we do. A real fighter wants to go up and fight the next real fighter. Real fighters don’t look down, they look up. He’s [Crawford] not looking for guys under him. He’s looking for guys above him. You don’t prove a point by beating the little guys. You prove a point by beating the big guys,” said Jones Jr.
The last time I checked, Crawford was recently interested in fighting lightweight Mikey Garcia and super featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko if they’re willing to move up to 140. I think Jones Jr. is wrong about Crawford not looking down in weight for fights. Crawford is looking both down and up for fights, but he’s also selective in who he’s interested in fighting. When Spence has been mentioned as a possibility for Crawford to fight, he’s sounded less than thrilled at the idea.
I don’t think Crawford wants the Spence business, because that would be a very, very tough fight for him. In looking at how the 5’5” Diaz was able to snap Crawford’s head back with a right hand in the 7th round, I think it would end badly for Crawford to take on a big time slugger like Spence, who is naturally bigger and stronger than him. Crawford has a slender frame, and he’s not particularly fast of hand. Crawford might be able to elude Spence for a while, but the 2012 U.S Olympian would catch up to him during the night and wear him down with body shots.
We saw Crawford holding a lot against Diaz last Saturday night, but I don’t think Crawford would be able to do the same thing against Spence because he’s very powerful and he continues to throw punches while being held. Diaz didn’t do that last night, perhaps because he was so tiny or maybe he wasn’t trained right to fight through the clinch instead of giving up the way he did.