After yet another solid performance by Terence Crawford, HBO and Top Rank Promotions are forced to once again look around for a viable foe for their rising star.
Crawford was tested for the first three rounds of his fight with Felix Diaz. Then, in usual Crawford fashion, he settled in and used his boxing IQ to stifle Diaz's offensive attack. It was a valiant effort by Diaz, but as usual, he wilted under the pressure of Bud Crawford, and was stopped in the 10th round. Few have shown the ability to withstand Crawford's skill and power over 12 rounds, which makes finding viable opponents for Crawford at 140-pounds nearly impossible.
That task falls into the lap of Top Rank's Bob Arum. Arum not only has to find someone to push Crawford in the ring, but also generate revenue outside of it.
"[Julius] Indongo is here. He came to my fight. Let’s get it on, Indongo. Keith Thurman, whoever. I’m willing to invite anybody,” Crawford told HBO.
Mickey Garcia looked impressive in his return bout, but he’s far from the talent Top Rank needs to foster another PPV event for Crawford. He'd also have to move up two weight classes to fight Crawford, a trend we've seen grow recently, but has proven problematic for the smaller fighter.
There’s always the option of extending the olive branch to PBC and setting up a cross-promotional event against Adrian Broner or Keith Thurman, but aside from Mayweather-Pacquiao, it's hard to find a situation where Arum and Haymon have successfully crossed lines to collaborate.
So what is Top Rank to do? The answer has been staring at them the whole time — it’s time to book Crawford-Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao is far from the fighter he once was, but he’s shown the ability to beat top-level fighters. He’s picked up several wins since his loss to Floyd Mayweather and has done enough to convince casual fans, as wrong as true boxing observers know it to be, that he has one more title run in him. Much like Wladimir Klitschko vs. Anthony Joshua or Bernard Hopkins vs. Sergey Kovalev, a passing of the torch match can show both boxers in a fair light. As long as Pacquiao remains competitive in the fight he’ll earn the praises of those that remember him folding against Floyd Mayweather and add to his legacy by putting together a fine showing against one of the world’s elite fighters.
For Crawford, a marquee PPV against a fighter with the name recognition of Manny Pacquiao is just what the doctor ordered.
Even in defeat, Canelo Alvarez gained a ton of notoriety from fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. and for a closer comparison, Timothy Bradley launched himself into another tax bracket after winning a controversial decision over Pacquiao. In pro wrestling, this is called a “rub.” Whether the young talent wins or loses, the torch is passed by association. A competitive boxing match against someone considered one of the bets of their era has proven to have the same result.
That’s why it’s time for Bob Arum to give Crawford the “rub” and have Pacquiao set up the future of their promotion.