In last week’s column, I discussed how the proposed fight between Manny Pacquiao and Vasyl Lomachenko could be a marquee fight because it pits two fighters with distinct legacies: the Filipino being the only boxer to win world titles in eight divisions; and the Russian touted as one of the greatest amateur boxers of all time.
But their official fighting weights – Pacquiao at welterweight (147 pounds) and Lomachenko at junior lightweight (130 pounds) – could potentially make the match go down the drain, because the Filipino might be hesitant to fight at a catchweight of 140 pounds (junior welterweight) that might favor the Russian.
Speaking of junior welterweight, The Ring magazine’s champion for that weight – Terence Crawford – looks very interested in facing Pacquiao and even called out the Filipino after he stopped in eight rounds John Molina over the weekend. Molina is ranked in the Top 10 of The Ring junior welterweight ranking.
Crawford, whose record is 30-0 with 21 knockouts and is the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association champion at junior welterweight, can present a real test for the Filipino because the American, is a notch or two above the last four of the five opponents Pacquiao faced: Brandon Rios; Chris Algieri; Timothy Bradley; and Jessie Vargas.
Standing 5’8” with a 70-inch reach (as opposed to the 5’6” Pacquiao who has a 67-inch wingspan), Crawford’s most notable opponents include Ricky Burns of the United Kingdom (the current World Boxing Association champion); once promising fighter Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba; and Viktor Apostol of Ukraine.
Compared to the proposed Pacquiao-Lomachenko fight, the Pacquiao-Crawford bout makes more sense and can qualify as a marquee or mega fight, because, among others, it pits a future Hall of Famer against a future superstar.
The good news is this fight can generate better pay-per-view (PPV) figures compared to Pacquiao’s fights against Rios, Algieri, Bradley and Vargas, because Crawford has what it takes to upset the Filipino.
Even if he currently fights at junior welterweight, Crawford can easily climb to welterweight to fight Pacquiao and can even outweigh the Filipino during the actual fight.
Many times I have stated that today’s weigh in rules, which is usually done at least 24 hours before the actual fight, favors the bigger fighter who can pack on more pounds through rehydration before a bout.
And it is obvious Crawford will exit the junior welterweight ranks soon to take on the likes of Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, both undefeated, at welterweight.
As for Pacquiao, I am not saying Crawford will stop or knock him out, or even shut out the Filipino in the scorecards; I actually see a competitive fight.
Pacquiao, however, should be aware that beating Crawford will require much more effort than beating Rios, Algieri, Bradley or Vargas, and that knocking out or even decking the American might be close to impossible.
Crawford is undefeated, but he does not have one-punch knockout power, and relies more on combinations.
That would be a plus factor for Pacquiao who needs to get inside the reach of Crawford to effectively land his haymakers.
Then there’s Pacquiao being a southpaw, that can present some problems for an orthodox fighter like Crawford.
The biggest factor going for Crawford would be his being the younger fighter at 29, or 10 years younger than Pacquiao who turns 39 on Saturday. So in case Crawford actively throws punches in every round, that could spell trouble for Pacquiao.
If Pacquiao gets to fight Crawford, my only request to the honorable fighting senator is this – win or lose, make it your last fight. From what I have observed, Pacquiao has been performing beyond expectations at the Senate.