By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is planning on having him fight on the undercard of the Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford card on April 14th or April 21st. The potential venue for the fight card is New York or Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao fighting on the same card as Horn-Crawford is a clear sign that Arum is getting the 39-year-old Filipino star to face the winner of the Horn vs. Crawford fight in his next fight in 2018. What it also means is Pacquiao probably WON’T be fighting super featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) next like he’s hoping will happen. Earlier on Wednesday, Pacquiao said this to ABS-CBN News:
“There are negotiations now about the number one pound for pound which is [Vasyl] Lomachenko. There are still talks on the weight, reducing the weight. You know, I miss boxing. I am okay.”
It would be interesting to know if this is one of Pacquiao’s assistants looking to negotiate a fight with Lomachenko rather than Arum. We saw what happened when Pacquiao tried to put together a fight against Amir Khan last year. Arum opted to match Pacquiao against one of his own fighters Jeff Horn instead of putting him in with Khan, who ISN’T with Top Rank. Pacquiao ended up fighting the guy that Arum wanted him to fight all along in Jeff Horn.
The fact that Arum isn’t talking up a fight between Pacquiao and Lomachenko is another signal the fight isn’t going to happen. The only names that Arum has been mentioning for Pacquiao fighting after his April tune-up is the winner of the Horn vs. Crawford fight. I don’t think Arum is going to change his mind about wanting Pacquiao to fight the winner of that fight. Crawford is the favorite to defeat Horn, and it looks like Arum wants Pacquiao to fight him, so it will increase the former undisputed light welterweight champion’s popularity.
By Arum picking Pacquiao to fight the winner of the Horn-Crawford fight, it suggests that the 86-year-old promoter believes that Crawford is closer to becoming a big star than Lomachenko. If Arum believed that Lomachenko was closer to stardom, he’d have Pacquiao likely fighting him. Knowing Arum, he’ll likely have Pacquiao be the stepping stone/sacrificial lamb for Crawford to beat to get to stardom, and then after that, Lomachenko as well. So, with the 39-year-old Pacquiao being about done in terms of his career, Arum might choose to match him against Crawford and then Lomachenko in back to back fights. I see Pacquiao fighting both of them IF he doesn’t retire after his loss to Crawford.
It’s too bad Pacquiao doesn’t get to fight Lomachenko in April, because I think he would have a very good chance of beating him. It doesn’t look like Arum wants to do that. Pacquiao will get beaten up by Crawford if he agrees to take the fight. Pacquiao will be softened up for Lomachenko, and likely beatable enough for Arum to take the chance of putting them in together.
I don’t think Arum wants Lomachenko to get beaten by Pacquiao, because the 2-time Olympic gold medalist still has a lot of time in his career. It doesn’t help Arum and his Top Rank stable if Pacquiao destroys Lomachenko and then retires from boxing. Arum would be left with an exposed Lomachenko, and no one to replace Pacquiao as Top Rank’s next PPV fighter. Arum is obviously hoping Crawford will be a PPV fighter, but I don’t see that happening. Crawford doesn’t have the right style or personality to be a PPV attraction. Crawford runs too much, and he’s a counter puncher, who tries hard not to get hit.
In comparison to some of the past PPV fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, Crawford is not even close to being as exciting as those guys. That’s why I don’t think he’ll ever become a PPV guy. You can’t force a fighter onto the public to try and make them pay to see your guy. It doesn’t work that way. Arum already tried it before with Crawford in his fight with Viktor Postol, and only a tiny of boxing fans ordered the fight. That should have given Arum a big hint about Crawford and his future potential.
It’s not about Crawford needing more names on his resume to become a PPV star. It’s more about Crawford having the wrong fighting style, talent and personality to become a PPV guy. Arum will find out the hard way that Crawford lacks the fundamental requirements for him to be a fighter that the U.S boxing public will pay to see fight. I think it’s the same way with Lomachenko. It’s not interesting for me to watch him fight compared to guys like Gennady Golovkin, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Sergey Kovalev, Dmitry Bivol, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Lomachenko throws too many weak shots, and he moves too much. He doesn’t sit down on his punches.
Lomachenko needs to move up in weight for him to become a bigger name, but I don’t think he’s going to do it unless Arum is ready to feed Pacquiao to him after he’s softened and tenderized by Crawford first.