Pacquiao, Crawford reportedly in talks for Abu Dhabi clash in June

Published March 31, 2021, 1:49 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Manny Pacquiao Terence Crawford
Manny Pacquiao and Terrence Crawford (File photos from Wendell Alinea and AP)

Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford are reportedly in talks for their Abu Dhabi clash in June.

Per Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, there has been no agreement between both camps yet but sources said Top Rank has already informed network partner ESPN and pay-per-view distributor In Demand to hold the potential match on June 5 should the deal pushes through.

“The Middle East has been aggressive in pursuing marquee boxing matches with the promise of massive site fees, and that’s what would bring Pacquiao-Crawford to Abu Dhabi: bundles of money,” wrote Coppinger.

The boxing insider added that “without Abu Dhabi, the deal falls apart,” citing that the capital of the United Arab Emirates is pretty much involved in the Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua super fight as well.

“If Pacquiao-Crawford is going to happen ― and it’s still a big if at this stage ― a sizable guarantee from Abu Dhabi will be necessary.”

READ: Bob Arum: Pacquiao-Crawford fight possible outside the US

For Coppinger, it would be a “huge” statement for Crawford, 33, for being the boxer “who has been dogged by criticism over his lack of quality opposition” while Pacquiao, 42, would “represent the toughest opponent of Crawford’s career by a large margin.”

Recent reports indicated that the Filipino boxer-turned-senator is indeed leaning toward either Crawford or another American welterweight in Mikey Garcia.

READ: Mikey Garcia: If not Manny, I’ll find someone else

Last February, Crawford himself stated that he personally prefers to lock horns with Pacquiao over Shawn Porter, who was also one of the projected boxers matched up with the undefeated WBO welterweight king.

ICYMI: Crawford wants to fight Pacquiao next, then Spence — report

Crawford last saw action in November last year, taking down former champion Kell Brook with a fourth-round knockout win en route to his fourth title defense and a 37-0 record with 28 KOs.

Pacquiao, who owns a 62-7-2, 39 KOs record, for his part, has not fought since scoring a split decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019 and recently got stripped of his super WBA welterweight belt and was declared “champion in recess” due to inactivity.

ICYMI: Pacquiao-Crawford showdown in May?