Veteran sports commentator and analyst Teddy Atlas considers the potential fight between Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford as the swan song for the Filipino boxing legend.
Speaking on THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas show, the 64-year-old Atlas said he would rather see WBO welterweight champion Crawford facing unified WBC and IBF titleholder Errol Spence Jr. than Pacquiao.
“I think it might be the last fight for Pacquiao. I think it’s a bad fight for Pacquiao. I hate to see him go out that way. I love both guys. But I think Crawford is — pound for pound right now — the best fighter in the world,” said Atlas, citing the resemblance of Crawford’s character to boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard.
“I know Canelo [Alvarez] is up there. I know Spence is up there. For me, I have Crawford, I mean we can only go by where we feel what our taste is. For me, it’s Crawford. He could fight inside and outside his powers. He went up all three weight classes. I believe he carried his power and he’s got great trainers.”
Though rooting for Crawford, Atlas did not discount the fact that Pacquiao, 42, has done “spectacular” and “legendary” achievements in his whole career until today, giving credit to his duty as a boxing hero and a senator of the Philippines.
Atlas has nothing but praises for Pacquiao and believes that the eight-division world boxing champion is not pushing the Crawford fight just for the money but to prove doubters wrong and defy age once again.
In his recent fight, Pacquiao rightfully did so by overwhelming Keith Thurman in a split decision victory last July 2019, which was his last appearance in the boxing ring, to improve at 62-7-2 record on top of 39 knockouts.
Fast forward this year, the WBA had stripped Pacquiao of his super welterweight belt and was declared “champion in recess” due to his inactivity from the sport.
“He’s done extraordinary things in his career. Beating the guys, he’s winning the fight still at this age. To beat Thurman just to win the title again? He’s extraordinary and he is an extraordinary person,” said the former American boxing trainer.
Mike Coppinger of The Athletic first reported last week that the two camps have yet to reach an agreement but sources bared Top Rank has already informed network partner ESPN and pay-per-view distributor In Demand to hold the potential match on June 5 in Abu Dhabi.
The 33-year-old Crawford, for his part, had knocked out former champion Kell Brook last November en route to his fourth title defense to climb at 37-0 record with 28 KOs.