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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Why not Crawford for Manny?

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
26 Jul 2019



Although newly-crowned super WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao isn’t expected to return to the ring until next year, the buzz on whom he’ll fight next continues to reverberate along cauliflower row.

FOX Sports recently conducted a survey among fans to track their preference. The winner of the Sept. 28 unification showdown between IBF titlist Errol Spence and WBC beltholder Shawn Porter is the majority’s choice to face Pacquiao, taking in 52 percent of the votes. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. pulled in 27 percent and Keith Thurman 6 percent with others accounting for the balance of 15 percent.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons recently said Danny or Mikey Garcia will also be considered. But Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune, a former heavyweight fighter from Australia, brought up someone from the “other” camp----WBO welterweight ruler Terence (Bud) Crawford who’s linked to Top Rank. It’s no secret that Top Rank and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) aren’t on friendly terms. Pacquiao broke off from Top Rank and joined Haymon’s stable after losing to Jeff Horn in 2017. Spence, Porter, Mayweather and Thurman are also with the Haymon group.

“Why not Crawford?” wondered Fortune. “I know he’s with Top Rank and Manny’s with PBC. But when Manny was with Top Rank, he fought Mayweather who was with PBC and the fight made tons of money. I think Manny fighting Crawford will be a big money fight if Top Rank and PBC can get together. Crawford’s not a big guy. He’s a natural 140-pounder. He’s not as big as Thurman or Spence or Porter. It’ll be a competitive fight.”

Crawford learned how to box when he was seven, the year Pacquiao turned pro in 1995. He has a 35-0 record, with 26 KOs. Crawford has stopped his last six opponents----John Molina, Jr., Felix Diaz, Julius Indongo, Horn, Jose Benavidez and Amir Khan. Crawford, 31, held the WBO lightweight and WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO superlightweight titles before capturing the WBO 147-pound diadem. He’s one of only seven fighters in history to hold a world title simultaneously recognized by the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO. Also in the list are Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor.

A switch-hitter, Crawford has beaten fighters from 14 countries in his pro career but never faced a Filipino. Three of his victims were former Pacquiao sparmates Viktor Postol, Raymundo Beltran and David Rodela. He has figured in only two pay-per-view events, generating $14.1 Million on a total of 200,000 hits. In comparison, Pacquiao has made 25 pay-per-view appearances with close to 20 million subscriptions and revenues of more than $1.2 Billion.

Fortune said he was surprised by Thurman’s performance against Pacquiao in Las Vegas last weekend. “He fought 10 times better than I’ve ever seen him fight,” said Fortune. “It was clearly Thurman’s best showing in his last four fights. The guy came to fight. Manny was prepared and in condition. He had a great training camp. If he wasn’t in shape, it would’ve been a problem.”

Pacquiao started strong in the fight and floored Thurman in the first round. He dominated the first five rounds then slowed down in the middle rounds as Thurman roared back. In the 10th round, Pacquiao broke Thurman’s momentum with a left hook to the body. Thurman nearly fell, doubled up, put his mouthpiece in his glove and ran for dear life. He survived the blow but was never the same again as Pacquiao went on to win by a split decision.

“The body shot was a terrific body shot,” said Thurman quoted by Milan Ordonez in SBNation. “I took my mouthpiece out of my mouth just so I could breathe a little deeper. We stayed on our feet, we kept fighting. It was very unexpected once again. That’s why my name is One Time. It’s always those one punches in a round that really can change the pace. One Time isn’t just something I do. One Time is something that could happen to me. I got a few more times than One Time, maybe about two good shots in this fight. I tried to retaliate but Manny held his composure. I know that I got his respect in the ring but he held his composure well, he held his hands up well and he’s just a more relaxed fighter with all the experience he’s had.”

Referee Kenny Bayless should’ve given Thurman a warning for spitting out his mouthpiece. It wasn’t clear if Thurman put the gumshield back in his mouth or dropped it on the canvas. What was clear was Thurman was hurt and with blood clogging his nose, he released the mouthpiece so he could take in more air from the mouth.


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