Terence Crawford is eyeing a life-changing payday against Manny Pacquiao, despite the difficulties in organising the bout amid a global pandemic.
The WBO welterweight champion, considered by many to be among the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, is plotting his return to the ring for the first time since the coronavirus crisis struck.
Crawford, 32, has long been linked with a money-spinning clash against Pacquiao, who currently holds the WBA belt. Nine years Crawford's senior, the Filipino hasn't fought since defeating Keith Thurman last July, while Crawford's most recent competitive appearance came in December with the TKO win against Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
The victory lifted Crawford’s record to 36 wins from 36 professional bouts. Pacquiao, meanwhile, has 62 victories and seven defeats from his 71 fights.
Speaking late on Monday on DAZN's AK & Barak Show, Crawford discussed the possibility of facing Pacquiao and said initial talks had taken place, although he conceded the present landscape added another layer to negotiations. Elite-level boxing returns next week to Las Vegas, with events held behind closed doors,
“We’ve been in contact with [promoter] Bob [Arum] and Manny’s men: they want the fight, we want the fight," Crawford said. “Basically, we’re trying to figure out the money situation.
"With this pandemic going on right now it’s kind of hard putting on a big fight with no audience and not knowing how you’re going to get your return back. So we've got to figure out all the details with that first.”
A sitting senator in the Philippines, Pacquiao had originally set next month for his boxing comeback and cited a match-up against either Crawford, Mikey Garcia, or IBF and WBC belt-holder Errol Spence Jr.
However, the pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions imposed because of it have postponed his plans.
“He can’t even fight right now, so it’s not just me,” said Crawford, who has also held world titles at lightweight. “If that fight presents itself there’s going to be more money than I made in my career to date. I think that fight could get made, get worked out.
“But at the same time he’s dealing with the same issue I’m dealing with. Every top fighter is; it’s not like I’m the only one dealing with this. You look at all these other fighters, who they’re going to fight and how they’re going to get paid, that’s the big dilemma right now.
“The fighters in England and overseas, they can’t come over [to the United States] to fight, they’re stuck over there, so what about them? So it’s all messed up right now.”
Asked if he would be willing to wait for the return of fans to secure a more lucrative fight, Crawford said: “For sure. I’m done risking my health for nothing. I did that for years; I took pay cuts for years just to get to where I am now.
"A lot of people don’t know what I’ve been through with pay cuts and taking this for this and taking this for that. I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to where I am now, more than probably any fighter in the game right now.
“And that’s because I knew where I was heading. I knew that I needed those fights to secure my legacy, becoming undisputed, becoming unified, becoming Ring Magazine champion of two different weight classes.
"You can’t get to that just thinking 'I need the money'. Sometimes you’ve got to take a little pay cut here to get a certain fighter in the ring.”