Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 5 December 2020

Terence Crawford in line to face Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East next year

American WBO welterweight champion defeated Britain's Kell Brook with a fourth round TKO in Las Vegas

Terence Crawford says he wants Manny Pacquiao next after he dispatched Kell Brook on Sunday to retain his WBO welterweight crown – with promoter Bob Arum saying that bout will take place in the Middle East next spring.

The unbeaten American, considered the No 1 men’s pound-for-pound fighter in the world, lifted his record to 37-0 with a TKO in the fourth round against Brook, the former IBF titleholder.

Crawford, 33, now appears to be homing in on either a unification bout with Errol Spence Jr, who currently holds the IBF crown, or Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division champion. The unbeaten Spence (26-0) takes on Danny Garcia next month.

Arum said Crawford-Pacquiao was originally set for the Gulf on this same weekend – Qatar was reported to be the host – before the pandemic put paid to the clash.

However, Crawford hasn’t given up hope of resurrecting that fight against one of the greatest boxers of this century. Pacquiao, 42 next month, hasn’t fought since July last year, when he inflicted Keith Thurman’s first professional loss to claim the WBA super welterweight title.

“I’m looking at securing a Pacquiao fight,” Crawford said immediately after the Brook victory. “We were close to securing a Pacquiao fight prior to this. But then the Covid [-19] was getting out of hand, the fans couldn’t attend the fight, so we had to put a halt to it.

“And that’s when we decided to go with Kell Brook. He was the next available known welterweight. So now we’re going to go back to the drawing board and try and revisit that fight with Manny Pacquiao.”

Arum, who used to promote Pacquiao, said: “The money was there. It had been committed. It was a fight that was going to take place in a country in the [Middle] East. And then the minister of health in that country said, 'You can’t do it because I can’t guarantee that we’ll allow spectators'.

“And it would’ve been this week. So he was right. Now they’ve called us and they said if Terence is successful we want to resume the talks and see if we can do it in the spring, either before or after Ramadan.”

Ramadan next year takes place in April and May. Pacquiao, meanwhile, is considering too a crossover fight with former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor. Both athletes are signed to Paradigm Sports Management.

In September, Paradigm told The National that the UAE was one of several Gulf countries in the running the stage the bout.

Updated: November 15, 2020 10:40 AM

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