Despite a dominating victory over Feliz Diaz, Terence Crawford won’t be facing Manny Pacquiao in the ring this year – or ever – and that is a good thing.
Crawford (31-0, 22 KO’s) is one of the greatest fighters in boxing today. But just how great? It is hard to tell because he has yet to face a top-notch caliber opponent that is a pay-per-view attraction.
Of course, Crawford’s resounding decision win against Viktor Postol to unify the junior welterweight titles last July was a thing of beauty, but hardly anyone watched it. At 55,000 pay-per-view buys, it represents one of the worst – if not the worst PPV numbers for a boxing match in 30 years.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO’s) is undoubtedly closer to retirement than ever before. Last year, the Filipino fought former champions Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas, which generated 400,000 and 300,000 pay-per-view buys, respectively. Clearly, Pacquiao’s numbers are not doing too hot, either.
He is also a Senator in his native Phillippines, and the duties associated with that job obstructed his training for Vargas to some extent, but it did not seem to make a huge difference on fight night. But this is Terence Crawford, and Jessie Vargas is no Terence Crawford. Those kinds of distractions will not work against the unbeaten super lightweight champion.
Crawford has long arms and a mix of speed, power, and crisp counter-punching capabilities. This kind of skill has posed problems for Pacquiao for most of his career.
Notably, Floyd Mayweather embarrassed Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, although lacking the long arms, gave the Pacman trouble in every fight, ultimately flattening him with a flush overhand right in their fourth and presumably final fight in 2012.
Crawford has proven he can take good boxers, like Felix Diaz and Viktor Postol, and make them look amateurish.
And that is not meant to be an insult. Diaz is an Olympic gold medalist, and boxing fans put Postol on a pedestal after he dismantled Lucas Matthysse in 2015.
But Crawford is just on another level. He is just that good.
The book on Pacquiao has been written; his legacy solidified, but he only has one thing left on his plate. That is getting knocked out by Terence Crawford, and no one wants to see a legend go out like that.