Mayweather warns Crawford about Pacquiao: 'He's better than I thought'

MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao may not be in his prime, but he’s not someone to take lightly either. 

That’s the warning retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr issued to Terence Crawford, who is among the fighters being considered for the Filipino legend’s April 9 fight, which Pacquiao says will be his last before focusing on his political career. 

Mayweather, who defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision this past May in the highest grossing fight in boxing history, said that Pacquiao is a much tougher opponent than he anticipated, and warned the unbeaten 28-year-old not to take him lightly. 

“If Terence Crawford happens to fight Manny Pacquiao, I want to let him know that it's not going to be easy. Even though I know I made it look easy, it's not going to be easy," Mayweather told FightHype.com.

Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts) has won world titles in a record 8 divisions but is just 3-3 in his last 6 fights. The 36-year-old congressman from the Sarangani province in the Philippines  has filed his petition to run for the Senate, which will be decided in the general elections on May 9.

The WBO junior welterweight titleholder Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs) is reportedly one of the options being considered by Pacquiao, along with familiar foe Timothy Bradley Jr and former gym mate Amir Khan.  

Bradley re-entered talks for a third fight with Pacquiao after his one-sided technical knockout of Brandon Rios earlier this month. Bradley, who is now trained by charismatic motivator Teddy Atlas, holds a disputed decision win and a decision loss against Pacquiao.

Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum tells ESPN that Khan, a Pakistani boxer from England, is not considered a favorite to land the fight after a Middle East site for the bout was taken out of consideration.

Mayweather says that Pacquiao is a different challenge than Crawford has faced in the past, and is physically bigger than Yuriorkis Gamboa, the Cuban lightweight Crawford defeated last year in his biggest fight to date. 

"[Pacquiao] can fight. He's a lot better than what I thought he was. From me being in the ring with Manny Pacquiao, I take my hat off to him and I can see why he went so far in his career. Terence Crawford gotta realize that Pacquiao is bigger and stronger than Yuriorkis Gamboa, and he hits harder," said Mayweather.

Crawford, in an interview with ESPN, didn’t seem intimidated by Pacquiao’s size.

"Pacquiao is not a big guy," Crawford said. "He comes in at 142, 144 and doesn't rehydrate a lot. Whoever they put me in there with I'll fight. I don't pick 'em, I just fight 'em. But I would be 100 percent ready for Pacquiao.

"We're just waiting to hear from Manny. He is on vacation now and probably not worried about picking a fighter right now.”

ESPN reports that Pacquiao stands to make a $20 million guarantee for his April 9 bout, plus a percentage of profits. – Rappler.com