Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao vs Crawford in the works for June 5

Roy Luarca

READY. Manny Pacquiao has been training for a potential fight this year.

Photo from MP Promotions

Manny Pacquiao's name inevitably crops up as Top Rank big boss Bob Arum reveals a 'big deal' for Terence Crawford’s next fight

Left out at the gates, Terence Crawford has surged back and is now the pacesetter in the race to fight Manny Pacquiao.

This developed as The Athletic reported Top Rank big boss Bob Arum told ESPN and pay-per-view distributor In Demand to reserve June 5 for Crawford’s next fight to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

And since Arum hinted of a “big deal” to Barbershop Conversations, Pacquiao’s name inevitably cropped up.

Pacquiao, the eight-division world champion, earlier said he’ll fight Crawford if Arum could cough up $40 million as his guaranteed purse. (READ: WBA strips Pacquiao of super welterweight title due to ‘inactivity’)

Arum floated he can secure such amount with potential backers in the Middle East, though the venerable promoter did not cite details.

For a while, four-division world champion Mikey Garcia led the Pacquiao fight chase, but apparently no contract has been signed as both camps have turned silent.

At 42, Pacquiao, a three-time Fighter of the Year and Fighter of the Decade awardee, remains to be the most-sought opponent by elite welterweights, even light welterweights.

That’s because a fight with Pacquiao guarantees big money and name recall regardless of the outcome.

In his last fight in July 2019, Pacquiao proved his staying power by handing Keith Thurman his first loss and clinching the World Boxing Association super welterweight belt.

Crawford, 33, is the reigning World Boxing Organization 147-pound king and is highly ranked pound-for-pound. Toting a 37-0 card, the Nebraskan has stopped his last 8 opponents for a total of 28 knockouts.

Pacquiao is 62-7-2 with 39 knockouts in a sparkling career that started 26 years ago when he hardly weighed 100 pounds. –