The fight boxing fans have been looking forward to between an undefeated American champion and a Filipino ring legend will not take place.
The camp of Manny Pacquiao has been holding talks with the camp of Terence Crawford in the last few months but negotiations fell apart last week over money matters.
Top Rank CEP Bob Arum confirmed that the bout was not pushing through despite the Crawford and Pacquiao camps already coming to an agreement on the terms. Arum, who formerly handled Pacquiao, said a group in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which promised to finance the fight, was unable to generate the promised cash.
Arum said his Top Rank already had a signed contract with the group, reportedly backed by the UAE government. But “nobody put up the money after promising they would,” he said. The fight was set for June 5 in Abu Dhabi.
Pacquiao’s camp – Paradigm Sports Management – indicated that they were working on a bout with Mikey Garcia, to be held either in June or July.
It was Pacquiao’s business manager, Arnold Vegafria, who posted a poster on Instagram of the Pacquiao-Garcia fight but he did not reply to questions from media.
Oddly enough, the proposed Pacquiao-Garcia fight will also be likely held at the UAE but in Dubai instead of Abu Dhabi.
Most boxing experts had predicted that a Pacquiao-Crawford match would have been a mega-draw over pay-per-view, even if the live gate would be limited due to the global coronavirus crisis.
A Pacquiao-Garcia match, on the other hand, while still a big attraction, is not expected to earn as much as Pacquiao-Crawford.
Past opponents of Pacquiao had said they expect the Filipino to beat Garcia handily but would have his hands full against Crawford.
The 33-year-old Crawford has held world titles in three weight classes and is currently the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion.
Mikey Garcia, on the other hand, is also 33 and has been champion in four weight classes. But in his two wins as welterweight, he does not look too impressive. And like Pacquiao, Garcia has also been inactive for more than a year.
Considered as semi-retired, Garcia lost to Errol Spence in 2019 then won against journeyman Jessie Vargas in January, last year.
Crawford is considered the better draw because he is a natural welterweight, while Garcia has only recently moved up to the same weight class.
Pacquiao is considered a living legend as he is the only professional prizefighter to win titles in eight weight classes, a record which may never be matched.
A few years ago, Pacquiao’s career was considered over but he bounced back after a loss to win against top contenders. His last fight was in June 2019, when he defeated Keith Thurman for the WBO super welterweight crown.
Due to his inactivity, however, he was stripped of his title in January, this year, and is considered a “champion in recess.” Pacquiao’s record is 62 wins, seven losses, and two draws. Of his victories, 39 were by knockout.
If the proposed fight with Garcia does not pan out, a rematch with Thurman is a possibility. Another fighter whom the Filipino could face is Spence.
Despite the resurgence of his career, time is running out on the Filipino, who is 42. He is also a senator who is widely believed to be in the running in next year’s presidential elections. He recently assumed the presidency of the PDP-Laban, the political party that propelled Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency in 2016. The fighter-turned-senator is the only Filipino athlete who is a billionaire in Philippine peso terms.