• Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight is reportedly in the works
  • Arum feels Pacquiao has better chances now against Crawford
  • Fight would be staged with no spectators

Manny Pacquiao's next opponent has yet to be determined but it appears there is a not-so-new name being tossed in the hat. Terence Crawford has been mentioned in the past to fight the Filipino boxing icon but plans never prospered. In the eyes of critics, Crawford would be too much for the Pac-Man to handle. Among those who feel so is Bob Arum.

Fast-forward to today, the 88-year-old promoter seems to be singing a different tune. It appears he is now confident that Pacquiao can handle Crawford, seeing how he has defeated the likes of Keith Thurman, Lucas Matthysse, and Adrien Broner. Arum revealed that he has been tentative talks and these were made even before the COVID-19 pandemic went out of control, reported.

“These are tentative talks,” Arum said. “To make it happen, we’d have to do it outside of the United States, and outside of the Philippines, of course. And we’d have to make it work with a big site fee.”

There was a time when Arum and Freddie Roach were not too coy with the idea of Pacquiao facing Crawford. They felt the 32-year-old was too much for the boxer-senator to handle. But after seeing his performance in his last fights, Arum feels that the Pac-Man now has a good chance.

“If I had to bet the fight, I’d bet Crawford,” Arum said. “But now I think Pacquiao is in there with a good chance. There’s no question that it’ll be an entertaining fight. Manny seems dedicated again. I’ve had that situation before, where guys get to be a little older, but somehow their skills aren’t diminished," he added.

Arum also mentioned that the fight would be best held at a huge site and for free. However, there would be no fans in attendance, mainly due to the COVID-19 problem. He did not mention any place in particular for now. There were reports that Pacquiao's next fight could be held in Saudi Arabia, potentially the same venue where the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz rematch was held. That was the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al-Turaif in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“If somebody was willing to put up a big site fee, and do it without fans for the publicity, that might work,” Arum said. “Or maybe not do it without fans, but do it with safe-distance seating, which I’ve been exploring.”

Crawford has been linked to a possible fight with Kell Brook while Pacquiao has several possible opponents being mentioned. That includes Danny Garcia and Mikey Garcia. A clash between the two boxers could be epic. For Pacquiao, it is a new challenge to prove he is still the best in the sport even at 41-years-old.

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao trains during a workout session at The Venetian in Macau, Nov. 20, 2014. Getty Images/ Chris Hyde