Like it or not, Terence Crawford needed to spend time revisiting his chances of getting Manny Pacquiao in the ring again.
Before Pacquiao, 38, claimed his 60th career victory Saturday night by knocking out Lucas Matthysse to claim the World Boxing Assn. secondary welterweight belt, the eight-division champion mentioned Crawford as a future opponent.
Nebraska’s Crawford (33-0, 24 knockouts) on Wednesday night won the ESPY Award for “Fighter of the Year,” beating out Georges St-Pierre and Rose Namajunas of the UFC and lightweight boxing champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
He’s also battling Lomachenko, former 140-pound champion Amir Khan and possibly Floyd Mayweather Jr. to be the next opponent for Pacquiao.
“I believe I’m a pretty good fighter and have accomplished more than Lomachenko,” Crawford told The Times on Wednesday. “And how many years have we been talking about Crawford-Pacquiao? Since 2015?”
Pacquiao’s former trainer, Freddie Roach, has frowned on a matchup with the younger, faster and more powerful Crawford, but uncertainty over Lomachenko’s interest in moving up from 135 pounds to 140 against a true welterweight is currently a point of contention.
Crawford would be a greater draw than Khan, and it’s questionable if Mayweather, recently named Forbes’ richest entertainer, will want to fight again at age 41.
If it comes down to Lomachenko or him for Pacquiao, Crawford acknowledged that “both are good fights.” But, he added, “one guy’s a welterweight — where [Pacquiao’s] at — the other guy’s a lightweight. You can fight somebody your size or somebody smaller than you. You’ve got to pick and choose your options.”
Crawford has long expressed frustration at being dangled as a possible Pacquiao opponent, only to see someone else get the fight.
Crawford promoter Bob Arum had said he was going to arrange a Crawford fight in Omaha on Oct. 13, but Crawford told The Times on Wednesday he instead prefers a bout in Las Vegas, where he stopped welterweight Jeff Horn to win the World Boxing Organization belt June 9, or in New York.
“I believe Las Vegas and New York are the bigger markets for boxing,” Crawford said. “When you get your name out there in Las Vegas and New York, that boosts your brand even more. My name itself is huge in Omaha. That’s not a target I need to focus on because we know we can sell out.
“Now we need to focus on selling out Las Vegas and New York. They have their deals with the venues, but I’ve expressed my thoughts on that whole aspect of fighting there … we have to wait and see.”
Arum was open to the suggestion.
“His wishes will be our command … if he wants to fight in Las Vegas or New York, we will adhere to that,” Arum said. “It’s their career. We try to accommodate them.”
Arum said he will travel to the Philippines in early August to visit Pacquiao and discuss the fighter’s ideas on his next opponent.
“You don’t know with Manny until you sit and talk with him and eyeball him,” Arum said. “Face to face, I get to see what he wants to do. We try to do what the fighter wants to do.”
Ranked No. 1 in The Times’ pound-for-pound ranking of boxers, Crawford expressed pleasure in moving up from being a unified 140-pound champion to stopping an outmatched Horn.
“He was a difficult opponent. A lot of people were wondering how I’d perform against a big, tall, rugged fighter like Jeff Horn. I think I handled it with an A-plus,” Crawford said.
Now he waits for Pacquiao.
“I don’t feel like I need to do anything. If the fight’s going to happen, it’s going to happen because Pacquiao’s team wants it to happen,” Crawford said. “Arum’s been trying to make the fight for quite a while and it hasn’t worked. We can’t make those guys fight. The only thing I can do is continue to focus on my career.”