If there is one positive thing in the ongoing Wuhan Corona Virus global crisis, it is that it prompts people to be practical and realistic.
And boxing lately has shown some of this with no less than Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum making a 180 degrees turn on his valuation of Manny Pacquiao and the possibility of pitting his prize ward Terence Crawford against him when boxing finally returns.
Just weeks ago, Arum was insisting that Pacquiao was an old man best to be left alone as he rides to the sunset of retirement.
Arum also said Pacquiao and his people had no interest and are actually scared to a fight with Crawford who he even praised as being more skilled than Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in their respective prime best.
Now he is saying that Pacquiao is a prime candidate as an opponent for Crawford when boxing returns to business simply because “Pacquiao and his people has reached out to him for a possible Crawford fight”.
Reminds me of a noted person who once said, “Yesterday I was lying but today I am telling the truth.”
Pacquiao however has yet to officially confirm if indeed his camp has sent feelers or offer to Arum on a possible fight.
We have to again take Arum for his word given that Manny has time and again expressed his desire to get back in the ring ASAP and that Crawford is among the list of his possible target opponents.
But lets get back to the sobering effect of the covid-19 crisis to boxing on Arum and other important people in boxing who are now willing to give due recognition and respect to the sport’s lone remaining superstar and cash cow, Pacquiao.
Arum was also quoted as saying that Pacquiao’s asking price of $20-25 million was too stiff for a fight with Crawford to be viable.
Now he was not even mentioning fight purses even as both Pacquiao and Crawford had said they cannot imagine fighting in an empty arena with Crawford even saying he had to be paid more to do it
Arum knows what he is going into.
He knows that the covid crisis has practically ground pro boxing to a halt and the best and most profitable way to bring the sport back is a fight between an established and an emerging legend: Pacquiao vs Crawford.
Where? Arum has decided, rightly that it has to be outside of the USA but beamed live to the USA and other parts of the boxing world. In a place that would be willing to help bankroll the grand event and where he would not be paying any taxes.
A place where it can be held with all the covid crisis restrictions as physical distancing can be implemented without hurting the gate receipts too much. And that means live spectators including those coming in from the outside would be willing to pay higher entry prices, possibly double the usual.
The petrodollar rich Dubai, despite the covid induced temporary global oil industry plunge, remains a prime event site prospect.
Arum has seen the great potentials of a Pacquiao versus Crawford unification fight as one that will trigger the return of big time live arena boxing under a new normal regime.
This is why he has shelved the grand US championship debut of his new prize catch Naoya Inoue and not talking about Tyson Fury’s rubber match versus Deontay Wilder. He was not even mentioning Vasily Lomachenko whom he regards as the best pound for pound fighter in the world and the best he has handled.
Arum has been getting real and you can bet your bottom dollar he will pull all stops to get his plans realized.
Unless he had another change of mind.