MANILA, Philippines – Veteran sports commentator Larry Merchant claims he has a perfect opponent in mind for Manny Pacquiao.
The former HBO analyst said Terence Crawford, who dismantled Yuriorkis Gamboa in 9 rounds last week, can give the 8-division boxing champion a tough challenge at 140 pounds.
“I’m sure people will think that’s a crazy statement. But Crawford is coming into his own and is one special boxer. And I think Manny has slowed down enough for where a young special guy like Terence can make it fight and possibly win,” Merchant said in Tha Boxing Voice.
Crawford became the new WBO lightweight champion following his victory over Gamboa. He can climb the junior welterweight class, a weight level that can be easily reached by Pacquiao.
“I’d like to see Crawford fight Manny Pacquiao next. I think if he’s going to move up to 140 lbs as he said and to me the ideal weight for Manny has been 140, why not? I think right now it’s a 50/50 fight,” said Merchant.
Against the 2004 Olympic medalist Gamboa, Crawford displayed a crowd-pleasing style of fighting, tagging the Cuban with well-paced right straights and left hooks to knock down Gamboa 4 times in their bout.
Merchant, however, admitted that the decision will depend on Pacquiao and his handlers.
The fighting congressman has yet to issue an announcement regarding his choice of opponent for his boxing return in November.
“Now will the powers that be that know the sport more than me and you make the fight next? I don’t know. But I know they want to go to Macau and need an opponent and I’m not sure if they get the [Juan Manuel] Marquez fight out there but it’s a thought,” said Merchant.
“If it doesn’t happen now, make it happen next year. I think it’s a fascinating fight.”