MANILA, Philippines -- Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum was working on a possible welterweight showdown between unbeaten American Terence Crawford and Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on all sporting events.
Arum revealed in a Boxing Scene interview that there were "tentative talks" regarding a Pacquiao-Crawford bout.
"I had feelers out before all of this happened with the coronavirus," he said.
Had everything worked out, Arum claimed that the bout would have taken place later in 2020.
"Then, of course, everything blew up" because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, said the promoter.
"But I am optimistic that I will be able to continue with these talks in the next month or so," Arum added.
Arum promotes Crawford, one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world with a spotless 36-0 win-loss record, with 27 wins by knockout.
The 32-year-old Crawford was dominant at lightweight and light welterweight before moving to the 147-pound division in 2018, where he continued his remarkable run. The American has made no secret of his desire to fight Pacquiao, as he hopes for a high-profile, star-making bout.
Crawford currently holds the WBO welterweight championship.
Pacquiao, for his part, owns the "super" version of the WBA welterweight belt. The 41-year-old parted ways with Arum in 2017 after a long partnership that included several lucrative bouts.
Arum is confident that both fighters want the bout to take place, even if they are in different promotional camps at the moment.
"It appears to me that Crawford and Pacquiao wanna go ahead with that fight," he said.
"To make it happen, we'd have to do it outside of the United States, and outside of the Philippines, of course," Arum also said. "And we'd have to make it work with a site fee."
There are still several factors up in the air, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. As optimistic as he is, Arum admits that they are in a "wait-and-see" situation.
"The world is different from what it was (at) the end of January, mid-February," he noted. "We'll have to see what it looks like when we get through this."
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).