LAS VEGAS -- Make no mistake, there is a tremendous amount at stake when junior welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol meet on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
They are battling for division supremacy, each other’s title belt, the lineal world championship at 140 pounds and to keep their undefeated records intact.
As if all that is not enough, there is also a possible Nov. 5 date with superstar Manny Pacquiao on the line.
That is when Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said Pacquiao will come out of his brief retirement to fight on pay-per-view at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. There are three candidates in play, he said: welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs), Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) or Postol (28-0, 12 KOs). The Crawford-Postol loser will be eliminated from contention, Arum said.
Arum said the ultimate decision will be Pacquiao’s, but he has his views.
“If Postol beats Crawford he has a big future, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily with Manny,” Arum said. “Postol is so much bigger. It would be like Mutt and Jeff, and I don’t think it’s necessarily that good of a fight, but I’ll know a lot more after the fight on Saturday.
“I’m not disregarding Postol, but I don’t think Postol versus Manny is surefire entertainment as Crawford against Manny. I think Crawford against Manny could be a sensational fight. I also believe Pacquiao-Crawford would do appreciably better business than Pacquiao-Vargas.”
Vargas, a former junior welterweight titlist, won a vacant welterweight title on March 5 with an excellent performance in a ninth-round knockout of Sadam Ali. Vargas, who is from Las Vegas, has been a regular presence in the Crawford-Postol media center this week and said repeatedly he would love to get the fight with Pacquiao.
Crawford and Postol have also been asked about the prospect of that fight looming with a win Saturday.
“I am not thinking about Manny Pacquiao at all,” Crawford said. “I am focusing on Viktor Postol, and that’s it. That is all.”
It would be complicated for Postol because he and Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) are both trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach. In fact, Postol served as one of Pacquiao’s sparring partners when he was preparing to fight Chris Algieri in 2014.
“As far as the trainer, we have a team and we would sit down with Freddie and decide how we can make this fight happen,” Postol said.
Roach has been with Pacquiao for 15 years and said he would not leave him in favor of Postol, but he would love to see Postol beat Crawford and get Pacquiao next.
“Jessie is coming off a good win in his last fight. He had a good KO. So he’s not an easy fight either,” Roach said. “Manny is getting older, but he still is dedicated and trains really hard, and I like the way he looked in his last fight. I think he can beat any one of those guys.
“I’d pick Postol, but I’d have to give him up. We’d make sure he’s in good hands, but the thing is, I would have to train Manny to beat him, and I think he can. I believe if Crawford fought Manny and pulled an upset, we might have a new pay-per-view star, and that’s what we need in boxing.”
If Roach had his way Pacquiao would face Floyd Mayweather in a rematch of their record-breaking 2015 showdown, which Mayweather won by unanimous decision.
“We’d like to get Mayweather back one more time because if Manny didn’t hurt his shoulder, I felt that he could have won that fight. But he didn’t,” Roach said. “I was a little bit disappointed. But I would like to have that fight back, but right now he’s not available because he’s supposed to be retired also.”
Roach said he was surprised when Adrien Broner, the original target for Pacquiao’s Nov. 5 fight, turned down $4 million for the bout.
“Where’s he gonna make $4 million anywhere else in the world? That was a bad choice,” Roach said. “He should have taken the fight, and he’s in jail now. (Welterweight titlist) Danny Garcia is still my No. 1 (available opponent for Pacquiao). I still like that fight for Manny. (Garcia) is a dangerous guy. You have to fight him very smart. You have to outbox him, and I know Manny can do it.”