For years fans clamored to see Omaha boxer Terence “Bud” Crawford get in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. But the fight never happened, and likely never will.
Bob Arum — whose company, Top Rank, handles promotion for Crawford and formerly did for Pacquiao — shed some light this week on why the bout never materialized. During an interview with Fight Hub TV posted to YouTube, Arum admitted that he “killed the fight.”
“I know how it would end,” Arum said. “Not that I knew it would end in serious disability for Manny. That I wouldn’t know. But as a fight, it would only end one way ...
“Forget my emotions, I wouldn’t want to see him take that kind of damage because it might affect (the quality of) his future life.”
Sign up for World-Herald daily sports updates
Get the headlines from Creighton, Nebraska, UNO, high schools and other area teams.
The possibility of a Crawford-Pacquiao fight seemed strongest in 2016. Arum at the time had mentioned Crawford as a possible candidate to fight Pacquiao in his return from a temporary retirement.
Instead Pacquiao fought Australian Jeff Horn in July 2017, losing the WBO welterweight title via a controversial unanimous decision. Crawford also fought Horn about a year later — his first bout as a welterweight — and defeated him by technical knockout to take that title.
Crawford referenced that fight with Horn in a tweet he sent to Pacquiao in October.
“You said I was scared of you? Stop it, you and I both know that you didn’t want to fight me that’s why you fought Jeff Horn. I had to go behind you and clean up what you couldn’t do because you thought it was sweet and take the easy route, you forgot.”
The 40-year-old Pacquiao has fought twice since facing Horn. He most recently retained his WBA welterweight title by defeating Adrien Broner on Jan. 19.
Crawford is scheduled to defend his WBO welterweight title against Amir Khan on April 20.
1 of 20
Boxing has been a lifelong passion for Terence "Bud" Crawford, shown here in 1998 or '99 at age 11 at the C.W. Boxing Club in Omaha.
By 2005, Terence "Bud" Crawford was one of the nation's top amateur boxers in his weight class.
Terence "Bud" Crawford celebrates his victory over Carlos Molina at the 2006 Golden Gloves tournament. Crawford went on to fall in the national championship bout.
Terence "Bud" Crawford received a hero's welcome when he returned to Eppley Airfield from Scotland after winning the WBO lightweight title.
Fighting for the first time as a professional in Omaha, Terence "Bud" Crawford defended his WBO lightweight title with a technical knockout victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa at the CenturyLink Center in June 2014.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's first professional fight in Omaha drew a crowd of nearly 11,000 people to the CenturyLink Center.
Terence "Bud" Crawford again defended his title at the CenturyLink Center in November 2014 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Ray Beltran. It was Crawford's last fight as a lightweight.
Terence "Bud" Crawford received the Sugar Ray Robinson Memorial Fighter of the Year Award during a ceremony in New York City in April 2015.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's sons — Tyrese, left, then age 2, and Terence III, right, then age 4 — carry their father's title belts during the Native Omaha Days parade in August 2015.
Terence "Bud" Crawford knocked out Dierry Jean at the CenturyLink Center in October 2015 to retain his junior welterweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford has represented both Nebraska and Creighton in the ring, often wearing gear from one of the schools before and after fights. He was honored on the field at Memorial Stadium during Nebraska's game against Iowa in November 2015.
This award-winning photo of Terence "Bud" Crawford was taken in February 2016 as the champ trained in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for his upcoming fight against Hank Lundy.
Terence "Bud" Crawford once again defended his junior welterweight title in February 2016 with a technical knockout over Hank Lundy in front of a sellout crowd at the Theater of Madison Square Garden.
Terence "Bud" Crawford added another honor to his impressive résumé in July 2016 when he collected the WBC super lightweight title and the 140-pound lineal crown to go with his WBO junior welterweight championship after winning a unanimous decision over Viktor Postol at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Terence "Bud" Crawford dominated John Molina Jr. in December 2016 at the CenturyLink Center, winning every round on each judge's scorecard before earning a technical knockout victory in the eighth round.
Terence "Bud" Crawford's next title defense took place in the main arena at Madison Square Garden on May 20 against Felix Diaz. "This is where all of the great champions fought, and I want to be a big part of it," he said at a press conference announcing the fight.
Terence "Bud" Crawford, sporting Omaha shorts, lands a punch on Felix Diaz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Crawford won after the fight was stopped after the 10th round.
Terence Crawford celebrates his third-round knockout win over Julius Indongo at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, August 19, 2017. The victory made Crawford boxing's only undisputed champion.
Terence "Bud" Crawford scored a knockout win in the 12th round against Jose Benavidez. The event in Omaha drew 13,323 fans and was Crawford's first defense of his WBO welterweight title.
Terence "Bud" Crawford defeated Amir Khan on April 21, 2019, in Madison Square Garden. More than 14,000 fans saw the champ retain his WBO welterweight title.