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Terence Crawford is still an option for Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 5

Fighters Network
Photo courtesy of Top Rank

Photo courtesy of Top Rank

Bud is still in play for Pacquiao.

According to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford remains an option to face Manny Pacquiao in his return bout on Nov. 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Despite a published report that Pacquiao has already settled on facing welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas, Arum was adamant in a brief interview with the process is still open. He is traveling to Manila on Sunday to sort through whether Pacquiao should face the last two candidates standing: Vargas or Crawford.

“Otherwise why am I traveling all the way there to meet with Manny?” Arum said in a phone interview on Thursday. “I’m going over there to talk to Manny about opponents. The venue is not in play.”

Arum said the fight will definitely take place in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center even though it’s also been reported that, according to Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz to the Los Angeles Times, Arum’s trip is to decide whether Pacquiao’s comeback will be in Vegas or Dubai. It’s also been assumed that Pacquiao’s return will take place on HBO PPV, but Arum tossed another curveball when he said it may not be the case. “I have a big announcement as to how it’s going to be shown,” Arum said. The veteran promoter said he will reveal his plans “after I talk to Manny and I have a deal in place.”

Crawford is coming off a nearly spotless performance against former titleholder Viktor Postol on July 23. Vargas was last seen in the ring in his title-winning effort against Sadam Ali on March 5. The Las Vegas resident has been a bridesmaid before when it comes to big match-ups. Vargas was close to securing a lucrative fight against welterweight champion Kell Brook only to lose the opportunity to Gennady Golovkin.

Vargas was cautious on social media despite Koncz declaring to the LA Times that Pacquiao would face Vargas in November and not Crawford because of the Nebraskan’s tricky style. “Once this fight gets confirmed, I promise to all my fans, I will give an outstanding action-packed performance,” Vargas wrote on Instagram.