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Does Terence Crawford’s next big challenge lie with Manny Pacquiao?

December 10, 2016; Omaha, Nebraska USA. Terence Crawford wins by TKO in Round 7 of the Junior Welterweight bout against John Molina at Centurylink Center in Omaha, NE. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
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 Manager Cameron Dunkin is part of Team Terence Crawford, and co-manages the kid, along with trainer Brian McIntyre.

It’s a nice place to be, being Crawford, THE RING Magazine/WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion, is one of the best boxers on the planet. How close he gets to the No. 1 slot is up for debate – but not to Dunkin. “He’s the best fighter in the world,” said the Las Vegas based deal-maker, who is recharging his battery with a group of prospects on the verge of contention, who should be popping on radar screens en masse in 2018, on the latest episode of “TALKBOX.”

Dunkin explained why he believes “Bud” is best.,”He can change up; he can go forward, backwards, side-to-side. He can lead, follow, counter. Think about what he can’t; there’s nothing he can’t do…We saw it with Viktor Postol, which should have been a competitive fight, and he just destroyed him.”

OK, so Crawford fights May 20, against ex-Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz. Is this going to be a destruction? “Could be, could be, yeah,” said Dunkin, of the Dominican hitter.

But the jury is still out. Crawford hasn’t been able to snag that career-defining fight. Postol’s career height was a win over Lucas Matthysse…but was that a degraded Matthysse? Wins over Hank Lundy and John Molina Jr. were expected. Whom can Crawford fight that will get those jury holdouts on his side…getting him past Andre Ward or Vasyl Lomachenko or whomever some say is the top of the fistic heap? Dunkin hears this, knows this, and he, like Crawford, spars the mindset, which has fans building hurdles higher and higher for Bud to leap, “He’s made it look too easy. Now they want to jump him to ’54, to ’47; that crap starts. You and I know, Mike, we’ve been doing this 30 years. If you play that game, you can get anyone beat. They did with Roy Jones. You just move people up in weight, eventually you’re gonna get him.”

Noted…

But would a win over, say, WBC lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia shut ’em up, shut ’em down, get the Nebraskan what he and Dunkin believe is his just due? “Honestly, it’s a better chance of me fighting Terence,” answered Dunkin.

OK, we need to find a catchweight…

“No, I used to manage Mikey. Mikey’s not going to fight this guy…(Garcia)’s a good fighter, he’s an excellent fighter…”

Not great?

Based on what, asked Dunkin, firing a rhetorical grenade.

Anyone Mikey has beaten is a lesser level to Crawford.

“We’d do the fight but I don’t think we’d ever see it,” the manager said.

There are likely no challenges at 140 pounds. Welterweight is where he’ll have to go, said Dunkin.

OK, let’s keep playing. Bud needs a CHALLENGE. How about…drum roll, please…WBO welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao? Both are with Top Rank Promotions. That helps things, maybe.

What about Bud versus Manny?

Well, Dunkin thinks Bud will fight twice more after Diaz. He thinks some young guns might step up, hopefully. But would one opponent be Manny?

In the past, Dunkin told me, there is an appetite to make Manny vs. Bud. “I think they will make the fight…There’s never been a problem. I talked to (Pacquiao trainer) Freddie Roach about it a few times, never had a problem with the fight. He wants to fight. You know, Manny don’t run from anyone either…That’s what we want. It’s up to Manny, and (Top Rank CEO) Bob (Arum)’s got to get it done at a number that he doesn’t get his head torn off.”’

That makes sense…The dollars have to make sense. “Terence really gets it. He’s not locked into a number. He just wants to be treated fairly. Show me where the money comes from, show me what’s real, based on the other fights with Manny, and I’ll come up with a number that everybody can live with. Terence is very fair,” stated Dunkin.

If Bud beat Manny, Dunkin agreed, some would say that Manny was too faded. Crawford knows it. And yes, you can tell he’s mildly miffed at that but Dunkin just suggests he needs to keep on keepin’ on. Smart, from a guy with 30 years experience at this dog-and-pony show.

My take: You rasslin’ fans know that old guys lay down on their way out. They pass the torch. Like The Undertaker did at Wrestlemania 33 to the young gun Roman Reigns. But that’s scripted. Boxing isn’t. In an ideal world, Manny gives the possible heir to the top of the heap a shot at downing him and getting that buzz off the legend. Me, I think the sport wants and needs it. Let’s get it done. Let’s understand the market where it is today, and that a pay-per-view glut is not helping us grow eyeballs. Really, it’s not. We’ve seen an eyeball drain since 2015, arguably, and a lot of that is because our best and brightest are behind paywalls. This benefits the guys making the lion’s share of the dough and whom else? Not me, as a writer…Every year, there are fewer and fewer boxing media. There aren’t enough fans, to make an impact on the platforms, who keep dumping boxing coverage. Not enough interest, not enough hits. So…Let’s see the legend versus the young gun, “Pacman” versus Crawford, and how about off PPV, please?

When The Undertaker left his striking gloves, trenchcoat and hat in the ring after his bout at Wrestlemania 33, Michael Woods dreamt of making a Wrestlemania moment of his own. After throwing on an Everlast stocking cap, a bathrobe and two oven mitts, he decided against it. Now THAT’S keeping boxing coverage alive, fight fans!

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