Pacquiao vs Crawford: Will the money be there?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Should Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford win their respective next fights, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has hinted the pair might meet in November.

Per rumors, Pacquiao and Crawford want $20 Million and $7 Million guarantees, respectively, should that fight take place.

A guaranteed purse, as it relates to the agreement made between a fighter and her/his promoter, can serve as the boxer's entire salary for a given fight or the minimum salary he stands to earn if his overall salary is dependent in a combination of factors such as PPV sales and sponsorships.

… And for Pacquiao vs Crawford, guarantees of $20 Million and $7 Million might be a stretch. (Of course, those requests are speculative)

The ultimate question is: How close can Top Rank get to soothing the fighters' presumed expectations?

For starters, let's compare the presumed interest level of Pacquiao vs Crawford with the fighters' perceived stock and purses from previous bouts.

Pacquiao vs Crawford would be high-profile but would it generate the level of interest of Pacquiao vs Marquez 3 or 4? Would it have the buzz of Pacquiao vs Mosley?

Keep in mind, Crawford is not as well-known as Juan Manuel Marquez when Manny fought the latter in 2011 and 2012 nor is he as popular as the aging version of Shane Mosley who fought faced Manny. Moreover, Manny's stock has dropped since the loss to Floyd Mayweather and short-lived retirement last year.

Purported purses for a few of Manny Pacquiao's fights from 2011-present
Manny's guarantees don't include a share PPV sales and sponsorship money he may have received

  • 2011 - Pacquiao ($22 Million guaranteed) vs Shane Mosley ($5 Million)
  • 2011 - Pacquiao ($22 Million guaranteed) vs Juan Manuel Marquez III ($5 Million)
  • 2012 - Pacquiao ($26 Million guaranteed) vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV ($6 Million)
  • 2012 - Pacquiao ($26 Million guaranteed) vs Tim Bradley ($5 Million)
  • 2013 - Pacquiao ($18 Million guaranteed) vs Brandon Rios ($3 Million)
  • 2014 - Pacquiao ($25 Million guaranteed) vs Chris Algieri ($1 Million)
  • 2016 - Pacquiao ($4 Million guaranteed) vs Jessie Vargas ($2.8 Million)

Manny's $20 Million guarantee to fight Crawford certainly looks attainable until his most recent bout is taken into consideration. Prior to Manny's fight with Jessie Vargas last year, Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum told Bev Llorente of ABS-CBN North America News Bureau that Pacquiao's guarantee would be a lot less for the fight due to the way his deal was structured:

"No, he is not earning $20 million. He is earning a lot less because…he is fighting largely on percentage. So hopefully the Filipinos, the Mexicans fight fans support the fight so he can make $20 million or more."

Why was his deal restructured?

Manny's stock dropped and PPV revenue for his fights last year plummeted as a result.

"Yes, it [Pacquiao vs Bradley 3] loses money," Arum told ESPN. "It was not one of our big successes. It happens. We're big boys. Do I feel good about it? No."

Unless Top Rank is prepared to take another hit in November, a $20 Million guarantee might not be attainable for Manny. And the same can be said for Crawford's presumed request. Aside from legends Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, has any other Pacquiao opponent received as much as $7 Million to fight Manny?

Explaining the presumed purse demands
If the purse demands are accurate, it's easy to understand why they are so high.

Team Pacquiao
Team Pacquiao knows Crawford is a threat so they want to be compensated well for taking the risk. Moreover, they surely understand Top Rank is trying to 'pass the torch' by making the fight. When a surging young lion defeats a great old king, the former usually becomes an immediate star, or an athlete of great interest at the very least.

Should Pacquiao vs Crawford be Manny's last fight, Team Pacquiao would want supplementary revenue. After all, Manny could play it safe and continue to fight the Jeff Horns and etc at $10 Million a pop for the next several years. 

The philosophy: Why take $15 Million to fight a risky opponent who could end your career when you can fight 2 or 3 safer foes for $8-10 Million apiece?

Team Crawford
Terence's team also realizes Manny Pacquiao, who will be a month shy of 39 should they meet in November, is a threat to derail his career and the momentum he's generated since 2013. Moreover, the WBO jr welterweight champion was a lightweight not long ago. The move up to welterweight is not without risks.

But Terence, despite a modest career high (prior to the May 2017 Diaz fight) of $1.5 Million, would bring some quality elements to the table himself. He's unbeaten, regarded by many as a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, and is fan-friendly - and dominant - in the ring.  Tim Bradley, who Pacquiao fought three times, was also a top 10 fighter with an impressive resume but didn't have the ring swagger or momentum Crawford boasts.

After Freddie Roach reportedly told RING TV that Terence wanted $7 Million to fight Manny, Crawford and Arum denied the request had ever been made. If Crawford would fight Manny for (let's say) $4 Million, his request would likely be granted.

Perhaps the difficulty would be on Manny's end?

Recent Pacquiao negotiations
Remember all of the back-and-forth negotiations between Team Pacquiao and Team Horn earlier this year? The fight was on, off and then on again. In fact, Manny, himself, tweeted he was fighting Amir Khan instead but that fight would fall apart because the money wasn't there.

Amir Khan is a relatively big name who can generate international interest - especially among the British and Middle Eastern Muslims. Name recognition in boxing, like politics, means a lot and Amir Khan is easily one of the biggest names in boxing.

If there weren't adequate funds for Manny vs Khan in April, May or June in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, one must seriously question if the money will be there for Manny vs Crawford.


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