WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn hasn’t made it clear yet whether he’ll take the fight with his mandatory challenger Terence Crawford in early 2018. While Horn’s co-promoter Bob Arum wants him to take the fight with Crawford, he could potentially swerve the fight by vacating the WBO title and taking a bigger money fight against fellow Australian Anthony Mundine.
Horn has already mentioned the possibility. There’s good money to be made in Horn fighting the 42-year-old former WBA super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine in Australia. The fight would mean little to the average boxing fan from elsewhere around the globe, but for Australians, it would be an interesting fight.
If you look at it from Horn’s perspective, if the chances are high for him to lose to Crawford, then it makes sense for him to get the best payday possible and avoid the loss by vacating the WBO title. Horn should take the fight with Mundine if he can make more money with that contest.
If Horn vacates the WBO title, Pacquiao is the next guy in the World Boxing Organization’s rankings that Crawford could fight for the vacated WBO welterweight title. That doesn’t mean that Pacquiao will take the fight. He could choose not to take the fight. If Pacquiao says no to the Crawford fight, the next available contender is #3 WBO Bradley Skeete.
Arum would obviously prefer that Pacquiao take the fight with Crawford, because it’s a bigger money fight. Pacquiao-Crawford would be PPV worthy on ESPN. It would also give Crawford the chance to beat a popular fighter and possibly become a PPV star afterwards. That’s how Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather became PPV stars. They both beat Oscar De La Hoya, and were transformed into PPV fighters. Crawford hasn’t had that yet. You can argue that Arum is hoping that Pacquiao can be that fighter for Crawford to be catapulted into the PPV arena.
It would be the worst thing for Arum if Horn vacates his WBO title to swerve Crawford, and then Pacquiao rejects the idea of fighting for WBO title. Arum would then be looking a fight between Crawford and Bradley Skeete. That would not be a big fight for ESPN, and it wouldn’t do much to increase the popularity for Crawford. Skeete has loads of talent, but he’s not known to the U.S fans. Skeete, 6’1”, is in the perfect position to fight for a world title. All he needs is for Horn to vacate his WBO title and then Pacquiao turn down the Crawford fight.
Pacquiao will be coming back in April. Arum is said to have wanted to have Pacquiao fight on the undercard of Crawford’s next fight, but he reportedly is not interested in that idea. Pacquiao wants to headline his own card. If Pacquiao would agree to fight on Crawford’s undercard, it would make it easier for Arum to sell a fight between him and Crawford for later.