Manny Pacquiao’s personal adviser Michael Koncz is reporting that they’ve made their decision about who they’ll be fighting next on November 5 and they’ve selected World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 12 KOs). The fight will be televised on HBO pay-per-view. Koncz says the reason why he didn’t go with unbeaten Terence Crawford, a fighter that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is really high on, is because he didn’t like his boxing style of fighting. Koncz thinks that Crawford’s style of fighting isn’t a good one for Pacquiao.
Koncz didn’t go into detail in what he doesn’t like about Crawford’s style, but it could be all the running he does in his fights. He’s a counter puncher who doesn’t like to get hit, so he moves a lot.
Koncz and Arum will be traveling to the Philippines to meet with Pacquiao next week to discuss the venue for the fight against Vargas.
“I don’t like Crawford’s style. I don’t believe it’s a style that suits Manny,” said Koncz to the LA Times.
Vargas has things going for him that Crawford didn’t have for him to get the fight against Pacquiao. Vargas is the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion, he likes to slug, he doesn’t run from his opponents, and he’s someone that will stay in the pocket. The additional things that Vargas has going for him is he’s capable of getting a lot of Mexican fans interested in his fight against Pacquiao, which could result in more pay-per-view sales on HBO. Mostly, I think it came down to Vargas not being a runner like Crawford, and him being at a weight that Pacquiao could easily make. Crawford hurt his cause by saying that his opponents have to fight him at 140.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum hasn’t made a public comment yet about his thoughts on Pacquiao selecting Vargas for his November 5th fight. It shouldn’t bother Arum, because he promotes Vargas as well as Crawford. However, one gets the sense that Arum would have been happy if Pacquiao had selected Crawford as his opponent because he has the potential to become a pay-per-view attraction someday. Crawford is slightly like Mayweather in his fighting style when you remove the glamor, the hand speed, and incredibly reflexes and defensive skills.
Crawford has Mayweather like elements to his game, and there’s a possibility that Mayweather fans could move over to him as their next star. But they likely won’t do that unless Crawford starts fighting better opposition. A match against Pacquiao would have been perfect for Crawford to become a star potentially. With Pacquiao rejecting the fight against Crawford, it leaves Arum back at square one without a big enough name to turn him into a star. Arum might need to take a big risk by throwing Crawford into the ring with a middleweight to make him a star, because most of the top 147 and 154 pound fighters are with other promoters.
Koncz said, “There is a very good offer in place,” for the fight to be staged in Dubai. “Manny tells me it’s real. He was there in [Dubai] on a basketball function last year and met with some people.”
Staging the Pacquio-Vargas fight in Dubai might backfire in resulting in fewer PPV sales. However, if Pacquiao gets a lot of money from the organizers of a fight in Dubai, then it may still be worth it for him.