Manny Pacquiao s return possible for April, on same ESPN card as Jeff Horn-Terence CrawfordGet the Full StoryA major Top Rank Boxing show on ESPN could feature Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford in separate fights. One of the major boxing matchups coming up is a WBO welterweight championship bout between Jeff Horn 18-0-1, 12 KOs and former undisputed junior welterweight king Terence Crawford 32-0, 23 KOs , who is moving up to 147 lbs for the first time. As part of their exclusive deal with Top Rank, ESPN will televise the contest, which is tentatively set for April 21st.
According to Top Rank s Bob Arum, they re looking at also staging Manny Pacquiao s return to the ring for the same event. The Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote that there is a potential snag for their April 21st date, as they re aiming to place Horn vs. Crawford at the T-Mobile Arena, but the NHL s Las Vegas Golden Knights may take priority due to the fact that they re likely to be in the playoffs. Arum said that they could move their event to Madison Square Garden and reschedule for April 14th if that problem arises.
Pacquiao 59-7-2, 38 KOs recently held the WBO welterweight strap, until he lost a controversial decision to Jeff Horn in Australia last July. The fight was the first Top Rank show on ESPN under their new arrangement, and peaked at 3.1 million viewers on the network. An immediate rematch was targeted for the fall, but the boxing legend s duties as a senator in The Philippines nixed those plans. Horn would instead defend his belt against Gary Corcoran, whose corner threw in the towel in the 11th round.
A potential opponent has not been named for Pacquiao, with Arum only saying that they re working on it. It s also not known if Horn vs. Crawford would take headlining status over Pacquiao s return, should they wind up on the same event.
One thing that is for certain is that Horn vs. Crawford is a done deal, whereas Pacquiao s return is not. It will be an opportunity for Nebraska s Crawford to immediately seize a major welterweight title, as he looks to build himself as a major boxing star. His last fight saw him unify all four junior welterweight belts by stopping Julius Indongo via body shot KO in front of a raucous crowd in his home state. He ll almost certainly be a major favorite against Horn come fight night, and perhaps Top Rank s strategy is to put Pacquiao on the same card to draw in some extra eyeballs for the 30-year-old Crawford.