CONTROVERSIAL sports commentator Stephen A. Smith thinks it wouldn’t do Filipino great Manny Pacquiao any good taking on unbeaten welterweight champion Terrence Crawford.
Smith was vocal in warning about the possibility of Crawford knocking the hell out of the 42-year-old Pacquiao if and when their reported June 5 title showdown pushes through.
“I love Pacquiao and I’m scared he’s gonna get knocked out,” said Smith in an episode of ‘First Take’ on ESPN.
“When you look at Pacquiao, he’s great, he’s aged, we get that. I’m saying this because of Crawford, not because of Pacquiao. I’m just saying Crawford is, he’s on another level,” Smith told co-host Max Kellerman.
Crawford carries a 37-0 record (28 KOs) and is the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion at 147-lbs.
Bob Arum of Top Rank, which promotes Crawford, 33, said an announcement of the American’s next fight would be made within the coming days which he describes as ‘a big deal.’
But a report by The Athletic bared discussions between the camps of the two legendary fighters on a possible blockbuster bout by June 5 to be held in Dubai.
Crawford is the latest opponent being mentioned by the Pacquiao camp, which earlier named Conor McGregor, young Ryan Garcia, and Mikey Garcia as potential opponents.
McGregor’s loss to Dustin Poirier torpedoed a potential bout with Pacquiao, while Ryan Garcia has been eased out of the picture as his camp recently came to terms for a mandatory title defense against challenger Javier Fortuna.
Pacquiao though, is inactive for almost two years now, his last fight coming against Keith Thurman in July of 2019 when the Filipino senator eked out a split decision to wrest the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight belt.
However, the only eight-time world division champion has since been stripped of the title by the WBA due to inactivity.
While Kellerman sees the possibility of Crawford dealing Pacquiao a loss, the veteran commentator who previously worked for HBO Boxing, is giving the Filipino the benefit of the doubt.
“I think by the end, he beats Pacquiao up, knocks him out. But Pacquiao got chances,” he said.
Pacquiao owns a 62-7-2 record with 39 KOs, and his last lost by knockout came during his 2012 bout against Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
Crawford last fought in November of 2020 when he destroyed Englisman Kell Brook inside four rounds to retain his WBO belt at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.