Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford PPV card heads to Las Vegas; Manny Pacquiao likely in
Bob Arum unveils plans for tripleheader that could set stage for future Pacquiao-Crawford bout
The long-rumored April 14 welterweight title fight between WBO champion Jeff Horn and former unified 140-pound champion Terence Crawford has been agreed to on both sides and now has a new location.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum confirmed with multiple outlets Wednesday that the fight, which has not been officially announced, will move from the original plans for New York's Madison Square Garden to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The card is expected to serve as the first pay-per-view in Top Rank's new four-year deal with ESPN that was announced last August. The reason for the site move, according to Arum, was because of competition on the calendar in New York this spring, including Top Rank's May 12 card at MSG with plans for pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko's lightweight debut.
It's just as easy to speculate Arum's move has more to do with his plan to finalize a co-main event bout between eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) against long-faded welterweight Mike Alvarado (38-4, 26 KOs). Pacquiao, 39, has long avoided fighting in New York due to high taxes (Nevada is one of seven states with no income tax).
In hopes of beefing up the PPV card, Arum also revealed plans of adding a junior featherweight title bout between WBO champion Jessie Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs) and Isaac Dogboe (18-0, 12 KOs).
"Mandalay Bay is a great venue and we're happy to put this card on there," Arum told ESPN. "You've got a lot of boxing in New York coming up, so it made sense to move the fight to Las Vegas when Mandalay Bay became available."
Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) rose from obscurity to upsetin Horn's native Australia. Horn, 30, made his first title defense in December by stopping Gary Corcoran via 11th-round TKO.
Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs),to become the first junior welterweight to hold all four recognized titles, is moving up to 147 pounds to face Horn.
Not only does Top Rank promote both Pacquiao and Crawford, a top P4P talent who has yet to secure a marquee fight, Arum's hope appears to be an eventual showdown between the two. Should Crawford go on to win, the fight would serve as a passing-of-the-torch in the same way that Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather used PPV victories over Oscar De La Hoya to become worldwide stars.
Pacquiao, who is currently serving as a senator in his native Philippines, has seemed reluctant to face the 30-year-old Crawford in recent years although much of that could be financial since Crawford has yet to see his star rise to the level of his talent. But Top Rank's new relationship with ESPN, which could conceivably boost PPV sales by promoting fights on its flagship shows like SportsCenter, likely alters the playing field.
While its questionable whether Top Rank's tripleheader is truly PPV quality since Crawford is a heavy betting favorite to win, the card does have plenty of star power should Pacquiao get added. The fight with Alvarado, 37, also offers the aging Pacquiao a legitimate shot to snap a 13-fight streak without a knockout that dates back to 2010.
The April 14 card would also represent ESPN's second foray into boxing PPV. In 2005, the network produced a tripleheader from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, featuring Shane Mosley-David Estrada, Antonio Margarito-Kermit Cintron I and Calvin Brock-Jameel McCline.
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