Is Crawford Pacquiao’s Next Opponent?

Casual boxing fans could be forgiven for thinking this is a two-fighter sport. After all, despite great performances from the likes of Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs), the 135-pound kingpin who dispatched Raymond Beltran with deceptive ease Saturday night in Omaha, Nebraska, every story in the mainstream press revolves around the sport’s dueling suns, Showtime’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his HBO counterpart, Manny Pacquiao.

This is another one.

Because even as Crawford announced his contention for 2014 Fighter of the Year with a dazzling display of boxing, perplexing Beltran with a combination of counterpunching genius and a blistering, heavy jab from the southpaw stance, attention turned as it always seems to, towards one of the sport’s shining lights.

Sure, the crowd was chanting “Crawford, Crawford” throughout the night. Sure, billionaire Warren Buffett was in attendance to support the hometown favorite. And, sure, Crawford cleared out the lightweight division and announced his departure to 140 pounds.

But these accomplishments could barely even be processed before the inevitable question was asked—wouldn’t he make a great opponent for Pacquiao there?

It’s a testament to just how much fuel Pacquiao and Mayweather supply to boxing’s economic engine. Every fighter in the world from 135 to 154 pounds dreams about a match with either man, a life-changing experience for both the wallet and perception as an elite fighter.