Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Bob Arum 'in serious talks' to host Manny Pacquiao v Terence Crawford in Bahrain

WBO champion Crawford revealed this week that he has 'been in contact with Bob [Arum] and Manny’s men'

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has said he is in talks with Bahrain over hosting the welterweight unification world title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford.

WBO champion Crawford revealed this week that he has "been in contact with Bob [Arum] and Manny’s men: they want the fight, we want the fight", although the unbeaten American admitted hosting such a massive bout could prove difficult during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pacquiao has also previously expressed an interest in a showdown with Crawford. The Filipino superstar, who holds the welterweight division's WBA belt, has not been in action since last July’s points victory against the previously undefeated Keith Thurman.

"We hope we get Crawford and Pacquiao in action this year and through our friends at [boxing management company] MTK [Global], we are in serious talks with Bahrain for doing major fights there," Arum told boxing YouTube channel iFL TV on Tuesday. "I would love to do some big, big events in Bahrain.

"Let's see what happens. Everything is likely, everyone wants to do these big events until it comes time to put up the money! But I think with Bahrain we've got a good shot at getting it done."

Arum's comments come days after MTK Global and KHK Sports - a Bahrain-based sports media project led by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa - announced plans to host a boxing summit in the Gulf kingdom this autumn.

As well as a conference comprising boxing industry leaders to discuss the future of the sport, there are hopes the summit will host a marquee fight.

Whether that fight will see Pacquiao take on Crawford remains to be seen. Arum last week insisted any fight featuring the Filipino champion would need to "have an audience because that’s such as a significant portion of the revenue. Without an audience who will put up the money? It’s a big event”.

Terence Crawford during his April 2019 stoppage win over Amir Khan. Reuters
Terence Crawford during his April 2019 stoppage win over Amir Khan. Reuters

The Middle East has in recent times started to make great strides as a location for top class boxing, culminating in December's heavyweight world title showdown between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.

Prior to the 'Clash on the Dunes', Saudi hosted the middleweight World Boxing Super Series final - contested by Callum Smith and George Groves - in September 2018, before British former world champion Amir Khan fought Billy Dib in July last year.

Indeed, Matchroom Boxing CEO Eddie Hearn has said big-name fights could be back in Saudi Arabia soon and has identified the kingdom as a preferred choice to step in and host events if the United Kingdom is unable to do so during the pandemic.

Updated: June 3, 2020 11:16 AM

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