By CARLO ANOLIN
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith has expressed his fear that Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao might get knocked out by WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
During an episode of ESPN’s “First Take” starring Smith and co-host Max Kellerman, the two media personalities were arguing over the reported fight between Pacquiao and Crawford.
Smith was firm that Crawford would emerge as the winner should he take on the eight-division world boxing champion while Kellerman believed that Pacquiao has greater chances if the match goes to distance.
“The point is, when you look at Pacquiao… Pacquiao’s great, I know this. He’s aged, we get that. I’m saying this because of Crawford not because of… I’m just saying Crawford, he’s on another level man,” Smith said.
“I love Pacquiao and I’m scared he [is] gonna get knocked out,” the controversial commentator added as he interrupted Kellerman’s point.
Mike Coppinger of The Athletic first reported that the two camps have yet to reach an agreement but sources said Top Rank has already informed network partner ESPN pay-per-view distributor In Demand to hold the potential match on June 5 in Abu Dhabi.
Earlier reports, meanwhile, stated that the Filipino boxer-turned senator is leaning towards either Crawford or American welterweight Mikey Garcia.
The 42-year-old Pacquiao, who owns a 62-7-2 record on top of 39 knockouts, has not fought since scoring a split decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019 and recently got stripped of his super WBA welterweight belt and was declared “champion in recess” due to inactivity.
Crawford, 33, for his part, had knocked out former champion Kell Brook last November for his fourth title defense to improve at 37-0 record with 28 KOs.
By CARLO ANOLIN