THERE are no ongoing talks for a unification world welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Terrence Crawford, while John Riel Casimiro is biding his time in Las Vegas training for his rescheduled world unification bantamweight title clash with Japan’s Naoya Inoue, according to MP Promotions chief Sean Gibbons.
Gibbons gave the current updates on both Pinoy fighters to veteran Yahoo Sports boxing writer Kevin Iole, who posted the interview on his weekly column on the popular American website yesterday (Wednesday in the US).
Iole said Gibbons bared that Pacquiao is “just working out in his backyard and not looking at any fights.”
Gibbons added Pacquiao is still in the process of aiding his compatriots hit hard by the global virus crisis.
Pacquiao is on a roll, having won his last three fights, inclusive an impressive split decision win over erstwhile unbeaten American Keith Thurman last July 20, 2019 to unify the World Boxing Association welterweight crown at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Banking on that hard-earned win, he is hoping for another big-money fight with the top fighters in the welterweight division, among them reigning WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford, handled by the Filipino’s former promoter Bob Arum.
The Top Rank boss was earlier quoted in news reports (not in Malaya-Business Insight) that he had previously talked to Pacquiao about the boxer’s interest in a possible clash with Crawford later in the year.
Gibbons, however, told Iole that he was unaware of any negotiations between the two camps.
Top Rank president Todd duBeof, Arum’s son-in-law, also informed Iole that “nothing is happening” about the Pacquiao-Thurman title bout.
“This is a weird time, obviously, and how do you propose anything with those big fights when you are looking at zero gate revenue,” Iole quoted DuBeof as saying.
“Those bigger fights, unless someone from the Middle East or somewhere in Asia came up with a huge offer out of the blue, I think are going to be difficult to make at this point,” the promoter said. “We’re just concerned with getting boxing back in the US and there is nothing I know of at this point [going on with Pacquiao and Crawford].”
Gibbons, who also handles WBO bantamweight champ Casimero, said the boxer is in Las Vegas training for a possible big money fight with Inoue, nicknamed “The Monster.”
The reigning Japanese IBF-WBA kingpin, now back in Japan, was scheduled to clash with Casimero last April 25 but the fight was postponed due to the widespread COVID-19 infection in the US.
Gibbons said he had discussed with Arum and Akihiko Honda, Inoue’s joint promoters, the rescheduling the fight.
Once Inoue can get out of Japan, which recently emerged from its own lockdown, the fight will done, the promoter added.
“I had a couple of conversations last week with Mr. Bob and Mr. Honda and I hate to oversimplify it, but I think it’s a matter of our US Embassy reopening in Japan,” Gibbons said. “When our embassy opens, there’s no issue with him [Inoue] getting an appointment and going in and getting his visa stamped.”
Gibbons said he is confident that Casimero, 31, who has a record of 29 wins, spiked by 20 knockout, against four losses, would beat the undefeated Inoue, 27, one of pro boxing’s rising stars with a record of 19 wins, 16 of them by KO.
“John Riel is here [in Las Vegas] working and getting himself ready,” Gibbons said. “He’s definitely going Monster hunting. That’s the fight we want and it’s the fight we’ll take.”