Larry Merchant eyes Terence Crawford, Mikey Garcia as potential foes for Pacquiao moving forward

Terence Crawford following his victory over Yuriorkis Gamboa earlier this year (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)

Bud Crawford

By Chris Robinson

Following his dominant victory over Chris Algieri this past weekend in Macau, China, eight-division world titlist Manny Pacquiao has seen his name thrust back into the headlines in a positive light.

Pacquiao looked very sharp vs. his younger, taller foe, registering six knockdowns over the course of their 12-round bout, ultimately grabbing a wide unanimous decision over Algieri.

The attention now turns to what the future holds for Pacquiao, and perhaps we won’t have to look further than the action this weekend.

This coming Saturday night, in his native Omaha, Neb., WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford will look for a second successful defense of his belt when he locks horns with the very formidable Ray Beltran.

Having spoken with longtime analyst Larry Merchant about Pacquiao’s future in the wake of the Algieri whitewash, it is someone like Crawford who stands out as the most ideal candidate to face him in the future.

“I’d be interested in seeing if Crawford, who is fighting next weekend and is about to move up in weight, becomes a legitimate opponent,” said Merchant of the 27-year old champion. “Which could happen quickly, depending on how he handles next week’s assignment and maybe one or two after that.”

Merchant also holds two-division champion Mikey Garcia in high regard, even though recent legal matters have had him sidelined in recent months.

“Those two might give [Pacquiao] some serious competition,” Merchant stated.

Crawford vs. Beltran takes place on HBO this Saturday night at 10 PM/ET.

Chris Robinson can be reached at

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