Top Rank Promotion boss Bob Arum clarified that he was not stealing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstar Conor McGregor from either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he brought up the idea of a possible crossover bout between welterweight champion Terence Crawford and McGregor.
McGregor, who fought Mayweather in 2017, announced recently that there are ongoing talks for him to fight Pacquiao. McGregor lost to Mayweather via 10th-round TKO in an exhibition boxing match that earned the distinction of being the second-highest-grossing pay-per-view in history.
Right after McGregor’s 40 second TKO win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, Mayweather was included in the list of the Irishman’s next possible opponents.
Arum explained Crawford vs McGregor would be very unique because it would be two sporting events roughly two months apart — first, a mixed martial arts fight, and second, a boxing match.
“Those fights, those guys — Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather — only want to fight McGregor in a boxing ring [but] Crawford is willing to fight [them] in the octagon and in the boxing ring,” Arum told The Manila Times through an overseas call on Thursday.
Arum added that he wanted to give fight fans a chance to see how a unified world boxing champion would fare against an MMA world champion.
Crawford, unbeaten in 36 bouts with 27 knockouts, holds the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title. He previously owned the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and WBO super lightweight titles.
“To me, it is not fair particularly you know you make the MMA guy fight in boxing and the boxer has the big advantage and so I want to even it up,” added Arum, noting that he wasn’t bothered with Crawford fighting in MMA since the boxer has a wrestling background.
“And Crawford has a background in wrestling and boxing, so I think it would be very competitive with McGregor at MMA and then they can do the boxing match.”
Arum believes the idea would be appealing to the 31-year-old MMA superstar from Dublin, Ireland. The veteran promoter wants the fight to happen by the end of June this year.
“That is appealing to McGregor because McGregor is not a great boxer but a great MMA guy. I think I know you are as well very interested in it. First fight could be at MMA and Crawford is ready for that,” said Arum.
Arum added that McGregor’s resounding victory over Cerrone is a good indicator of his popularity.
“McGregor fought last Saturday night with million buys, million pay-per-view that’s pretty good. I mean, Manny [Pacquiao] is doing a fraction of that, so McGregor is becoming very, very popular,” said Arum, adding Crawford-McGregor is no doubt a potential hit.
“Absolutely, because Crawford is considered the first or second pound-for-pound in the world of boxing [while] Conor McGregor is an elite MMA [fighter]. Now, we will see if a boxer can fight an MMA guy on the MMA turf,” Arum said.