As meticulous as WBC and WBO super lightweight champion Terence Crawford is about his preparation, you can be sure he wasn’t underestimating or looking past Felix Diaz, his opponent in his debut in the main arena Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. But it’s promoter Bob Arum’s job to look down the road, which is why WBA and IBF super lightweight champion Julius Indongo was seated at ringside.
No one was anticipating a replay of the dramatic ringside announcement of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez middleweight fight that took place immediately after Canelo defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. two weeks earlier in Las Vegas. But it figured a win by Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) over Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs) might trigger negotiations for a unification bout against the little-known Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs).
“The guy is coming to the fight,” Arum said of Indongo. “We’ll all talk to him when he comes to the fight. If the kid wants to fight Terence, then, it’s the time to talk to him. If the kid says he wants the fight, we’ll make it happen.
“People haven’t heard of [Indongo] because he hasn’t fought in the United States, but our matchmakers say he’s a damn good fighter and apparently looking forward down the line to fight Terence.”
Indongo’s first 20 bouts were in his native Namibia before he traveled to Moscow to win the IBF belt from Eduard Troyanovsky and then to Glasgow to add the WBA belt with a win over Ricky Burns in his past two bouts. A win over Diaz would leave little work for Crawford in the 140-pound weight class other than to fight Indongo.
“It’s one of my goals to be able to say I’m the undisputed champion of the world,” Crawford said.
But Arum also acknowledged interest in a fight between Crawford and aging WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), whom he also promotes. Pacquiao defends his title against Jeff Horn July 2 in Australia. Arum also named WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs), who just moved up to win that title in January, as a potential opponent.
“Mikey Garcia keeps shooting his mouth off about going up to 140 to fight Terence,” Arum said. “That’s a possibility. If we put him in with Manny, he’s a 147-pound champion, but Manny goes in the ring at 144 pounds. Manny is not a big welterweight.”
In terms of name recognition, Pacquiao is by far the biggest attraction whether a fight with Crawford is at 140 or 147. But Arum said that’s two fights down the road.
“Would Pacquiao and Crawford be a good fight, a big attraction?” Arum asked. “You bet your [butt] it will. All things being equal, we will do our best to make that fight because I think the public wants to see it and the public will support it. I agree it’s a fight the fans want to see, and a promoter has the obligation to make it happen.”
Crawford was reluctant to look past Diaz, but he added, “Of course, Pacquiao is someone I would like to fight.”