Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford is “a 50-50 fight”, says coach – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

Manny Pacquiao with strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune. Photo credit: Wendell Alinea/Manny Pacquiao Promotions

Eight weeks is all it would take for Manny Pacquiao 62-8-2 (39) to be ready to face consensus pound-for-pound number one boxer in the world Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 40-0 (31).

That is the view if the 45-year-old Filipino legend’s longtime strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.

Pacquiao, who has not boxed professionally since losing his WBA junior middleweight title to Yordenis Ugas on points in August 2021, had been angling for a spot on the Philippines Olympic team, something he missed out on as a youth.

“From the beginning, I went to Manila to be part of the Philippine team, but I wasn’t picked, I was rejected… because they said I was not good,” Pacquiao said in an interview last year.

“My heart and desire is to claim a gold medal in the Olympics.”

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) backed his bid for selection, despite the cut-off age being 40, and lodged a special request with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow the former eight-division world champion to box.

The IOC announced this week they would not be allowing Pacquiao an exemption to box.

The IOC decision was not expected until March, with Pacquiao advisor Sean Gibbons recently telling World Boxing News that the Olympics remained the senator’s primary focus, while hinting that they would consider all other reasonable offers.

“If the right opportunity comes up for Manny, we will look at it. But we are also waiting on the Olympic decision,” Gibbons said.

“We expect the decision to be made on Manny fighting at the Olympics in March. We will see if we can get that before deciding on other fights.”

All of this leads us to Crawford, the 36-year-old former two-weight undisputed champion and current WBC, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine welterweight champion from Omaha, Nebraska.

Crawford has not boxed since becoming the undisputed 147-pound champion of the world with his ninth-round knockout of Errol Spence Jr last July.

Last week coach Fortune said he would fancy Pacquiao’s chances against Crawford and that it wouldn’t take him long to prepare for the fight.

“He was a gym rat. I could pull him back into shape for Crawford in eight weeks. Of course, we’ll need to know when to push him or pull back because of his age,” Fortune said.

“Manny has a 50 percent chance of winning because he’s still a freak athlete and it wouldn’t take much to pull him into shape.

“The power he has is a gift from God, he hasn’t lost his power. Manny has never ducked anyone.

“He’s always fought the best, and not saying [Floyd] Mayweather’s not the best, but he’s old.

“I’d prefer Manny to come back and prove himself against a current world champion like Crawford.

“That’s a massive payday and guess what, it’s a 50-50 fight.”