World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Terence Crawford has reacted to the recent statements from World Boxing Association "regular" welterweight champion (WBA) Manny Pacquiao, who rejected any talk that he avoided a potential fight with Crawford.
The two boxers were promotional stablemates under the Top Rank banner for several years.
Pacquiao's contract with Top Rank expired last year, and the boxer is now promoting himself through his own company, MP Promotions.
During a recent media event in the Philippines, Pacquiao told reporters that there were no issues on his end with having to face Crawford when the two were being promoted by Top Rank.
“He is just afraid and the promoters are preventing him from fighting me for a long time,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying by The Manila Times, during the media launch of the ISPS Handa and Emmanuel & Jinkee Heart Foundation Inc. at the Makati Shangrila Hotel in Makati City.
Pacquiao was responding to Crawford’s comments, that appeared on BoxingScene.com, that belittled his title reign.
“He (Pacquiao) is not a champion in my eyes. He doesn’t have the super belt. That’s the champion in my eyes. I look at the number one champion in the division,” Crawford said. “I don’t look at the WBC Silver and the interim belts and all that. I look at the super and the actual champion of the division.”
But Crawford added, after reading Pacquiao's statements, that the Filipino star had taken a pass on him and instead fought Jeff Horn - who ended up winning a controversial decision - and Crawford stopped Horn earlier this year to win the WBO crown.
"You said I was scared of you? Stop it you and I both know that you didn't want to fight me that's why you fought Jeff Horn. I had to go behind you and clean up what you couldn't do because you thought it was sweet and take the easy route you forgot," Crawford stated on social media.
Pacquiao is looking ahead to a showdown with former four division champion Adrien Broner in January.
And last week Crawford retained his WBO welterweight title with a knockout of Jose Benavidez in the twelfth round.