LAS VEGAS -- Last month, junior lightweight titlist Terence Crawford went into his first defense against Dierry Jean knowing he was on the short list to land an April 9 fight in Las Vegas against Manny Pacquiao, who supposedly will call it a career after that bout.
Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), 28, a former lightweight titleholder and the 2014 fighter of the year, went out and did what he was supposed to do, which was dominate Jean, whom he dropped three times and stopped in the ninth round before an excited hometown crowd in Omaha, Nebraska.
Then the waiting began while Pacquiao figures out who he wants to fight. As Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has said repeatedly, there are three leading candidates: Crawford and Timothy Bradley Jr. (for a third fight), both of whom Arum also promotes, and England's Amir Khan, whom Arum does not.
Crawford is relaxed about the entire process.
"We're just waiting to hear from Manny. He is on vacation now and probably not worried about picking a fighter right now," Crawford said during a ringside interview Friday night at the Cosmopolitan.
Crawford, of course, hopes Pacquiao picks him for a fight he feels he deserves.
"I feel great about it. I feel like I was overdue for a big fight before I even won my championship," Crawford said. "I should have already had a chance against a big name being that in my career I only had two fights in 2010 and three fights in 2011, so I really wasn't getting the fights I needed then because I didn't have a promotional company behind me."
That was when Crawford was with now-defunct promoter TKO. But in late 2011, co-manager Cameron Dunkin brought Crawford to Top Rank and he has risen near the top of the sport.
Crawford said he hopes if Pacquiao picks him he will fight him at 140 pounds for his world title, although he was willing to fight at welterweight.
"Pacquiao is not a big guy," Crawford said. "He comes in at 142, 144 and doesn't rehydrate a lot. Whoever they put me in there with I'll fight. I don't pick 'em, I just fight 'em. But I would be 100 percent ready for Pacquiao. I'm ready right now. If that fight happens so be it. And if it doesn't, we go and continue on with my career. That doesn't stop my career because I don't get the Pacquiao fight."
Crawford is well-aware that if he does get the fight it will be viewed by many as a passing of the torch fight because the legendary Pacquiao is near the end and he is in his prime.
"With an up-and-coming fighter like myself fighting an old fighter, it's gonna always happen," he said. "You're gonna get old and a young fighter comes in and takes your place. It's time."
Any opponent that faces Pacquiao typically makes career-high money, so that is certainly part of Crawford's desire for the fight. But he said it is not the only one.
"At first I didn't really care about the business," he said. "But now that I am up to the point of getting closer to touching pay-per-view it becomes a business also. It's both. There's a lot of money but that will come. I don't fight just for the money. I fight for the money because that's what we are fighting for, but to fight Manny Pacquiao, that's a bigger opportunity than just the money you get paid.
"I'm real smart with my money. I already have investments, already got money set aside. I'm not worried about spending my money on a $300,000 car or things like that."
Arum said he expects a decision from Pacquiao any time.
"I purposely kept myself out of it because at this point it doesn't matter who Manny picks," Arum said. "Would I prefer it not to be Khan? Yes, but this is Manny's last fight. I have a duty to him to present him all of the options. Do I hope he doesn't pick Khan though? Of course [because I don't promote him], but I don't think he will pick Khan. Khan was an option when we considered having this fight in April in the Middle East, so he was a guy on the table. Now the Middle East is not on the table, but he's still one of the guys on the table."
Arum said whomever Pacquiao picks, Pacquiao's deal is the same: A guaranteed $20 million against a percentage of the profits from the event.