After a 25-month layoff, former eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao will next face unbeaten WBC, IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr in a compelling battle this August with plenty up for grabs beyond the latter’s two belts.
Pacquiao bout clamour continues into his 40s
Boxers aplenty have been linked with a bout against the 42-year-old in recent months, including WBO champion Terence Crawford, Mikey Garcia and Ryan Garcia.
Although scepticism remains about the true credibility of beating a legend that’s clearly past his prime, it’s still a legacy-defining fight and one that can boost resume credentials for a lot of divisional contenders who lack true starpower on their records.
Crawford, appeared closest to making it happen with an Abu Dhabi date in June on the cards and terms agreed. Failing to receive money as expected in time by a deadline proved that stumbling block, per Bob Arum.
Even still, this news is surprising as Spence was supposedly gunning for WBA “Super” welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas. He had his title upgraded earlier this year after Pacquiao – champion in recess – was stripped for inactivity.
July marks two years since he took Keith Thurman’s undefeated record and WBA strap with a split decision win on the scorecards, widely regarded as an impressive feat against a champion in his prime years.
Thurman still hasn’t returned, but Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) presents a considerably more difficult test for him as Manny looks to reinforce his standing, already recognised being one of the sport’s best of all-time.
August 21 is the date to note in diaries, reserved at a yet-to-be-named Las Vegas venue after being revealed by the pair on social media yesterday.
“Done deal, I’ll see y’all in Vegas for the biggest fight of the year.” – Spence on Instagram
The fight will top a Fox Sports PPV event, with additional details to be confirmed at a later date by Premier Boxing Champions.
Pacquiao-Thurman reportedly sold 500,000 units; considering the high stakes and intrigue, this should do even better.
Spence is one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound and, depending on which way you lean, the world’s best or second best welterweight today.
He shook off any doubts over his condition with a comfortable decision win over Danny Garcia last December, having been out of action for 14 months after recovering from injuries sustained in a horrific single car crash in October 2019.
The near-fatal incident occurred just a fortnight after Spence unified the WBC and IBF titles following a Sept. 2019 split decision win vs. Shawn Porter, a Fight of the Year contender.
He’ll be a favourite to win this matchup, both because of the activity discrepancy and fact he’s in his prime years.
Pacquiao is 6-1 since his one-sided defeat by Floyd Mayweather six years ago, but recent opponents are either inactive, retired or a few notches below in terms of quality.
More analysis to come shortly.