“I have always wanted to challenge myself and take the biggest fights,” Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao declared. “Errol Spence is an unbeaten champion and those are the kinds of fights I want."
Pacquiao and Spence sealed a deal for a welterweight bout on August 21 in Las Vegas, in a stunning announcement on Friday.
Pacquiao reportedly was in the “final stages” of discussions for a possible match with American boxer Mikey Garcia before the news of Spence fight was announced. According to the media, he also held talks with welterweight champ Terrence Crawford and MMA star Conor McGregor but no deals were made.
Pacquiao, 42, has not fought in nearly two years since winning the WBA super welterweight title against previously unbeaten champion Keith Thurman in July 2019.
Spence, 31, defeated Danny Garcia by unanimous decision in December 2020. He triumphed over Kell Brook, Mikey Garcia and Shawn Porter. In October 2019, Spence was involved in an horrific car crash that left him in intensive care.
Pacquiao, a former eight-division world champion, amassed a 62-7-2 win-loss-draw record (39 wins by knockout) over a 26-year boxing career. He is the only boxer in history to hold a world title in four different decades.
Spence, a 2012 US Olympian, is unbeaten at 27-0 with 21 knockouts. He holds the WBC and IBF welterweight belts and is ranked as one of the world’s elite pound-for-pound fighters.
The eagerness to fight the best is what separates Pacquiao from longtime rival Floyd Mayweather Jr., according MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons.
“Unlike Floyd Mayweather, who wants to beat up YouTube stars, even at 42, the Senator is looking to fight the best in the world,” Gibbons told Yahoo Sports. “Floyd’s style may have beaten Manny’s style, but the Senator’s body of work is unmatched. He wins a title at 40 years old, beating one of the best welterweights in the world, and now at 42, he’s going to defend that belt. He’s got a legacy that is unmatched.”
Mayweather defeated Pacquiao in a $600 million mega-fight in 2015 and retired unbeaten with a 50-0 record. Pacquiao's match with Spence will be a little more than two months after Mayweather faces YouTuber Logan Paul in an exhibition bout.
Come Aug. 21, the younger Spence will likely be the bookmakers favorite. He has 4 in. height and 5 in. reach advantage over Pacquiao.
The Spence fight is a chance for another lucrative payday for Pacquiao. But defeat may be the last time Pacquiao to enter the ring, ever. The Filipino senator may throw his hat again in the political ring in 2022 with an eye on perhaps the presidency.
Overcoming challenges is something not new with Pacquiao but Spence poses possibly the most difficult of them all. Can Manny Pacquiao beat the odds and defeat Errol Spence Jr. in their blockbuster fight?
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