Manny Pacquiao versus Errol Spence Jr. August 21.
An argument could be made that Manny Pacquiao is rolling the dice. In a little over three weeks, he’ll be fighting a fighter who, at least on paper, has every advantage.
Errol Spence Jr. is 11 years younger than Pacquiao, at least four inches taller and appears to punch harder than the one-time flyweight world champion. Yes, flyweight.
Spence has held a piece of the welterweight title for four years. He added the WBC portion two years ago. In 27 fights, he’s never come close to losing a boxing match.
Even Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, wasn’t thrilled when he heard who his fighter would be throwing hands with next.
“He (Spence) wasn’t my first choice,” Roach told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports a few weeks ago. “I was leaning toward Mikey Garcia, because he challenged us several times and so forth. When Manny picked Spence, I said, ‘Congratulations, you picked the best guy out there.”
So why Spence?
“There is always going to be a debate about who’s the greatest fighter of all time,” said Pacquiao in an article by Lance Pugmire of www.theathletic.com. “My goal in taking this fight is to make my case.”
Ok, so the 42-year-old Senator is fighting for his legacy. He still feels like he has something to prove. Pacquiao has been toiling in a boxing ring for 27 years. He’s boxed professionally over 70 times, but was last seen two years ago deposing of then undefeated Keith Thurman.
Any time away from a ring is rarely a good thing, but Pacquiao disagrees.
"Two years out of the ring allowed my body to rest,” Pacquiao said. “My energy stores are overflowing.”
Spence’s trainer Derrick James watched some tape of the multiple division champion. He came away impressed.
“Pacquiao still got it, “said James to fighthype.com. “He still has the angles, he still got those intangibles that make him great. “Manny ain’t going in there to lose the fight, he’s going in there saying ’I can beat that guy, I’m gonna show you I can beat that guy.”
When the fight was announced, Spence opened as a 4-1 favorite. A few days ago the odds had dropped to 2-1.
As the immortal Satchel Paige said:
Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.