By Mark Elezaj
Manny Pacquiao is set to return to the ring following more than a two-year absence when he faces unbeaten, unified WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
August 21 has been reserved at a yet-to-be-named venue Las Vegas.
“Done deal, I’ll see y’all in Vegas for the biggest fight of the year,” Spence stated via his Instagram account.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) last fight was a 12-round victory over Keith Thurman back in July 2019 for the WBA welterweight title.
Spence (27-0, 21KOs), the 31-year-old southpaw from Desoto, Texas is widely regarded as the one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.
Spence’s last fight was a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia last December at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Sean Gibbons, the president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, recently told ESPN that the fight came together rather quickly.
“Many people believe Spence is the best welterweight in the world and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and Pacquiao has never shied away from fighting real fights,” Gibbons said. “He’s not going to make a fool of himself fighting YouTubers or social media guys like Floyd Mayweather is, and he wants to continue his legacy. He’s always fought the best, and he doesn’t want to change now.”
In a recent episode of Barbershop Conversations, Errol Spence Jr. sent out a stern warning toward Manny Pacquiao ahead of their August 21 showdown.
“I’ll be stronger and physically better than my (recent) fights. If he’s looking at that, he should be looking at the Chris Algieri, Lamont (Peterson), and Kell Brook fights to find something. If he’s looking at the last fight thinking he’s found a weakness, he’s going to be in trouble,” said Spence.
Spence also said that he knows Pacquiao will come out hungry.
“I expect the same Manny Pacquiao we get every time. He’ll come to fight, and I’m definitely going to come to fight,” said Spence. “Pacquiao doesn’t care who he fights. Pacquiao’s a warrior, he’s a guy who will fight anybody.”
Spence also said that he wants to go after Terence Crawford’s WBO title in a bid for undisputed at welterweight.
“Once I get that belt, I mean, like I told Al, I want that fight with Crawford, but if it don’t happen I’ll probably just move up or something. I’m not going to waste my time trying to fight somebody who doesn’t have any interest anymore, doesn’t want to fight me anymore.
Spence says he’s got “probably” two more fights left at welterweight, and wants them to be Pacquiao and Crawford. If the Crawford fight doesn’t happen, he said again that he’d likely move up in weight, and also gave some praise to Pacquiao. He said if anyone wants to complain that he’s fighting Pacquiao instead of Crawford — or if anyone is complaining that Spence got Pacquiao and Crawford didn’t — they should blame Bob Arum.
“If the money was right and everything was lined up correctly, Pacquiao would have fought (Crawford). It didn’t line up that way. I don’t know for whatever reason. I just say ‘Blame Bob’ because he’s the guy orchestrating it all, and it didn’t happen in their favor.”
Love him or hate him, the one thing that we can all agree on is that Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao still dares to be great.
~ The Fighting Voice ~