LOS ANGELES — The soft spoken Errol Spence Jr. is usually selective with his words.
Ahead of the biggest fight of his life against Manny Pacquiao at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 21 in a FOX Sports pay-per-view, the Texan offered a glimpse into how he plans on beating boxing’s only eight-division champion.
“I need to make sure I am 100% focused from the 1st to the 12th round, and locked in for each three minutes to fight and dictate the pace,” said Spence. “My height is going to be important as much as I make it. If I use my range and my distance it will make it important as much as he comes in and tries to fight. I have to negate what he tries to do.”
The WBC and IBF welterweight champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) has to prepare to negate Pacquiao’s blazing fast hands.
But at the age of 42, Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) no longer possesses the prolific power he once had. Since scoring four consecutive stoppage wins over David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto from 2008 and 2009, the Filipino legend has just one knockout win over his last 16 fights.
The feat came against Lucas Matthysse, a seventh-round TKO victory in 2018. Pacquiao did however knockdown Keith Thurman in the first round of his last fight in 2019.
Spence is aware that Pacquiao still packs a punch.
“I have to make sure I am focused and on point. You have to make sure you don't have any lapses in there to get caught with a big shot,” said Spence. “I feel like he's throwing more than just one-two and different combinations and going to the body now. He's definitely changed his punch selection.”
Pacquiao is always accustomed to being the smaller man in the ring, and it will be no different against Spence.
The 31-year-old, 5-foot, 9 ½ inch Spence is 11 years younger, four inches taller and will sport a five-inch reach advantage once he steps in to face the Filipino Senator.
Spence is listed anywhere from a -220 to -250 betting favorite across a variety of sportsbooks, while Pacquaio is listed between a +170 and +195 underdog.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com