Errol Spence is well aware of the otherworldly accolades that Manny Pacquiao brings into the ring.
The unbeaten southpaw from Desoto, Texas insists that no stone is being left unturned in preparation for even the 42-year-old version of Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs). The two will collide August 21 atop a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with Spence’s WBC/IBF welterweight titles at stake.
“It’s gonna be a great fight, an entertaining fight,” Spence acknowledged to Fox Sports’ Heidi Androl during a press conference held Sunday afternoon at Fox Studios in Los Angeles. “It’s a great opportunity. Especially coming from my accident, I fought [former two-division champion] Danny Garcia and now I get to fight Manny Pacquiao.
“A lot of guys were in that sweepstakes. I got the call.”
Spence (27-0, 21KOs) and Pacquiao agreed to terms in time to announce the fight this past May, both doing so through their verified social media accounts. It was a surprise move, as Pacquiao was in talks with several other fighters, while all indications pointed towards Spence possibly facing WBA titleholder Yordenis Ugas in a three-belt unification bout.
Instead, two fighters widely considered as among the top three welterweights in the world today turned to each other for their next outing.
It will be the first fight for Pacquiao since his split decision win over then-unbeaten Keith Thurman (29-1, 22KOs; 2ND) to claim the WBA welterweight title at age 40 in July 2019. Spence enforced his place atop the welterweight division just two months later, outpointing Shawn Porter to unify the WBC/IBF titles in their September 2019 thriller that was hailed by many outlets as the Fight of the Year.
A horrific car crash threatened to derail Spence’s career, only to enjoy a triumphant comeback in a dominant twelve-round, unanimous decision over Garcia last December 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Pacquiao—boxing’s only-ever eight-division champion—has not fought since the pandemic, leaving Spence as the more active of the two and—at age 33—the much younger by more than nine years.
None of that will translate into overconfidence as he prepares for one of the greatest fighters in boxing history.
“He’s a boxer 24/7 all year round,” Spence said of the Filipino icon. “That’s why I feel like he’s been the same Manny Pacquiao for years and decades. He’s stayed disciplined all this time, like he said.
“I’m looking for the Manny Pacquiao who fought Keith Thurman.”
There will be one major difference, however, if Spence truly has his way.
“Manny Pacquiao is gonna bring it like he always do,” notes Spence, who attempts the sixth defense of at least one welterweight title dating back to May 2017. “I’m definitely gonna win the fight, though, whether it’s by stoppage or it goes the distance.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox