By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
EIGHT-DIVISION world champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines will have his hands full when he collides with American welterweight champ Errol Spence, Jr. later this year.
This, is according to one local boxing analyst of the scheduled Aug. 21 title fight between the two top fighters, made official and announced at the weekend by the Filipino boxing superstar.
The Pacquiao-Spence fight will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In an online interview with BusinessWorld, boxing analyst Nissi Icasiano said that while Mr. Pacquiao (62-7-2) and his camp did a good job in choosing Mr. Spence (27-0) as the former’s opponent in his return fight after two years, “Pacman” must brace for a tough battle against the World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion.
“Pacquiao will have his hands full against Errol Spence, Jr. The American has a very effective and economical style which primarily uses his aggressive pressure with the jab to set up a straight left hand to the head or body. He also has very good fundamental boxing skills fighting on the back foot using his jab to maneuver his opponent,” said Mr. Icasiano.
Adding, “The other side of his game is his inside fighting skills where a lot of fighters struggle to withstand his aggression, body work and power. I have to throw out this question [as well], when was the last time Manny Pacquiao fought a fellow southpaw? It’s true that southpaws create problems with right-handed fighters. But in this fight, he won’t be having that advantage.”
The announcement of the Spence fight settled once and for all who the opponent of Mr. Pacquiao, also a sitting senator of the republic, will be for his much-awaited return, that had him at some points being angled to fight former multi-division champion Mikey Garcia and Ultimate Fighting Championship star and champion Conor McGregor.
Mr. Icasiano said that the Spence fight is just too hard to pass up on and he would not blame Mr. Pacquiao’s camp for going such a direction.
“It’s not surprising from my end [that this fight is happening] because Spence was one of the three or four options as the next in-ring foe for Pacquiao. I believe Senator Manny got him a better fight than having Mikey Garcia or even UFC star Conor McGregor as an opponent in his first fight in two years,” he said.
“As early as December 2020, Spence’s name had already been floating as a potential opponent. People often forget that this is the easiest fight to make, especially that both men fight under one promotion.” Mr. Icasiano added, referring to Premier Boxing Champions.
The boxing analyst further said that the August fight carries much significance for both Messrs. Pacquiao and Spence.
“This fight for Pacquiao goes to show he is not afraid to take on the young lions of his division. The Filipino icon is making a big leap in perhaps the final stretch of his illustrious career. If he wins, it will definitely bolster further his legacy as one of the best ever in the sport,” Mr. Icasiano said.
“For Errol Spence, he has a lot to gain in this fight. It’s the biggest fight of his career to date.”
Forty-two-year-old Pacquiao last fought in July 2019 where he beat American Keith Thurman by split decision to win the World Boxing Association welterweight belt. He later vacated the title.
Mr. Spence, 31, meanwhile, is coming off a successful title defense of his WBC and IBF titles against compatriot Danny Garcia last December.