Update (5:51 pm ET): PBC and FOX have confirmed the fight is official
Despite Mikey Garcia’s best efforts to secure a clash with “The Fighting Senator,” Manny Pacquiao now claims that he’ll face unified WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on an August 21st FOX PPV.
The fight will end a 25-month-layoff for the multi-division legend, who turned 42 this year and hasn’t seen action since a gritty split decision over Keith Thurman in July 2019. The layoff ultimately led the WBA to strip him of his “super” title, relegating him to “champion in recess” while Yordenis Ugas took up his mantle. Top Rank made multiple attempts to set up a clash with Terence Crawford in the interim, the most recent of which collapsed when the promised money for a Dubai date failed to materialize, but this is about as good a consolation prize as you can imagine.
Spence (27-0, 21 KO), who’s held the IBF belt since breaking Kell Brook’s face for it in 2017, added the WBC belt to his collection in a terrific 2019 battle with Shawn Porter. This set up a clash with division stalwart Danny Garcia, only for Spence to flip his Lamborghini and spend several months recovering on the sidelines. Despite the setback, he looked like he hadn’t lost a step when he jumped right back into the Garcia fight last December, scoring a comfortable decision over the dangerous veteran.
Pacquiao is undoubtedly facing a massive test; on top of his youth, technique, speed, power, and athleticism, Spence boasts four inches of height and five inches of reach on “Pac-Man.” Still, the man’s never been shy about testing himself, and as far as last hurrahs go, I’ll always respect the ones who shoot for the moon. Best of luck, gentlemen.