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Errol Spence vs Manny Pacquiao: Head to Head preview

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Joseph Herron Updated
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On August 21, 2021, fight fans will see one of the most anticipated welterweight fights in recent memory.

After two long years of inactivity, eight division world titlist Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO's) will attempt to hand the undefeated WBC and IBF champion, Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KO's), his first professional loss.

The big event is expected to take place at Manny's home away from home, Las Vegas, Nevada, inside the MGM Grand Resort and Casino, and will be distributed by FOX PPV.

According to most Race and Sports Books, the 26 year professional will enter the ring as the considerable betting underdog at greater than 3 to 1 odds (+350), while the incumbent 147 pound champion will defend his titles listed as a healthy (-450) or 4 1/2 to 1 betting favorite.

Though the Senator's fans may disagree with most experienced handicappers, Pacquiao is the noteable underdog in this match-up for a reason.

Errol Spence Jr. is one of the most skilled fighters in boxing. The De Soto, Texas, resident knows how to box from the outside and control distance with underrated footwork, moving in and out of range, while working behind a very intelligent jab. EJ also puts his combinations together very well from mid to long range.

But "The Truth's" real strength is in the pocket.

The unified welterweight champ is one of the games most intelligent pressure fighters. Spence is a virtuoso at cutting off the ring, closing the distance and proficiently working in combination underneath. Once he finds range on the inside, Errol throws a full arsenal of punches to the body and head from all angles, and with both hands creatively so it's difficult to anticipate.

The current WBC/IBF titlist is a problem for anyone in the division; especially a naturally smaller fighter who likes to instinctively lunge in from mid-range. The foundation of Errol's defense is his brilliant sporadic jab and footwork. If Pacquiao hopes to touch Spence's chin, he'll have to get past the educated jab, and hope that he doesn't miss, fall out of position and leave himself wide open for a hard counter.

At age 42, is this a fight Pacquiao can win?

If Manny is still Manny, fans could see something very special in three months.

Although the Pacman hasn't faced a southpaw since stopping Lightweight David Diaz in 2008, EJ has only faced two lefties throughout his entire career, Chris Van Heerden and Emanuel Lartey...and with all due respect, neither of them were on the same level as the sport's only eight division world champion.

And while Errol has several former champions on his resume, the 31 year old puncher has never faced anyone with the championship experience of the Filipino Senator. His resume over the past twenty years reads like a Hall of Fame "Who's Who".

The ring legend has seen it all throughout his 26 year pro career, and has been the A-side in numerous big-time events. If massive fights are the boxing equivalent to Super Bowls, then Manny's big game experience would exceed that of Tom Brady.

After fighting three of his last four bouts in his hometown, can Errol Spence perform at his peak and handle the pressure in a massive Las Vegas event without a pro-Spence crowd behind him?

Big-fight experience is a definite edge for the global icon.

Manny Pacquiao is a razor sharp, intelligent counter puncher who throws quick combinations to the body and head; and because he still has some of the best footwork in the division, the Pacman delivers punches from multiple angles and can be very difficult to anticipate as he's closing the distance and moving into range.

The 42 year old puncher also likes to use plenty of fients and upper body movement to disrupt the timing and rhythm of his opponents while he's delivering his vaunted right hook, straight left combination. Although Spence has an exceptional defense and a world class beard, Pacquiao's shots seem to have a lasting effect when they do find their target...just ask Keith "One Time" Thurman.

And despite popular belief, Manny isn't merely a one-dimensional fighter.

Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao has become a very effective matador throughout the back half of his career, and can use the entire ring fluidly.

Against proficient inside fighters and effective aggressors like Antonio Margarito and Brandon Rios, Manny pitched virtual shut-outs, punishing his flat-footed opponents while turning them around the ring and staying off the ropes for twelve hard rounds. Pacquiao's brilliant footwork allows him to rattle off quick combinations to the body and head while pivoting around his aggressive opponents, forcing them to reset and restart their attack.

But can a 42 year old Manny Pacquiao still execute this kind of strategy...especially after two years of inactivity?

The truth will be revealed in the ring when Errol Spence Jr. defends his WBC/IBF titles against ring legend Manny Pacquiao on August 21.

 

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