By: Hans Themistode
The news of Manny Pacquiao taking on Errol Spence Jr. rocked the boxing world. Approximately two months ago, the former eight-division titlist revealed that he successfully worked out a deal behind the scenes to take on the current unified welterweight champion. The two are now slated to face off on August 21st, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When asked what was the reasoning behind picking Spence Jr. amongst the bevy of options he had at his disposal, Pacquiao unveiled that he wanted a “real fight.”
Currently, long-time trainer of Pacquiao in Freddie Roach, is doing what he’s always done, whipping the Filipino native into the best shape possible. Although the Hall of Famer ultimately had no problem with Spence Jr. being Pacquiao’s final selection, if it was up to him, the pair would’ve gone in another direction.
“He wasn’t my first choice,” said Roach during an interview with Yahoo Sports. “I was leaning toward Mikey Garcia because he challenged us several times and so forth.”
Initially, Garcia appeared to have the inside track on a possible Pacquiao matchup. In fact, before Pacquiao’s fight announcement, Garcia guaranteed that he was taking on the future Hall of Famer later on this year. That, of course, proved to be untrue.
While Garcia may have been apoplectic with what took place, Spence Jr. was ecstatic over the news. The Dallas native has spent the past few years building one of the more impressive resumes in the welterweight division and craved a showdown with Pacquiao.
Since capturing the IBF title against Kell Brook in May of 2017, Spence Jr. has added the WBC belt to his collection. In doing so, he’s also taken down a who’s who of names including Shawn Porter, Lamont Peterson, the aforementioned Mikey Garcia and most recently, Danny Garcia.
Although Roach has confessed that his preferred choice was a matchup against Mikey Garcia and while the long time trainer respects pound for pound star and WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford, he acknowledges that Spence Jr. is the top name in the division.
“When Manny picked Spence, I said, ‘Congratulations, you picked the best guy out there.’”