Manny Pacquiao vs Errol Spence Jr: Can Pacman defy logic and roll back the years?

It is likely to be the final fight of an illustrious 26-year career for Manny Pacquiao, who looks to go out on top against welterweight's best.

In a breathtaking display of bravery, a 42-year-old Manny Pacquiao steps back into the ring on August 21 to take on unbeaten Pound for Pound star Errol Spence Jr. in Las Vegas.

Unbeaten in 27 fights, Spence - the WBC and IBF welterweight champion - is considered by many to be not only the best in his weight class but one of the finest fighters operating in the game today.

While a mooted bout with fellow unbeaten champion Terrence Crawford has yet to come to fruition, Spence, 31, boasts an impressive CV with fine wins over Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and Shawn Porter, amongst others.

Pacquiao, inactive since his hugely impressive split-decision victory over Keith Thurman in July 2019, is rightly considered one of the sport's all-time greats, but has he bitten off more than he can chew in challenging an unbeaten champion, arguably at the peak of his powers?

A warrior who always comes to fight

Since turning professional at just 15, Manny Pacquiao has enjoyed an utterly exceptional career in the sport.

Winning his first world title in the 118lb weight class all the way back in 2001, Pacquiao's ascension through the divisions, claiming world honours in a remarkable eight different weight classes, is the definition of legendary.

His fighting resume reads like a who's who of boxing with victories over storied Hall of Famers including Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto.

But at 42 years old, is it really possible that the hard-punching Philippine's pugilist-turned-politician could add Spence to his impressive list of victims?

While "Pacman" enters the bout as a clear betting underdog, it would surely be foolish to ever write off a fighter with such a stacked record.

Now in the twilight of his storied and iconic career, Pacquiao confirmed this exciting contest could prove to be the final chapter in what has been a truly extraordinary journey for the General Santos southpaw.

"It could be," Pacquiao told BusinessMirror when asked if this fight would be his last. "It's a legacy fight.

If this fight does indeed prove to be the last we see of Pacquiao, win, lose or draw, his legacy is absolutely ensured.

An all-time great, who will be mentioned alongside fighting luminaries like Willie Pep, Henry Armstong and Sugar Ray Robinson, there can be little doubt that Pacquiao's quest for further glory shines the right kind of spotlight on a sport badly in need of a reputation boost.

While Pacquiao might have been expected to choose a softer touch for a swansong bout, the Filipino has instead opted for one of the toughest assignment he could have chosen. Well, apart from Jake Paul, that is.

All jokes aside, Spence, who has fought just once since a horrendous car accident in 2019, has warned Pacquiao he is going to 'be in trouble'.

"Pacquiao don't care who he fights. Pacquiao's a warrior, he's a guy who will fight anybody,"

"He'll come to fight, and I'm definitely going to come to fight. I'll be stronger and physically better than my [recent] fights.

"If he's looking at that, he should be looking at the Chris Algieri, Lamont [Peterson], and Kell Brook fights to find something. If he's looking at the last fight (against Danny Garcia) thinking he's found a weakness, he's going to be in trouble."

Trouble or not, this fight should prove to be exactly what the sport needs in an era when long-retired champions like Floyd Mayweather can make more money fighting circus clowns than real champions can earn fighting fellow greats of the sport.

Despite that sad indictment, in taking on this mammoth challenge, Pacquiao has once again displayed his notorious fighting courage.

A throwback to a bygone era, Pacquiao represents the brilliance and bravery we adore in our favourite fighters and if he can somehow win, he stares directly in the face of those who claim to be 'TBE'.

Odds

Spence Jr. to win - 2/5

Draw - 18/1

Pacquiao to win - 9/5

Where and when?

Manny Pacquiao vs Errol Spence Jr. takes place on Saturday, August 21, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, USA.

What's on the line?

Spence's WBC and IBF titles will be on the line in this welterweight bout as well as the vacant Ring title. It is yet to be confirmed but the WBA strap could also be on the line.

Where can I watch it?

The fight will be broadcast live on Fox PBC in the US but is yet to have a home in the UK as of yet. 

Spence Jr's time to shine?

Spence has stopped 21 of his 27 opponents - each of his last three fights with Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia have all gone the distance, and given the resilience and bravery of his opponent, who has been stopped just once in his last 43 bouts, a similar outcome can be expected here.

Certainly, all the pressure and weight of expectation in this bout rests squarely on the shoulders of Spence. Having failed to secure a unification bout with Terence "Bud" Crawford, the double world champion finds himself in virtually a no-win situation given the age of his opponent.

Win well, and "Pacquiao was past it" will be the likely reaction. Lose, and a slim-chance of fighting "Bud" disappears.

Still, given his skills and the 11-year age gap between the two fighters, Spence should be expected to out-work Pacquiao on his way to a points decision victory, but it won't be easy, and given the decades of experience and glory in the opposite corner, he must know it.

READ: The Planet Sport Boxing Show: Manny Pacquiao returns at the age of 42

Latest Boxing Videos