world boxing

Pacquiao oozes with energy as betting odds vs Spence continues to shrink

Roy Luarca

DAILY GRIND. Manny Pacquiao has been training in the US for a month.

Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

‘Two years out of the ring allowed my body to rest,’ says Manny Pacquiao

For most fighters, two years out of the ring is a real skill downer. But not for Manny Pacquiao.

The long inactivity induced by the COVID-19 pandemic has only enabled his war-weary body to recover greatly.

Entering the fourth week of his training in Los Angeles for his heralded battle with Errol Spence Jr., Pacquiao feels rejuvenated.

“Two years out of the ring allowed my body to rest. My energy [is] overflowing,” said Pacquiao. “I am so grateful to God that I can still fight at this level against the best and still have these opportunities at age 42.”

Even Pacquiao, the oldest welterweight champion at 40 and the only boxer to have won a world title in each of four decades, is amazed he’s challenging the unbeaten Spence, one of the best of the current generation, for the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation crowns on Saturday, August 21 (Sunday, August 22, Philippine time) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“My fight with Errol Spence is not just a battle between the two best welterweights but between two of the best fighters,” he said.

“There is no ‘B side’ in this fight. I have just as much to prove in this fight as Errol does. We are going to bring out the best in each other. It is the type of fight that makes boxing so great.”

Truth is, Spence may be the betting favorite but Pacquiao remains to be the “A” side, the one who gets more money and commands the proceedings because of his crowd-drawing prowess and universal appeal among viewers.

Spence opened up as a huge 4:1 favorite with BetMGM, but as videos of Pacquiao’s training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood leaked out, the gap keeps getting smaller every day and is just 2:1 now.

On another context, Spence is listed as a -220 favorite and Pacquiao a +180 underdog. It means a $220 wager on Spence (27-0 with 21 knockouts) earns just $100 while a $100 bet on Pacquiao nets $180 if the eight-division world champion wins the FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view bout.

Roach, who has worked Pacquiao’s corner since 1995, is hardly surprised.

“Working with Manny never gets old. In fact, it seems like Manny never gets old! And hearing that all the money is coming in on Manny reminds me of the song, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come,’ because that has been the common thread throughout Manny’s boxing career,” said Roach, a seven-time Trainer of the Year and World Boxing Hall of Fame awardee. 

“I am just so damn proud of Manny for picking Errol Spence for this fight,” he said.  

“It’s a real fight and what a great example to set. You want respect? You want to establish a legacy? Look at what Manny and Spence will be doing on August 21. It’s the type of fight that returns boxing to the front page.” –