Rustico Torrecampo, Boonsai Sangsurat and Juan Manuel Marquez. These three fighters are the only men to have ever managed to knock out or stop the great Manny Pacquiao. Errol Spence says he is training hard to ensure that he becomes number-four, and that he sends 42 year old Pacquiao into retirement in the process.
Speaking with Barbershop Conversations, “The Truth” said he is going to “get as strong as I can to knock Manny Pacquiao out and send him into retirement.”
So, can Spence, who has stopped 21 of his 27 beaten opponents, do it? Spence is a huge welterweight even if he is not a huge puncher, not of the one-shot variety, certainly. But this fight, as soon as it was first announced (catching us all by surprise as it did), was looked at as one heck of a big risk of an assignment for Pac Man; a warrior who has been punching for pay since way back in 1995.
Even the prime Manny Pacquiao would have had his hands full with fellow lefty Spence, so plenty of fans say. So while it’s hard to see Spence taking Pacquiao out in spectacular, one-punch KO fashion the way “Dinamita” Marquez did, shockingly, in December of 2012, a wear-down, late stoppage win is entirely possible for Spence.
For all the many millions of Pacquiao fans it would of course be a sad spectacle, seeing this all-time great, in fact, once-in-a-lifetime legend, go out on his back (or worse, on his face), but the fact that Manny is willing to take such a risky fight is a huge part of his appeal. This lack of a safety-first approach from Pac Man is why we love him so, why we respect him so much. Spence respects Manny too, but this does not mean he will take it anywhere near easy on the veteran on August 21 – this fight will be no Larry Holmes Vs. Muhammad Ali-style affair, where Holmes began pulling his punches on his hero.
Spence knows he will score the most talked about KO of 2021 if he can take Manny out in August. Of course, Pacquiao, with his still-fast hands, his explosiveness and his punches from odd angles, could be the man who scores the KO in August. I dare say plenty of fight fans will be watching this one through their fingers. Even if Pacquiao doesn’t get the win, even if he is knocked out or stopped, that massive level of respect we all have for him will not go anywhere. Pacquiao might not go down as the greatest fighter of his era (but then again, he may well do so) – but he has shown us time and again how he is the bravest fighter of his era. This one really is a fascinating fight, one that is dangerous. For both men.