By: Hans Themistode
Errol Spence Jr. felt every emotion. From apoplectic, to incredulous to despondent, Spence Jr. dealt with it all.
With just a few weeks left until his mega showdown against Manny Pacquiao on August 21st at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Spence Jr. was given no choice but to pull out of their contest due to a retinal detachment in his left eye. From there, the unified welterweight champion immediately dropped his gloves and entered the surgical room.
As doctors began working on the Dallas native’s eyesight, rumors emerged that Spence Jr. was never hurt in the first place. Bernard Hopkins, a former two-division titlist and 2019 Hall of Famer, was amongst those who raised a cautious eyebrow to Spence Jr. and his entire injury claim.
“If you tell me something, now you got to show me,” said Hopkins during an interview with Fight Hub TV when the news first broke. “I’m a showman person. I’m not going to tell you what happened and you got to take my word for it. Not that I’m saying you should. But if I show you, I don’t have to do much speaking.”
Never known as the loquacious type, Spence Jr. has remained mostly mum since his surgical procedure. However, given the chance to address Hopkins and whomever else doubts the legitimacy of his injury, Spence Jr. simply points to Pacquiao’s stature amongst the all-time greats and the boatload of money he would have accrued for facing him.
“It’s freaking Manny Pacquiao,” said Spence Jr. during an interview with ESPN. “Future Hall of Famer, future legend, undoubtedly top 10 all time. One of the greatest fighters of all time. And I drop out of a fight with him two weeks before the fight? That don’t make sense. Not to mention all the money we would make off pay-per-view.”
Even with his departure from the event, the show ultimately still went on without him. Stepping in to replace Spence Jr., was WBA 147 pound titlist, Yordenis Ugas. Spence Jr. sat idly by as Ugas cashed in on the opportunity of a lifetime.
The massive underdog went on to frustrate Pacquiao on the night, before winning a close but clear unanimous decision. With the former eight-division world champion unsure if he’ll ever step foot inside a boxing ring again, Spence Jr. is coming to grips with the fact that he may never face Pacquiao before he rides off into the sunset.
Considering his frustrations, and his audacious call-outs of Pacquiao over the years, Spence Jr. is still shaking his head at anyone who believes he didn’t want to compete on the night.
“I called him out two years ago in the ring. Not like he handpicked me. I been asking to fight him.”
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