By: Hans Themistode
Normally stoic and stone-faced, Errol Spence Jr. couldn’t stop himself from smiling when Manny Pacquiao inked his name on the dotted line.
Having watched Pacquiao fight as a youngster, Spence Jr. believed that a matchup against the surefire future first ballot Hall of Famer was exactly what he needed to take his career to the next level.
With the pair officially set to square off on August 21st, 2021, Spence Jr. underwent a grueling eight-week camp in preparation to take on the former eight-division world titlist. But as Spence Jr.’s time in camp began winding down, he was given heartbreaking news.
With only one week left before taking on by far the most notable opponent of his career, Spence Jr. was informed that he would be unable to participate due to a partial detachment in his right retina. So, with the Dallas native officially forced to withdraw, Yordenis Ugas, the current WBA welterweight champion, was given the call.
A despondent Spence Jr. watched from his palatial estate as Ugas banked round after round on the night. With each passing second, Spence Jr. could only shake his head as Pacquiao missed with wild punches and often paid the price as Ugas landed countless blows on the then, 42-year-old.
Ultimately, the unified welterweight star has grown to live with the lost opportunity. However, after witnessing the beating Ugas dished out to the future Hall of Famer, Spence Jr. believes that Pacquiao would’ve endured a thrashing like no other had he been able to face him.
“Watching Pacquiao fight, I was like man, that should’ve been me,” said Spence Jr. during an interview with Brian Custer on ShowTime Sports. “Man, I could’ve hurt this man. I was like damn but it is what it is.”
Now that Spence Jr. has recovered fully from his eye injury, he’ll look to end the momentum of Ugas. The pair will participate in a three belt unification in less than two weeks on April 16th, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
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