Errol Spence Jr can expect a “different Manny Pacquiao” come their title fight next month, said coach Buboy Fernandez after the Filipino and his team landed in the United States to begin in earnest their train camp.
Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, arrived in Los Angeles late on Sunday for the first time in almost two years following a longer than expected journey, when his original flight had to make an emergency landing in Japan because of a medical emergency involving one of its passengers. Pacquiao was forced to return to Manila before leaving again for the US.
Pacquiao, a sitting senator in his homeland, had been training in the Philippines ahead of his much-anticipated clash with unbeaten welterweight champion Spence. The bout takes place on August 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Upon landing, long-time friend and coach Fernandez told ABS-CBN News: “August 21, it’s a different Manny Pacquaio. We trained all the best because Errol Spence is not an easy fighter. He’s a good fighter, he’s a world champion.
“I know Errol Spence has trained hard because he’s going to fight someone like the senator. All the fighters still want to fight Manny Pacquiao because if you fight Manny Pacquiao it’s different.”
Fernandez explained that Pacquaio and his team arrived earlier than usual into the US to start their official training camp because the Covid-19 situation in the country is much more favourable than in the Philippines. Pacquiao will train, as usual, at trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing gym.
Now 42, Pacquiao has not fought in two years, with his most recent bout coming against the previously undefeated Keith Thurman in July 2019. Pacquiao won via split decision to clinch the WBA (Super) welterweight crown, although he was later stripped of the belt because of his inactivity.
Pacquiao, whose record stands at 62-7-2, 39 KOs, goes into the encounter with Spence as a heavy underdog. The American, 11 years his opponent’s junior, has a blemish-free record of 27 wins from 27 fights, with 21 coming via knockout. Spence currently holds the WBC and IBF titles. He fought Danny Garcia in December – his first fight since being involved in a near-fatal car crash in late 2019 – and dominated to win by unanimous decision.
Meanwhile, many believe the August 21 bout could be the final of Pacquiao's future-Hall-of-Fame career.