Arum says Errol Spence ‘big favorite’ over Manny Pacquiao
MANILA, Philippines—Top Rank CEO Bob Arum believes the younger two-belt champion Errol Spence is the “big favorite” in his title defense against boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.
Their welterweight fight set for August 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada was officially announced last week with Pacquiao fighting for the first time since July 2019.
While Arum believes the 31-year-old Spence has the edge in the match, Pacquiao’s former long time promoter still thinks 42-year-old Filipino legend has more than enough of a fighting chance.
“I think I would never count out Manny Pacquiao but you have to make Spence a big favorite,” said Arum in an interview with ES News.
Spence (27-0) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Danny Garcia in December 2020 to defend his IBF and WBC welterweight titles while Pacquiao (62-7-2) has been inactive since his split decision victory over Keith Thurman.
Pacquiao’s inactivity cost him his WBA Super World welterweight title with the sanctioning body relegating him to champion in recess status. Yordenis Ugás now holds the strap.
Pacquiao’s announcement that he would fight Spence, however, came out of the left field with WBO champion Terence Crawford and Mikey Garcia also rumored to fight the eight-division champion.
Arum said he had tried to set up the fight between Pacquiao and Crawford for Abu Dhabi.
“We tried to do Pacquiao and Crawford over in Abu Dhabi because the money is huge for that fight,” said Arum. “And then people could say, ‘Well, why didn’t you do Pacquiao and Crawford from the US?’”
“Because, y’know, as a business person, I just thought that it was too risky. Hopefully, they come out okay with Pacquiao and Spence but it’s risking a lot of money to do.”
Arum’s big project eventually fell through as money from the Abu Dhabi investors wasn’t pooled in time for the proposed June 5 fight.