Ring stakes vacant throne for ‘underdog’ Pacquiao and No. 1 Spence
Manny Pacquiao will have an added incentive to buck his “underdog” status against undefeated American Errol Spence Jr.
Ring Magazine has announced it will stake its welterweight title in the Aug. 21 bout in Las Vegas, marking the first time in six years that it will crown a 147-pound champion.
The Ring division titles are often staked when the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders of each weight class face off, but the magazine has a solid reason for crowning either top welterweight Spence and the No. 3-ranked Pacquiao as its first king of the division since Floyd Mayweather Jr. relinquished the throne in 2015.
“If a fight between the No. 1 and [No.] 2 contenders cannot be made and No. 1 fights No. 3, the winner may be awarded The Ring belt if the Editorial Board deems the No. 3 contender worthy,” the magazine’s rule states. All three members of the editorial board agreed that the Pacquiao-Spence fight falls under the exception.
Terence Crawford is the No. 2 welterweight in the world, but a Spence-Crawford fight looks impossible at the moment due to a conflict of handlers of both fighters.
Pacquiao has acknowledged his underdog status against Spence, saying that the bout is “perhaps the most difficult in my career.”
Pacquiao has already started his stateside phase of training with Freddie Roach at Wild Card Gym.
“He was incredibly sharp for his first day,” said Roach. “He hit hard with good power.”
Roach’s fellow famed trainer, Roberto Garcia, believes that power will serve Pacquiao in good stead against the younger and taller Spence.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Pacquiao pulls it off, honestly,” Garcia said. “Pacquiao’s a warrior, just by taking the fight he’s showed them he’s one of the best in history.”