Philippines, 27 Mar 2023
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Pacquiao Watch: Overthinking Manny’s August 22 fight

The buzz around Pacland is that Errol Spence’s injury may be a fake to camouflaged a possible Spence-Crawford fight that will surely bring more glitter and therefore more moolah to promoter Floyd Mayweather who is reportedly expected to sign Terrence Crawford very soon.

Crawford is rumored to be leaving Bob Arum’s Top Rank, the bitter rival of Mayweather.

A loss by Spence to Pacquiao will scuttle that possibility and even a Spence-Crawford fight pushes through, it will lose appeal and so too will its marketability.

Premiere Boxing Champions, which is covering the Pacquiao-Ugas fight, is owned by Mayweather adviser Haymon Sports. Spence and Ugas are promoted by Haymon.

There you go, that is conspiracy theory for you.

Senator Manny Pacquiao was penciled to face Spence two Sundays from now in this year’s bigger fight until the latter suffered a retinal tear on the left eye that required surgery. True enough, Spence underwent eye surgery to repair the injury.

Spence has fought only once since figuring in a near fatal car crash in October 2019. He eked out a competitive unanimous decision victory against Danny Garcia in December last year.

On August 22, Sunday (Philippine time), Pacquiao will instead fight Cuban exile Yordenis Ugas, installed World Boxing Association welterweight champion, making it officially still a world title fight.

There many ramifications in the cancellation of the Pacquiao-Spence fight.

It means there is a possibility that the pay per view proceeds of the substitute Pacquiao-Ugas fight will likely suffer a setback. That is why promoter of the fight are racing to hype up Ugas as a worthy and competitive opponent of Pacquiao. Since the guaranteed purse of Pacquiao is not disclosed, we can only second guess that the promoter faces probable let down in the gross receipts.

That could also hurt Pacquaio’s take home pay even if the PPV cost is still the same at $74.95.

Pacquiao’s last fight versus American Keith Thurman reportedly generated 500,000 views for a gross PPV revenue of $37.5 million. Based on such figures, Pacquiao must have netted a take home pay of no less than $10 million after US taxes and trainer’s and coach’s cut.

Pacquiao camp will certainly hope to have the same number of buys for his fight against Ugas.

Win or loss versus Ugas, Pacquiao does not go far from where he is from the point of view of his greatness as one of boxing’s all-time great. Because Ugas is a curious non-entity, a win over him is widely expected from Pacquiao.

On the other hand, another loss means another big step back towards an inevitable retirement. A worse beat down, heaven forbid, could mean the end of it all.

Any injury to the eye retina is career threatening. It could permanently damage the eye and could endanger the life of a boxer if that injury is worsened during the fight. As great as Sugar Ray Leonard was during his prime, he deteriorated quickly when he suffered a detached retina which affected his vision.

Whether it is true or not, Spence has all the reasons to withdraw from the fight and we could not fault him.

What is more sinister, however, is for one laying the groundwork for an unacceptable justification in the event of a loss that Pacquiao might suffer from the relatively unknown Cuban boxer.

Ugas is right where Pacquiao was more than 20 years ago when the hungry Filipino boxing icon went up against Lehlo Ledwaba as a substitute boxer himself who was told he will be up against the African super bantamweight champion on a two-week notice.

Nobody is more dangerous than a hungry prey, all hunters will always warn you of that.

It should be a determined Pacquaio against a ravenous Ugas looking for his moment in space.

That is why it is imperative for Pacquiao to win decisively against Ugas to eliminate any post-fight conjectures and silence those conspiracy theorists.

For Pacquiao, August 22 will be full circle again.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Edwin G. Espejo.

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