Pacquiao can follow Porter blueprint to give Spence trouble – says Al Bernstein
By Jim Maltzman: Commentator Al Bernstein believes Manny Pacquiao has what it takes to give IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence a lot of difficulty in their fight on August 21st.
Bernstein notes that Pacquiao can do many the same things as former IBF/WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter with the way he darts in and out and moves side to side when changing the angles of his attacks.
Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) really had a lot of problems with the way that Shawn Porter was attacking him in their fight in 2019.
Errol barely escaped with a 12 round split decision win in a fight that many boxing fans saw going the other way.
Spence’s slow feet and reaction made it impossible for him to deal with Porter’s movement in a way that set him apart.
Ultimately, Spence wore Porter down in the championship rounds with his body shots to win a narrow decision.
It’s going to be a lot harder for Spence to do the same thing against Pacquiao because he’s not going to stand there and let him tee off with his body shots the way Porter was doing.
Pacquiao can follow Porter blueprint
“He’s 42, and he does have the layoff to deal with,” said Al Bernstein to Tobin on Pacquiao coming off a layoff to fight Spence.
“What I think might be surprising about this fight is that one of the blueprints that Shawn Porter showed in his fight with Spence was the idea of boxing, punching, darting in and out, using lateral movement, attacking, and not attacking, creating an awkward attack mode.
“Manny Pacquiao is capable of doing that, even at age 42. We’ve seen some evidence of that. So he could be a very interesting puzzle for Errol Spence to figure out.
“Errol Spence is obviously a fantastic fighter, and they will combine for a great match that will be very interesting for everybody,” said Bernstein.
Pacquiao naturally fights a lot like Porter with the way he moves around the ring. What makes Porter different is he’s more of an inside fighter than Pacquiao, and that’s where he was giving Spence problems in their fight in 2019.
But surprisingly, Spence got the better of Porter on the inside with his body punching, and he eventually knocked him down.
Pacquiao needs to move constantly and change the angles of his attacks on Spence.
It would be a mistake for Manny to take to the inside the way Porter did because he’ll get hit with too many of Spence’s powerful body shots.
Pacquiao was one of the original ‘Four Kings’
“Manny Pacquiao became a Hall of Famer in the early 2000s when he was fighting in the lower weight classes,” said Bernstein.
“He and Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Erik Morales created their own version of the ‘Four Kings.’
“Let me tell you, they were all great Hall of Fame fighters, and they created a better body of work than the real Four Kings [Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney, and Teofimo Lopez] did.
“The actual fights that they had, every one of them was a war; everyone was fantastic. So that cemented his Hall of Fame legacy, and then he moved forward and did all these things in the intervening years.
“But a win over Errol Spence would be so dramatic for Manny Pacquiao. That would forever cement his place as the all-time greats.
“I don’t know that he needs to do that to be a Hall of Fame fighter or all-time great fighter. But this would take it to another level,” said Bernstein.
Beating Spence will be an excellent cap for Pacquiao’s career if he’s looking to bow out of the game.
If Pacquiao wins this fight, it would be tempting for him to stay around to fight WBO champion Terence Crawford or maybe Floyd Mayweather Jr if he wanted to test himself at 44.
Manny willing to fight anybody
“The funny thing about this is it demonstrates Pacquiao’s willingness, which he’s had his whole career to fight anybody.
“We’ve forgotten that a little over a year ago, he fought Keith Thurman, who he thought at this age, Pacquiao couldn’t go near one of the bigger, tougher welterweights.
“It was a very close fight, but he beat Keith Thurman. It was staggering. It was an intriguing match; he chose him,” said Bernstein about the Pacquiao vs. Spence fight.
It’s going to be hard for Pacquiao to handle Spence at this point in his career coming off a long two-year layoff.
We don’t know what we’ll see from Pacquiao, and this is the wrong guy for him to be fighting with ring rust.
Manny has already proven that he’s willing to take on the best in whichever weight class he’s fought at during his career. He’s fought these excellent fighters at 147:
- Floyd Mayweather Jr
- Miguel Cotto
- Shane Mosley
- Tim Bradley
- Keith Thurman
- Oscar De La Hoya
- Antonio Margarito
- Juan Manuel Marquez
Those fights were at 147 alone, and the rest of Pacquiao’s resume is just as deep with talent. Spence doesn’t come close to matching Pacquiao’s resume, and that’s not just because he’s younger.
Errol has been brought along carefully by his management at PBC, and he only has a few names on his record of good fighters.
Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, and Kell Brook are the main guys Spence has fought.
Tarver: Pacquiao an all-time great if he wins
“That’s a great fight on paper, and I’m anxious to see if the old man still has what it takes,” said Antonio Tarver to BlueBlood Sports TV in talking about Manny Pacquiao taking on Errol Spence Jr.
“If he can beat Errol Spence, he’s got to get up there to the top of the all-time greats.
“With them both being southpaw, it kind of takes away the advantage of being a southpaw because when he [Pacquiao] fights a conventional fighter, he usually has the advantage by moving to the right side and going away from the guys’ power.
“Because that in itself, they’re going to be right there in line for the left hand straight down the pipe.
“So it’ll be easier, I believe to land that left hand on another southpaw rather than another conventional fighter,” said Tarver.
Pacquiao has already done enough in his long 26-year professional career to earn a spot in the all-time greats in boxing. Beating Spence would be icing on the cake for the 42-year-old Pacquiao.
At this point, Pacquiao has been three fighters that were arguably better than Spence. I’m talking about these excellent fighters:
- Marco Antonio Barrera
- Erik Morales
- Juan Manuel Marquez
Those guys won world titles in more than one weight class, and they had a long successful career. In contrast, Spence has only been a world champion in one weight class at 147.
He’s getting up there in age at 31, and we don’t know how much longer he’ll be fighting.
Spence says he’ll be moving up to 154 after two more fights, which means he’s going to have to deal with Jermell Charlo if he wants to win a title.
If Spence moves up to 154 and chooses to swerve Charlo due to him being a close friend, he’s not going to achieve much. The junior middleweight division is empty of big names since Canelo Alvarez left it many years ago.
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