Andre Ward: Spence has got to prove he’s got another gear against Pacquiao
By Tommy Gray: Andre Ward says Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr could get left behind if he doesn’t find another gear to shift into when he faces the speedy Manny Pacquiao on August 21st.
The one-paced style in which IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) fight could result in him getting out left behind by the faster, more mobile Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) in their fight on FOX PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In Spence’s recent fights against Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and Mikey Garcia, he looked lazy at times, allowing those contests to be more competitive than they should have been.
Against Pacquiao, Spence cannot afford to be lackadaisical and sleepy-eyed because he’ll get machine-gunned by the quick shots and the activity from the Filipino star.
If Spence is going to try and conserve his energy out of laziness or worry about gassing, he shouldn’t do it because he’ll fall hopelessly behind and won’t be able to catch up on the scorecards.
Manny relies too much on his engine
“What works against Manny is that he’s a guy that relies on his engine,” said Andre Ward to Fighthype in analyzing the Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr fight.
“He’s a guy that you wind him up and let him go. And he’s getting older. He’s had a lot of fights and a lot of tough fights, especially late. I still think he has a good amount left in the Tank, but how much?
“The rest that he had was good, the [two-year] break that he had, but it’s not good for rust. It’s good for your health but not good for the rust factor.
“So we’re going to see glimpses of the old Manny, but it’s not going to be the Manny that we’re accustomed to seeing,” said Ward. “That’s going to work in Spence’s favor.”
For too many years, Pacquiao has relied on his engine for him to win fights, but discover that he can’t do that now at 42.
We’ll see Pacquiao fight hard in the early rounds, but his advanced age will betray him in the second half of the contest.
Does Errol have another gear?
“Spence has got to prove that he’s got another gear because Manny is going to force him to fight,” said Ward.
“So are we going to see Spence rise to the occasion, or are we going to see him get left behind?
“I believe we’re going to see Spence rise to the occasion. Even though Manny has got all the accolades, I give Spence the edge in this fight.
“If he beats Manny Pacquiao and dominates Manny Pacquiao, he’s going to be at the top of the pound-for-pound list,” Ward said.
Spence sitting down on his shots, jabbing, and controlling the fight from range should be enough for him to win with relative ease.
The way that Spence fought Mikey Garcia in the ninth round of their fight in 2019, that’s the way he needs to fight against Pacquiao. Spence opened up on Mikey Garcia in that round and had him reeling at the end.
If Spence fights like that in every round against Pacquiao, he’ll likely stop him. Manny won’t be able to hold up under that kind of consistent firepower from Spence without needing to be saved by the referee.
Ward: Spence has got to be better than he’s ever been
“I think it’s more than that,” said Ward when told that the hardest thing for Pacquiao is to get past Spence’s jab. “It’s the jab. Because of the way Errol goes about his business in the ring, people can misread him.
“It looks steady. He’s physically strong, and fundamentals are really hard to deal with, especially when you get tired.
“He’s consistent, and he’s steady. It’s like raindrops. They keep coming. He’s not really a combination puncher, but he can throw combinations.
“But he’s a pick-em fighter. If you watch him do mitt work with his coach, that’s what they do. That’s what he does in the ring.
“I give a slight edge to Errol Spence, but Errol Spence is going to have to be better than he’s ever been. And Manny is going to have to work really hard to have to deal with that young boy,” said Ward.
Spence, 31, can probably beat Pacquiao even if he’s not firing at 100% capacity.
If Spence is as good as he was in his last fight against Danny Garcia, which he saws was him at 70%, he still beats Pacquiao.
The Pacquiao that we saw in his last outing two years ago against Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in 2019 won’t be good enough to beat the Spence that fought Danny Garcia.
Unfortunately, what you can’t rule out is a controversial decision for the Spence vs. Pacquiao fight. With Pacquiao’s popularity, if the fight is reasonably competitive, we could see the Filipino star win a controversial decision against the less popular Spence.
If you’re Spence, you’d better make sure that you knock Pacquiao down three to four times if you want to win a decision against him.
Spence has got to make it so decisive that the Nevada judges won’t dare score it for Pacquiao.
The best thing Spence can do, though, is to knock Pacquiao out to take the judges out of the equation because it’s too risky to let the match go to the scorecards.
Crawford should be next for Errol
“As a competitor, I think [Terence] Crawford wants the big fights,” said Ward.
“I truly think he wants the Mannys and the Errol Spences as he does, but I also know that he’s had a good career and has made good money.
“Crawford reminds me of myself in the sense that he’s not going to live or die by boxing. If boxing ended today, he would be fine.
“He’s responsible about his business outside of the ring, and that’s just from talking to and from what I’ve observed and what I’ve heard.
“So he wants the big fights, but I don’t think he’s crying about it. I think we’re more concerned bout it than him. And I would like to see him get a marquee name.
“I would like to see Spence, if he beats Manny Pacquiao, be able to get the Crawford fight. I think they’ve got to fight because I think this is going to be a big miss if they don’t fight.
“A big miss for both of them. Of course, these fighters are going to do what they do and build a legacy, but I think it’s going to be a big miss.
“It’s going to be one of those fights that never happened that should have happened. One of the big misses in boxing history because both are in their prime.
“Why can’t it happen? Do you see what I mean? Nobody will care about that twenty years from now, ten years from now.
“They’re just going to say, ‘Why didn’t it happen? It should have happened,'” said Ward about the Crawford vs. Spence fight.
There’s an excellent chance that we will be seeing Spence battle WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) next, provided that Errol gets past Pacquiao on August 21st.
Top Rank wants the Crawford vs. Spence fight, and they all know that it must happen next. Spence wants Crawford’s WBO title and the WBA strap held by Yordenis Ugas before he moves up to 154.
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