By Jim Maltzman: Manny Pacquiao has a much harder task in front of him challenging IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr for his titles on August 21st than WBO 147-lb champion Terence Crawford does in defending against Shawn Porter.
Pacquiao is 42, hasn’t fought in two years, is a lot smaller, and he’s got a lot of ring wear on him as he moves towards his fight with Spence (27-0, 21 KOs).
Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) has already lost to Spence, Keith Thurman, and Kell Brook. Also, he hasn’t faced a quality opponent since his loss to Spence in September 2019.
Porter’s only fight since his loss to Spence was against an unknown fringe contender Sebastian Formella in August of 2020. That was 11 months ago, and Porter will have been out of the ring for over a year when he faces Crawford.
Porter should have lost his fight against Yordenis Ugas in March 2019, but he got some very generous scoring by two of the judges that gave him the victory.
Pacquiao has the more difficult task
“I think they both have real challenges,” said Lou DiBella to Secondsout about Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao having tough fights ahead of them in their next bouts against Shawn Porter and Errol Spence.
“Manny is Superman. Manny starts moving in the all-time pound-for-pound thing dramatically, not that he isn’t already a pound-for-pound guy, but he moves up dramatically if he can beat at this stage in his career Errol Spence, who I personally at the moment think is the finest welterweight until proven otherwise.
“I’d say that Pacquiao has a very daunting task, but he is one of the greatest of all time. But what is he, 39 or 40?
“He’s around that neighborhood. I think Crawford is going to be a bigger favorite [against Porter]. I don’t even know.
“I think they’re both fights with risks. I’m interested in both fights, even though Spence is the favorite and obviously Crawford is a favorite.
“I think Manny has the more daunting task [against Spence compared to Crawford fighting Porter],” said DiBella.
Obviously, Pacquiao has the tougher fight on his hands against Spence than Crawford does in taking on Porter, who lost to Errol in 2019. Spence would have beaten Porter quite easily if he had boxed him instead of slugging.
He admitted that he fought Porter’s fight on purpose and that he would have made it much easier if he’d state don the outside and boxed as he did with Mikey Garcia.
Manny needs to get Spence’s respect early
“Crack him with something, a really good combination or a really good shot that gets Spence thinking,” DiBella said when asked what Pacquiao can do to have a chance to beat Spence.
“Bring Spence to a place at some point where he feels insecure in the fight.
“I mean, if Spence dictates the fight from the very first second, it could be a really ugly time for Pacquiao and a stoppage probably later on in the fight in the mid-fight.
“He needs to get Spence’s respect. He needs the respect for the younger, longer, more athletic at this point, guy,” DiBella said.
Spence is at the level where even if Pacquiao lands a good shot or a series of shots early on, it’s not going to cause him to back off. That’s not in his DNA.
If Spence gets hit with something that hurts him early by Pacquiao, he’ll box him, and he’ll be more difficult to beat for the Filipino star.
The best chance Pacquiao has of winning is if Spence brawls with him because he can use his speed advantage.
Pacquiao – Spence & Crawford – Porter winners to fight
“Porter has got to be the best that he can be at what he does, and then he’s got to hope that can compete and possibly beat Crawford because it’s not easy to deal with his kind of mentality in the ring and his output and his pressure,” DiBella said.
“And also, he’s a smart kid with a good corner. Both of them are fair fights, and if you’re going to get fair fights at the top of the division, as a boxing fan or as a promoter who cares about the sport, don’t complain.
“It makes it bigger, it makes the dollars bigger, and dollars are what determines if it happens,” DiBella said about the possibility of the winners of the Pacquiao vs. Spence and Crawford vs. Porter meeting in a big-money fight.
“If it makes dollars, it makes sense. If the favorites in those two fights look spectacular in doing what they do in those two fights, then I think the fight becomes much bigger. So I’m cool with it if it becomes a semifinal type of thing,” DiBella said.
DiBella is only partially correct about the Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. and Crawford vs. Porter winners meeting to determine a top dog.
If Spence beats Pacquiao in their fight on August 21st, he’ll definitely want the Crawford – Porter fight winner.
If it’s Pacquiao, he may choose to retire on top with his victory over Spence rather than chance-it against whoever emerges as the victor between Crawford and Porter.
Shawn Porter = the best opponent of Crawford’s career
“Oh, absolutely,” said DiBella when asked if Porter is the best opponent of Crawford’s 13-year professional career.
“I will tell you admittedly that I got the opportunity to work a lot with Shawn and his dad, and he’s a terrific fighter.
“He’s a dog. I’ve been to so many of his fights, and I love Shawn Porter. I think that Crawford’s resume elevates immensely if he can beat Shawn Porter, and I’m not a guy that ever counts Shawn Porter out, particularly in a fight where his opponents have also been very inactive.
“But I like that fight, and I’ve always liked that fight. If that fight happens, good for both of those guys and good for boxing. If you get Spence – Pacquiao, and Porter – Crawford, that’s pretty good,” DiBella said.
Porter will be the best fighter on Crawford’s 13-year resume by a country mile. Crawford is obviously a great talent, but his resume is like a career-long contender, not a champion.
The danger of the 33-year-old Crawford facing a guy as good as Porter at this stage in his career is that he could lose.
It’s such a huge step up in class for Crawford, which he’s had no preparation for thanks to his promoters at Top Rank; he may not be ready.
Over the years, we’ve seen fighters built up by their promoters to make them look like killers by being matched against inferior opposition.
When they eventually get put in with opposition that knows how to fight, they frequently fall apart.
Is this the right time for Porter?
“He’s [Crawford] already been given credit as if he’s already had this win [against Porter],” said DiBella.
“So my point is, do I think it moves him? No. I think it leaves him in the top three or four position where everyone thinks he rightfully belongs.
“If he is what everyone says he is, then he should beat Shawn, and maybe he’s not.
“Maybe it’s the right time for Shawn. Shawn is a world-class guy who is never in a bad fight, and he’s aggressive with a come-forward style.
“He’s a great kid with great character. He’s never quit, there’s nothing negative, and there’s no quit in that kid.
“I like that fight, and I respect the WBO. There’s nothing wrong with understanding that if you can cause an excellent big fight to happen, then you’re probably doing the right thing.
“It’s a righteous mandatory,” said DiBella about WBO mandatory challenger Porter fighting champion Crawford.
It’s a good thing the World Boxing Organization ordered this fight because if they didn’t, we would have never seen Crawford and Porter fight. It wouldn’t have happened.
Just imagine what Porter’s career will be like if he defeats Crawford and does it in style. The victory will transform Porter into a PPV fighter, and it would set up a lucrative rematch with Crawford. Porter could see his net worth soar into the stratosphere.