Manny Pacquiao-Errol Spence winner will be The Ring welterweight champion
It’s taken the best part of six years but finally we have a 147-pound fight deemed worthy of Ring Magazine championship honors.
The winner of the August 21 showdown between unified titleholder Errol Spence Jr. and the legendary Manny Pacquiao will become the first Ring welterweight champion since Floyd Mayweather relinquished the title in September 2015. Other holders of this prestigious prize include all-time greats Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.
However, the decision to put the championship at stake in this matchup was not an easy one. While Spence is the Ring’s No. 1 rated welterweight, Pacquiao is currently situated at No. 3. Ideally, a vacant title goes on the line when No. 1 faces No. 2, but unfortunately a bout between Spence and three-weight world titleholder Terence Crawford remains in the fantasy fight section. Promoters? Networks? Ego? Money? All of the above? Who cares? It’s boring and The Ring has to move on.
Our own championship policy stipulates the following: “If a fight between the No. 1 and 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.” All three members of the editorial board voted and all three agreed that Pacquiao-Spence qualifies.
“Like every serious fight fan, I’ve been looking forward to a Spence-Crawford showdown for years, but it’s looking less and less likely,” said The Ring’s Managing Editor, Tom Gray. “There’s the tendency for fans and media to attribute blame, but I honestly couldn’t care less at this point. They’re both great fighters in the same weight class and could have fought a trilogy by now.
“Pacquiao is an all-time great who has consistently faced the best in a multitude of divisions for two decades. Spence is one of the finest pound-for-pound fighters in the world today and his talents are beyond reproach. It’s an excellent fight that is eagerly anticipated the world over. May the best man win.”
If the 42-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 knockouts) were to pull off the upset, then it would be impossible to overstate the enormity of such a triumph. In the eight divisions in which the Filipino icon has claimed world titles, he has held three Ring Magazine championships (126, 130 and 140). A victory on August 21 would see Pacquiao become the first four-weight Ring Magazine champion in boxing history.
But does any fighter out there carry a more apt moniker than Spence? “The Truth” is unbeaten in 27 fights, with 21 knockouts, and is rated No. 6 on The Ring’s mythical pound-for-pound list. With impressive wins over Kell Brook, Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, the 31-year-old Texas star now seeks to prove that Manny Pacquiao is fresh out of miracles.