Manny Pacquiao is really in his best elements in the sport of professional boxing.
Just the other week, in his other significant hat as a Senator, Manny looked unsure or unprepared as he stood there vainly trying to satisfactorily answer questions from his fellow but decidedly more seasoned colleagues, Senators Pia Cayetano and Franklin Drilon regarding his pet bill calling for the establishment of a Philippine Commission for Boxing and Combat Sports.
Truth to tell, he was not a swell sight to look at, despite his dapper suit, particularly to a few sports scribes who are in attendance chiefly to cover how he would defend his sports related bill.
Sports media used to see a confident and very sure of himself Manny Pacquiao especially talking of his shall we say, main craft which is boxing.
However, Manny Pacquiao lately is back in his best elements.
And he didn’t have to mutter a word
It is enough for him to post on his Instagram a facsimile copy of a poster announcing an August 21, 2021 fight versus unified WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence in a TBA site and the boxing world is sent a buzzing.
Barely minutes after Manny’s Instagram post and Spence’s own official announcement via hastily assembled press briefings, the airwaves as well as cyberspace are already bursting with images and spoken words from people and personalities that matter: boxers, promoters, trainers and boxing experts, scribes and observers.
That announcement somewhat stole the thunder from the biggest fight on tap for that weekend: The much awaited Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez unification bout for all the major junior welterweight straps.
Even as the big boxing media jostled for post fight interviews with both the winner and the loser, questions also are invariably tossed around about the Pacquiao-Spence fight.
Some even wished Manny had not chosen to fight Spence and instead opted for the mercurial Brit, Taylor who has not hidden his supreme admiration of the fighting Filipino Senator and his desire to meet him atop the ring.
Without doubt, Manny’s tiff with Spence is apt to cast its shadow on other major bouts on the immediate horizon, including arch-rival Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s exhibition boxing bout in June against another non boxer Logan Paul, worst only a Youtube star boxing wannabe. Floyd must be feeling how Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin felt when he spoiled their anticipated first clash by a preemptive boxing bout against his first non boxer opponent, Conor McGregor who is at least an MMA superstar, back in 2017.
No gainsaying, Manny Pacquiao’s reputation very well precedes him.
And that lends mysteries to his comeback to the ring versus Spence this coming August 21, more than two years after his last bout versus then undefeated Keith “One Time” Thurman in July 2019.
First off, his signing to face Spence came as a surprise to many, shocking even to some.
People are still quizzical what goes on behind the scenes.
Many were unconvinced when Manny first accepted Errol’s personal challenge for a ring meeting two years ago after Errol had virtually manhandled then undefeated Mikey Garcia in a high profile IBF title defense, saying that he would even be willing to fight Manny in Manila.
Nothing came out of that. And fans even became more unconvinced when Errol said “The fight is entirely up to Manny” even as Errol also vainly tried to pursue a super fight versus Terence Crawford.
A Pacquiao-Spence was therefore farthest from the mind of most people. What goes down, really?
Another mystery that has yet to be unlocked is what sort of Manny Pacquiao will be coming out of his corner come August.
The Pacquiao that fought and defeated Lucas Matthyse, Adrian Broner and especially Thurman will be competitive to say the least against Spence who had mixed though still generally victorious results against Danny Garcia, Mikey and Shawn Porter
This is to say that a better vintage version of Manny would be more than a match for Errol come August.
This is the reason Floyd, Jr, Bob Arum, Tim Bradley, Robert Garcia for example, while tending to favor Errol are careful to spice their predictions with a caveat ala Tom Hank’s “life is a box of chocolates, you don’t know what you are getting.”
Indeed, Manny of today is an enigma that many boxing sages won’t be caught dead betting against. Again.