And the waiting game is over.
Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao will be facing unified WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21.
Pacquiao finally settled for his next opponent after months of speculations and back-and-forth negotiations, revealing the development in captionless social media posts Saturday morning, May 22.
No details were disclosed much aside from the inclusion of Fox Sports and Premier Boxing Champions in the poster, which were most likely the partner network and promotion for the mega-bout.
“Many people believe Spence is the best welterweight in the world and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and Pacquiao has never shied away from fighting real fights,” Sean Gibbons, president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, told Ben Baby of ESPN.
“He’s not going to make a fool of himself fighting YouTubers or social media guys like Floyd Mayweather is, and he wants to continue his legacy. He’s always fought the best, and he doesn’t want to change now.”
Prior to the announcement, ESPN Knockout first floated the news that July was the target month for the Pacquiao-Spence bout in a pay-per-view event.
This as negotiations between Pacquiao’s camp and WBO welterweight king Terence Crawford went into naught due to funding woes by Abu Dhabi.
Count Crawford and Mikey Garcia out of the picture as Pacquiao prepares for his much-awaited comeback in the boxing ring.
Pacquiao, 42, has not fought since scoring a split decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019 to improve at 62-7-2 record on top of 39 knockouts.
But due to inactivity, Pacquiao, the only eight-division world boxing champion, got stripped of his super WBA welterweight belt and was declared “champion in recess” in the process.
“I love to challenge the top guy,” Pacquiao told Lance Pugmire of The Athletic, hinting that the fight against Spence “might be” his last.
MGM Grand is the expected venue per a source of The Athletic but the Filipino fighting senator hopes that the bout will take place at the Allegiant Stadium, the 70,000-seat of the NFL’s Vegas Raiders.
Per reports, this will be the third time that Pacquiao will fight under PBC as Gibbons and lawyer Tom Falgui joined forces to close the deal at around 4 a.m.
The first one was against Adrien Broner in January 2019, where he won via unanimous decision, and the second versus Thurman. Both took place at the MGM Grand.
The 31-year-old Spence, for his part, remained unbeaten in 27 matches with 21 KOs with the latest coming from a unanimous decision win over Danny Garcia in December last year.
Taking it to Instagram, Spence is considering the bout a “done deal.”
“[S]ee y’all in Vegas for the biggest fight of the year,” wrote the undefeated welterweight champion.