It was firming up to be one of the most anticipated and intriguing fights of the year. WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (27-0) will NOT, however, be defending his title against Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2). A press release was sent out Tuesday afternoon which sent shock waves around the boxing world. Most of the reaction came in the form of disappointment, as this is yet another fight that has been either delayed or cancelled due to some medical or health issue.
In this case, Errol Spence Jr suffered what is being called a retinal tear in his left eye. The press release mentions that this injury was discovered during the pre-fight week medical screenings in Las Vegas. Instead of cancelling the whole card, WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas (26-4) will take the place of Spence against the Senator.
While I am no doctor and have never even dressed up like one for Halloween, I will say that a fighter suffering a significant injury to his or her eyes is a very serious thing. An immediate surgery will be performed back in Dallas for Spence and after that, a large and heavy question will be looming over his head. What is next? Or, should I say, what’s around the curve?
There are two ways that this plays out and they both do not include Manny Pacquiao. If Manny wins, he rides off into the sunset and runs for President in the Philippines. He vacates the title, and we see Abel Ramos fight Eimantas Stanionis for the vacant WBA title.
An Ugas win means we get the Spence fight in the summer of '22. If Spence is not ready by then, we get Thurman vs Ugas in the spring. If Thurman wins, that sets up the over-marinated Spence vs Thurman unification fight. In the end, this development delays any thought or possibility of a Spence vs Crawford fight.
My Three Cents: An eye injury being revealed less than two weeks before his mega fight with Pacman, leaving Errol Spence once again in a medical limbo, that is a crushing blow to his career. The Manny Pacquiao train may be leave the station for good, that opportunity may not come up again. The only hope for a legacy fight and payday would be against Crawford. But the way things are looking, it doesn’t appear that it will happen anytime soon. Will those two meet at 154 in the future? That is a very good possibility but by then, the fight would have already lost a lot of its luster.
With the recent postponements and cancellations of big fights, one can only hope that it stops there, and we can get these fights to get scheduled and actually take place during the rest of the year. Stay tuned for a full version of “Around the Curve” coming soon, when we take a peek to see what the rest of 2021 will look like.