Eight-division boxing champ Manny Pacquiao is stepping back in the ring this summer to face Errol Spence, Jr. in a welterweight showdown on August 21 in Las Vegas, ESPN reported Saturday.
The 42-year-old legend - who is a senator and celebrity in the Philippines - will be fighting for the first time since he beat Keith Thurman in July 2019 to capture the WBA welterweight title.
On Friday, Pacquiao tweeted out a promotional poster captioned "Pacquiao v Spence, August 21, 2021, Las Vegas, Nevada." The fight, reports say, will air on PBC on FOX pay-per-view.
The Athletic, citing an unidentified source, reported that Pacquiao had signed a deal for a bout to be available on Fox PPV, and the MGM Grand is expected to be the venue.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) is considered by many to be a future Hall of Famer. He fought twice in 2019 but has not fought since. He is ranked No. 3 among welterweights on The Ring rankings.
Spence is currently viewed as the top fighter in the world at 147 pounds. Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) holds two of the four major belts in the 147-pound division and is ranked No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter by ESPN.
Some are worried about Pacquiao's safety, Combat Columnist Kevin Iole said. If this were the 31-year-old Pacquiao against the 31-year-old Spence, there would be no problem or reason to worry, he said.
"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," ESPN quoted Sean Gibbons, the president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, as saying.
Spence will undoubtedly be a big favorite when fight night comes. Doubting Pacquiao, though, almost always comes at a price, Iole said.
"He's not going to make a fool of himself fighting YouTubers or social media guys like Floyd Mayweather is... He's always fought the best, and he doesn't want to change now," Gibbons said.