by Nick Giongco
DALLAS — Manny Pacquiao is itching to get his hands on Errol Spence and put him where he rightfully belongs.
As he took the elevator Sunday afternoon down the lobby of the Renaissance Dallas Hotel to catch a flight to Los Angeles, Pacquiao suddenly assumed a fighting pose then threw a four-punch combination whose delivery oozed with bad intentions.
It was obvious that when Pacquiao unleashed that fast and furious fusion of blows, he envisioned Spence standing just inches away from him, also eager also to engage.
On Saturday night atop the ring at AT&T Stadium in neighboring Arlington, Spence made it clear who he wants next: Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, who didn’t mince words in saying that he’d welcome facing Spence, feels the US fighter is not as ferocious as everyone seems to believe.
“Hindi naman masyado malakas (He doesn’t really hit that hard),” said Pacquiao, who was at ringside when Spence mauled a punching bag named Mikey Garcia.
In fact, Pacquiao was not awed and convinced that Spence is really that good that the 40-year-old eight-division champion likens him to a fighter he once bludgeoned to a pulp 18 years ago.
“Parang si Ledwaba (He is like Ledwaba),” said Pacquiao, pointing to Lehlo Ledwaba the South African stylist who he soundly beat in his US debut in June 2001.
Despite the excitement, Pacquiao insists that nothing is yet cast in stone.
“I have to talk to A Haymon first,” he said.
Haymon, who heads Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), calls the shots in staging the fights of Pacquiao, Spence and the other marquee names in the powerhouse 147-lb division.
Regardless of who it is going to be, Pacquiao has made it known that July is his preferred date.
“I want it in July so that my work at the Senate won’t be affected,” said Pacquiao.
The Senate is on a long break and sessions will resume only after the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte in the third week of July.
With the Senate in recess, Pacquiao feels he will have enough time to train hard for Spence or whoever is placed in front of him.
During the post-fight press conference late Saturday night, Spence was told about Pacquiao’s wish to fight again in July.
“I can fight in July,” said the unbeaten Spence, stressing that July is perfectly fine for him as well.
The ball is now in Haymon’s hands.