Bernard Hopkins is torn over who he thinks will win the fight between WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr 27-0 (21) and Manny Pacquiao at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 21.
The retired Hopkins became the oldest world champion of all time at the age of 46 before unifying the WBA and IBF light heavyweight championships at 48.
Filipino superstar Pacquiao, 42, has shown a similar ability to Hopkins to carry his form into his late career, scoring a split decision victory over previously undefeated American Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman 29-1 (22) to claim the WBA 147-pound title in his last bout two years ago.
“The advantage mentally goes to Pacquiao,” Hopkins said to KO Artist Sports. “We all know as far as the experience goes, that along with a burst of youthful energy, that we’ve seen in history in fights where guys we knew were dangerous but we didn’t know he was gonna show up that good.
“That’s the type of feeling I get when I hear about this fight. There are fighters who’ve been around as long as Manny who’ve seen every style and have been in every hostile situation.”
According to Hopkins, the winner of the all-southpaw battle will be determined by how well Spence uses his right jab and how well Pacquiao uses his legs.
“The jab is important and Spence has to control the jab,” he said. “Because that jab disturbs you, it messes up the rhythm for the fighter to go.
“Pacquiao’s been great [with his quick movement] for 15 years and he’ll beat you with his legs first into submission and after that he hits you.”
Spence has had to overcome his own adversity in recent years.
The 31-year-old Texan was coming off a split decision win over Shawn Porter in September 2019 when he rolled his Ferrari at high speed and was ejected from the vehicle, spending months recovering from his injuries.
Hopkins believes Spence’s near-death experience has given him a different level of focus and will drive him on to succeed against Pacquiao.
“I respect Pacquiao for taking the challenge he’s taking,” the former undisputed middleweight champion said in a separate interview with FightHypeTV.
“He’s going to be a problem for any fighter because of his ability and his experience and his longevity of health. That’s key… but Errol Spence will be victorious.
“I believe that Errol Spence is fighting on a different level of mentality — a second chance in life. I’m pretty sure that he understands that every chance that he gets to reflect every day — boxing or non-boxing — and he will have that terrible accident that he can look at any time to know he came from that and then go into the ring and fight somebody that says they’re going to do something to you?”