By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao impressed Leonard Ellerbe on Saturday night.
The Mayweather Promotions CEO told a group of reporters following Pacquiao’s split-decision win over Keith Thurman at MGM Grand Garden Arena that Pacquiao looked 30 years old, not 40. Pacquiao appeared, in Ellerbe’s estimation, as if he could compete with any welterweight in boxing.
Ellerbe believes Pacquiao’s performance stemmed from working “smarter, not harder” in training camp. That gave the aged legend extra time to rest and saved more of his energy for fight night.
That, according to Ellerbe, enabled the Filipino legend to fend off a grueling challenge from a younger, unbeaten Thurman when it mattered most. As good as Pacquiao looked in defeating the 30-year-old Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC), Ellerbe would advise against matching Pacquiao against the other undefeated 147-pound champion who’s part of adviser Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Ellerbe emphasized that Pacquiao won’t ask his opinion on whether he should face Errol Spence Jr., but the veteran promoter thinks it’s a bad idea. A Pacquiao-Spence fight will become a logical possibility for Pacquiao’s next fight if the favored Spence beats Shawn Porter in their welterweight title unification fight September 28 in Los Angeles.
“I wouldn’t do it,” said Ellerbe, whose company co-promoted the Pacquiao-Thurman card. “I’m just saying, if it was me – sometimes you can just push the envelope too far. Spence is a huge welterweight, who’s in his prime, different kind of skill set, can punch with either hand. But Manny Pacquiao’s the kind of dude, he want that work. You’ve got to reel him back. … I would say no, don’t do that. That’s me, because I care about the guy. That’s a rough fight.”
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) stands about four inches shorter than the 5-feet-10 Spence. The strong, skillful southpaw dominated a significantly smaller Mikey Garcia (39-1, 30 KOs) in his last fight, March 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The bout between the 29-year-old Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, and the 31-year-old Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs), of Akron, Ohio, was officially announced at a press conference Saturday at MGM Grand. They’ll fight for Spence’s IBF welterweight title and Porter’s WBC 147-pound crown in a 12-round FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event from Staples Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.