Errol Spence Jr. 'grateful' to Have Caught Eye Injury Before Manny Pacquiao Fight

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 11: Errol Spence Jr takes the stage during a press conference with Manny Pacquiao at Fox Studios on July 11, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Their fight is scheduled on Aug. 21, 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

Errol Spence Jr. found the silver lining after having to withdraw from his fight against Manny Pacquiao.

The welterweight champion pulled out after discovering he had suffered a torn retina. He told ESPN's Mike Coppinger he was "grateful" to have identified the issue when he did because "it's a career-ending injury for a lot of other boxers."

"A lot of them don't get checked up," he said. "Even if this would have happened early in training camp I would have still tried to spar, and things like that. And it probably would have damaged it permanently."

Spence explained how he was in the middle of a sparring session when he first noticed something wrong with his eye. Despite that, he sparred again two days later.

Only during a medical checkup ahead of the Pacquiao fight did a doctor alert him as to the potential seriousness of the situation. An eye specialist looked at his left eye and told him, "You gotta get this fixed ASAP."

In addition to the money he lost out on because of his withdrawal, Spence likely missed out on what would've been a victory over a legend in the sport.

Yordenis Ugas, his replacement, scored a unanimous decision by winning 116-112, 115-113, 116-112 on the judges' scorecards. Pacquiao was some distance behind his opponent, landing 25.9 percent of his power punches compared to 59.1 percent for Ygas.

The same story presumably would've played out if Spence had been in the ring. With Pacquiao's future up in the air, that was probably his only chance to cross paths with the 42-year-old.