LOS ANGELES — Manny Pacquiao has been a professional boxer since 1995, fighting in 71 bouts over 486 rounds. Do the math, and that’s over 24 hours of prizefighting under his belt.

Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) last fought in July 2019 when he scored a split decision win over Keith Thurman. 

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 scrapped the opportunity for Pacquiao to stage big-time fights in 2020.

After considering fights with Terence Crawfrod, Conor McGregor, Mikey Garcia and Ryan Garcia, Pacquiao ultimately awarded Errol Spence Jr. with the opportunity to face him. 

The all-time Filipino great will meet the WBC and IBF welterweight champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 21 in a FOX Sports pay-per-view. 

Pacquiao said the 25-month break was a big boon for his 42-year-old body. 

“It's good for me because I've been boxing since I was 12 years old without a break. It just happened to be a pandemic, and I had a chance to have a break,” he said. “This [fight against Spence] is not about to prove [anything]. I've already proved my abilities in boxing. Boxing is my passion. I love to fight and entertain people.”

When the Filipino senator was asked if he plans to beat Spence, retire and run for president of the Philippines, he laughed and asked, “how did you know?”

After a few more moments to think about his future, he said, "it's hard to say if this could be my final fight. It could be. One at a time, right now.”

Since the Thurman fight, Pacquiao said he hasn’t entered a boxing ring to train until this camp. 

“I love to workout,” he said. “I always exercised by playing basketball. I have a basketball court in my house. We had very competitive and hard games between my brothers. We played everyday like three-to-four hours a day … The secret is discipline and hard work. Boxing is not only training.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com