By: Sean Crose
Keith Thurman recently weighed in on that leaked sparring video featuring Errol Spence that’s been making the rounds. Although he didn’t think Spence looked his best in there with a sparring partner who was landing effectively, Thurman also made it clear that all is not always as it seams. “The only thing about the ‘leaked’ sparring is we don’t know what that day was like for Errol,” Thurman said. “We don’t know if he did bag work before that round, we don’t know if there was another sparring partner before that sparring partner….there’s so much we don’t know for the ‘leaked’ information.”
Those, frankly, are important words to keep in mind. A sparring partner landing on Errol Spence is not necessarily the same as Mike Tyson being dropped in training before his disastrous fight with Buster Douglas over thirty years ago. Sparring, after all, is part of training, and training is all about preparation. Spence is in the process of preparing to face the legendary Manny Pacquiao on the 31st of this month. And the last time the world saw Pacquiao, he still looked like some kind of fighter. Why would Spence bring in punching bags to spar with when he’s going to face the likes of the Filipino legend? Any professional worth his or her weight in salt WANTS a sparring partner whose up to par.
This whole affair unfortunately represents the decline in loyalty among fighters and their camps. Conor McGregor famously released clips of himself and Paulie Malignaggi sparring. Other fighters of note have boasted of videos showing themselves beating down sparring partners. Charming. A training camp should be a safe place for a fighter to work without fear of being exposed or humiliated. It should not be a place where opportunists ply their trade at the expense of professional athletes in an exceedingly dangerous sport.
With all that in mind, it’s doubtful Freddie Roach, Buboy Fernandez, or anyone on Pacquiao’s team – much less Pacquiao himself – will make too big a deal of the video, either inside or outside of camp. Like Thurman said, one never knows the story behind the story. And these guys have been around long enough not to take such things too seriously. To do so would be to do a poor job. There’s a whole lot more to a training regimen than a few seconds caught on video, after all.