After surviving the threat of COVID-19 and the threat of a legal injunction, the Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence pay-per-view (PPV) fight scheduled for Aug. 21, 2021, is off. The reason? Pre-fight medical examinations discovered Spence had a retinal tear in his left eye that will require surgery to fix (details here).
It’s another big blow to boxing, which has had a hard time getting its big fights across the finish line during the pandemic. Spence — the WBC and IBF Welterweight champ — will be replaced by WBA welterweight champ Yordenis Ugas for the same date.
We have no doubt that Spence will be looking to get back into the ring as soon as possible. His last fight earned him a career high $8 million and he was set to make more than $10 million off the Pacquiao fight. So there’s millions of reasons for him to hurry up and get back in there while he’s still a hot commodity.
But, there’s one very good reason not to, as former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping shared on Twitter recently:
He has to listen to the doctors 100 percent for a full recovery. I pushed too hard to soon and lost the vision completely. https://t.co/NSEqCrQ9sW— michael (@bisping) August 11, 2021
“He has to listen to the doctors 100 percent for a full recovery,” Bisping wrote. “I pushed too hard too soon and lost the vision completely.”
For those who are unaware, Bisping is blind in one eye. The trouble started after he suffered a detached retina in his fight against Vitor Belfort in Jan. 2013. Just three months later, he was back in the cage against Alan Belcher. He won the fight, but eventually lost the vision in his left eye completely and secretly fought with a glass eye for years.
Michael Bisping is a legend. pic.twitter.com/fg1TG4SwnO— Borrachinha Depot (@FullContactMTWF) October 3, 2019
Back-to-back losses to Georges St-Pierre and Kelvin Gastelum in Nov. 2017 (yes, two fights in 21 days) almost cost him the sight in his other eye.
“I fight Georges St-Pierre, I lose that fight, and he knew I was blind in one eye – he targeted it,” Michael Bisping said in an interview with Submission Radio. “Then I fly to Shanghai a couple of weeks later to fight Kelvin Gastelum. I get cracked, I think I’ve had a good run and that was that. And then we go to an after-party afterward. I’m sitting there in this club, and every time I look this way, I get a flash of light. I was like, what was that?
“So I look again, another flash of light,” Bisping continued. “And every time I look to the left, I would get a flash of light. I started panicking because I’m thinking, holy s—t, I don’t believe this, I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye. And I started getting emotional, in a night club. I’ve had a couple of drinks, but I’m like, f—k, I’m thinking I’m gonna go blind.
“I see this doctor and I say, Listen, doc, I think I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye,” Bisping concluded. “And he said, ‘Alright, well, let’s take a look, I’m going put some drops in you’re not going be able to see for a while.’ I make a joke, I say, ‘Oh well, I guess I better get used to this view, eh?’ He says, ‘Calm down, we’re not there just yet.’ I was like, ‘We’re not fucking there just yet? Jesus Christ.’ I was freaking out. And anyway, turns out I had a vitreous detachment.”
So a good cautionary tale for Spence to take the time he needs to heal properly, no matter how much money they offer him to return sooner rather than later.