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Errol Spence Jr. 'grateful' eye injury caught before Manny Pacquiao fight

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 8/26/2021 Chelena Goldman, Yardbarker
Errol Spence wearing a suit and tie: Spence suffered a retinal detachment, and the welterweight champion said he's thankful the injury was caught when it was. © Image Press Agency Spence suffered a retinal detachment, and the welterweight champion said he's thankful the injury was caught when it was.

Errol Spence Jr. might have initially been disappointed an eye injury kept him from squaring off against Manny Pacquiao on August 21.

But in a recent interview with ESPN, the welterweight champion said he's thankful the injury was caught when it was.

"I'm grateful that I caught it," Spence said in his first public comments since having surgery. "It's a career-ending injury for a lot of other boxers."

Spence suffered a retinal detachment — a break in his left eye — while sparring in the weeks leading up to what would have been his fight against Pacquiao. The ESPN report explains a retinal detachment first affects a person's peripheral vision before impacting the center of the eye. In Spence's case, the injury was caught before the effects reached the center of his eye.

"If it gets to the center of your eye, it will get a lot worse," Spence relayed. "If you would have got hit or anything, it would have got way worse than what it is."

Although detached retinas are reportedly not uncommon in the boxing world, Spence's doctors believe the eye injury could have also stemmed from a near-fatal car accident that left him with multiple facial wounds. 

Spence is restricted from taking part in any strenuous activity while he recovers from the surgery, ESPN said.

"I can't do nothing but walk," Spence said. "I know I can't spar for probably like two months. But I'm optimistic about when I can start jogging. Hopefully, that will be (in the) next three weeks or so."

With Pacquiao losing that August 21 fight to Yordenis Ugas, there's speculation his boxing career is completely over and Spence's chance at fighting a legend is gone. At this point, however, Spence is happy he will be able to fight anyone again in the future.

"I'm just grateful it happened when it happened," he said. "I caught it sooner than later, and I have another chance at what I love doing."

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