MANNY PACQUIAO has been backed by one of his coaches to ‘obliterate’ Errol Spence Jr, who is ‘not the same guy’ after his car crash.
Spence escaped death in October 2019 when his Ferrari flipped following a horror high-speed collision.
Amazingly, the WBC and IBF welterweight champion returned to the ring in December, beating Danny Garcia on points over 12-rounds.
Afterwards he called out Pacquiao, but the Filipino icon’s strength and conditioning trainer Justin Fortune thinks it was ill-advised.
Fortune told SunSport: “Spence is a great fighter and a good champion, but he’s not the same guy than he was before, not at all.
“We saw that when he fought Danny Garcia. Everyone raves about how hard Spence punches, well Danny Garcia came through 12 rounds.
“Danny Garcia also never pulled the trigger that night, or else Danny would probably have beaten him, I think.
“You put Spence in there with someone like Pacquiao now, Pacquiao obliterates him, even a 42-years-old.
“He’s still the No1 guy and he has been or the champion for the last 18-years, that in itself is a phenomenal f***ing feat as an athlete in sport.”
Spence, 30, was hospitalised and suffered swollen bruises to his face, but escaped any lasting injuries as a result of the near-miss.
He was hit with a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and claimed the accident gave him a new lease on life, to focus only on his boxing career.
After a near-flawless victory over Garcia, 32, on the cards, where he kept his unified crown, Spence set his sights on PacMan and Terence Crawford.
But Fortune – an ex-heavyweight contender who lost to Lennox Lewis in 1995 – is adamant the 27-0 Texan looked a shadow of himself.
And he advised the unbeaten American to ease his way back into the big time, believing his car crash ordeal will soon catch up on him physically.
Fortune said: “You’d want to give Spence two or three fights to get his s*** back together, that’s for sure.
“Manny’s too fast and too strong, he uses too many angles.
“We don’t know how Spence will pull through, his comeback fight with Danny Garcia wasn’t impressive, at all.
“I’m so glad he survived the crash, but that does a lot of damage to your head and body.
“He came out of a Lamborghini or whatever it was at 120mph, thank god he’s not dead, but the ligament damage, hand damage it’s long-term, it doesn’t go away overnight.”
Pacquiao is yet to return since he beat Keith Thurman for the WBA title in July 2019.
His inactivity even saw him stripped of the belt, with Cuban Yordenis Ugas, 34, elevated to champion.
Pacquiao is targeting a comeback for April or May, before a swift turnaround to fight again in September.
It would allow him to make a run in the 2022 Philippine Presidential election, which concludes in May next year.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor, 32, was in line to face PacMan after his return to the octagon.
But following Dustin Poirier’s shock KO win at UFC 257 in January, the Irishman is instead focusing on the immediate rematch.
Talks then moved to 22-year-old lightweight sensation Ryan Garcia, but Fortune – who owns his own gym in California – revealed the discussions were short-lived.
He said: “It came up fast and left just as fast.
“Nothing on Ryan Garica, but this is Pacquiao, and Ryan Garcia’s had a handful of fights.
“Pacquiao obliterates the guy. It took some balls for Ryan to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight him’.
“Losing to Manny Pacquiao is no cross on your career, either.”