Spence’s Viral Sparring Partner Macalolooy Returns On March 16

You have seen Jacob Macalolooy, you just probably didn’t know it. 

Macalolooy will return to action on March 16 at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, California as part of a Westside Promotions card.  

The viral sensation was all over the internet when he helped Errol Spence Jr. prep for Manny Pacquiao. Macalolooy was the man in the famous video who gave Spence honest work before Spence had an eye injury that forced him out of the aforementioned Pacquiao contest. 

World champions proclaimed him as a phenom without knowing his name and that was was all before he had his first pro-fight.

Macalolooy showed the poster of Spence and Crawford and explained why it meant so much to him.

“This poster means so much to me, because I have gotten to spar both of them, and they are two of the best welterweights in my weight class – both times I was brought in to mimic Manny Pacquiao,” said Macalolooy, fondly. “The joke was I was sort of a trader to the Filipinos to help them beat Manny.

“I was only with Crawford for two weeks before his fight fell through, but I was out in Dallas for seven weeks with Spence. I logged 84 rounds with Spence. To be able to say I sparred with both of those guys and got that work and felt I could hang with them, it makes that poster that much more special.”

Macalolooy went to Columbia University, an Ivy-league school for wrestling and in the same class as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It is different from what one usually sees on the CV of a professional boxer. 

The 28-year-old southpaw welterweight is 8-0, with 5 KOs.

“I grew up doing martial arts and wrestling, and I never had any aspirations to wrestle in college until my junior year and getting those college offers. Then I ended up committing to wrestle for Columbia University.

“When I went to college, I knew the Olympics was already out of the cards for me. I was in college at Columbia watching the Rio Olympics and I got that itch. If I am not quite at that level for wrestling, I think these boxers could come catch these hands.”

So why not MMA if he could do both?

His goal was to graduate in 2018, then qualify for the 2020 Olympics for the US but the plan got derailed. He ended up finding a home in The Arena, a gym in San Diego, California. Originally he sought the gym out for MMA purposes, but Macalolooy found himself enamored by the boxers and teachings of Basheer Abdullah.

“I moved out of New York in 2018,” Macalolooy added. “I came home for the summer, and then by August I moved to San Diego, which had always been my plan to start my fighting career down in San Diego. My uncle was a professional fighter who fought out of San Diego.

“I started out doing MMA. I slowly started creeping my way over to the boxing side of the gym. I knew coach Basheer Abdullah, former head coach for Team USA. He coached Andre Ward in his Olympic gold medal match, and I started getting in his ear. Coach loves to tell the story that he thought I was just some MMA guy and didn’t have the skills, but eventually he let me spar with some of his guys and he saw something in me, and he was like, ‘Okay, maybe I can work with that’.”

Macalolooy is from a fighting family. His grandfather was a boxer in the Philippines. His father started his gym in his grandparents garage in 1997. 

“There’s tons of talented people out there that just don’t grow up with the same privilege, honestly,” he concluded. “I can’t say I grew up super privileged, but I did have parents who provided for me, and a whole community that built me up into the person I am today.”