Though Manny Pacquiao hasn’t determined what his future holds, the eight-division world champion realizes his 26-year skilled boxing profession may need ended Saturday evening with a disheartening loss.
Yordenis Ugás is simply seven years youthful than the Filipino senator, but he is simply getting began after seizing this unbelievable alternative to knock off one of many greats.
Ugás beat Pacquiao by unanimous choice in Las Vegas, placing on a powerful technical efficiency on 11 days’ discover and retaining his WBA welterweight title.
“He’s an amazing competitor, however I got here in right here to indicate I’m the champion of the WBA,” Ugás stated. “Numerous respect for him, however I gained this battle.”
Ugás (27-4) capitalized on this opportunity because the late harm alternative for Errol Spence Jr.. The Cuban veteran was barely higher than Pacquiao (67-8-2) all through probably the most irritating fights within the 42-year-old Filipino senator’s profession.
“I did my finest tonight, however my finest wasn’t adequate,” Pacquiao stated. “No excuses. I wished to battle for the title within the ring, and tonight the champion is known as Ugas.”
A visibly disenchanted Pacquiao stated he hasn’t determined whether or not he’ll battle once more after an unimpressive efficiency in his return from the longest layoff of his quarter-century within the sport. He additionally wouldn’t affirm whether or not he’ll enter the Philippines’ presidential race, as is broadly anticipated. He intends to make an announcement subsequent month.
“Sooner or later, you could not see Manny Pacquiao once more to battle within the ring,” Pacquiao stated. “I don’t know, however I’m so completely happy for what I’ve achieved.”
The 35-year-old Ugás threw roughly half as many punches as Pacquiao, however his blows have been extra exact and simpler. Pacquiao was the stable favourite earlier than the bout, however he struggled to get inside on Ugás’ efficient jab whereas Ugás landed his proper hand to growing impact within the later rounds.
Two judges scored it 116-112 for Ugás, and a 3rd had it 115-113. The Related Press additionally scored it 116-112 for Ugás.
Pacquiao additionally stated his legs have been cramping from the second spherical onward. He attributed the issue to a mixture of overtraining and age.
“I feel it was an excessive amount of arduous work,” Pacquiao stated. “However I am not younger anymore. So I do not know.”
The victory was the fruits of a prolonged journey for Ugás, who defected from Cuba two years after profitable a bronze medal within the Beijing Olympics. Ugás stop boxing for 2 years halfway via the final decade, however revitalized his profession after which capitalized on this golden likelihood by incomes his twelfth victory in his final 13 fights.
Ugás was within the highlight solely as a result of Spence was pressured to drop out final week after discovering he had a torn retina throughout a pre-fight bodily. Ugás had been booked for a bout on the undercard, however he jumped at the kind of showcase and payday that had been simply out of attain ever since he left Cuba on a small boat certain for Mexico 11 years in the past.
“I’m very excited, however most of all, I need to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this second on this ring at present,” Ugás stated via a translator. “We solely had two weeks of coaching, however I listened to my nook and all of it labored out.”
T-Cellular Area seemed to be primarily offered out regardless of the late opponent change, and the group of 17,438 was vocally behind its Filipino hero. Even after a prolonged layoff within the final phases of his profession, Pacquiao stays a surefire draw and a bankable star in a sport missing each at its highest ranges.
Ugás had a transparent sport plan on quick discover, working arduous within the early rounds with an efficient jab and physique photographs. Pacquiao was extra aggressive and infrequently bought the group to its toes with combos, however Ugás’ rangy jab stymied him.
Ugás’ confidence grew within the center rounds, and he responded to some motion on the seventh-round bell with a defiant shimmy-shake of his shoulders in Pacquiao’s course. Pacquiao continually threw extra punches than Ugás, however they landed about the identical quantity as Ugás confirmed off his protection and accuracy in opposition to Pacquiao’s exercise.
Pacquiao caught Ugás with a mixture within the Tenth spherical and knocked him again as the group rose in pleasure, however Ugás recovered and rallied with large photographs. Ugás additionally seemed sharp within the twelfth spherical, peppering Pacquiao all the best way to the ultimate bell.
Pacquiao had gained three straight bouts since July 2017, however he hadn’t fought since beating Keith Thurman in 2019 to win the WBA welterweight title.
That belt belonged to Ugás by the point Pacman returned: Whereas Pacquiao’s political profession and the pandemic stored him out of the ring in 2020, the WBA took away the belt and awarded it to Ugás, who had gained a distinct model of the belt within the WBA’s byzantine championship system.
The WBA’s choice irked Pacquiao, who held numerous welterweight belts for a decade after he first moved as much as 147 kilos in 2009 and stopped Miguel Cotto in arguably his single biggest efficiency.
On the undercard of Ugás’ victory at T-Cellular Area, Robert Guerrero returned from a 23-month ring absence with a unanimous choice over fellow veteran Victor Ortiz, profitable 96-94 on all three playing cards.
The 38-year-old Guerrero (37-6-1) had a robust second spherical and persevered with a excessive punch quantity to beat the 34-year-old Ortiz (32-7-3), who hadn’t fought in 42 months. Ortiz was charged with a number of counts of sexual assault in 2018, however the costs have been dismissed late final 12 months.
Filipino featherweight Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs) additionally preserved his unbeaten document with a dramatic Tenth-round knockout of Julio Ceja, who was forward on all three judges’ scorecards.