Manny Pacquiao loses to Yordenis Ugás by unanimous decision in WBA welterweight title fight – World


Although Manny Pacquiao has yet to decide on his future, the eight-division world champion realizes his 26-year career in professional boxing could have ended in a disheartening loss on Saturday night.

Yordenis Ugás is only seven years younger than the Filipino senator, but he’s only just getting started after seizing this unlikely opportunity to topple one of the greats.

Ugás defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision in Las Vegas, putting in an impressive technical performance on 11 days’ notice and retaining his World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title.

“He’s a great competitor, but I came here to show that I’m the WBA champion,” Ugás said. “A lot of respect for him, but I won this fight.”

Ugás (27-4) took advantage of the chance by late replacing Errol Spence Jr. The Cuban veteran was slightly better than Pacquiao (67-8-2) in one of the 42-year-old Filipino’s most frustrating fights. career as a senator.

“I did my best tonight, but my best wasn’t good enough,” Pacquiao said. “No excuses. I wanted to fight for the title in the ring, and tonight the champion is called Ugas.

A visibly disappointed Pacquiao said he hadn’t decided whether he would fight again after an unimpressive performance on his return from the longest layoff in his quarter-century in the sport.

He has also not confirmed whether he will compete in the Philippine presidential race, as is widely expected. He plans to make an announcement next month.

“In the future, you may not see Manny Pacquiao again to fight in the ring,” said Pacquiao. “I don’t know, but I’m so happy with what I’ve accomplished.”

Ugás, 35, threw about half the punches as Pacquiao, but his punches were more precise and efficient. Pacquiao was the big favorite before the fight, but struggled to get in on Ugás’ efficient jab as Ugás landed his right hand with increasing effect in the following rounds.

Two judges scored it 116-112 for Ugás, and a third scored it 115-113. The Associated press also scored 116-112 for Ugás.

Pacquiao also said his legs were cramping from the second round. He attributed the problem to a combination of overtraining and age.

“I think it was too much work,” Pacquiao said. “But I am no longer young. So I do not know.

The victory was the culmination of a long journey for Ugás, who defected from Cuba two years after winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics. Ugás quit boxing for two years in the middle of the last decade, but revitalized his career and then capitalized on this golden opportunity by securing his 12th victory in his last 13 fights.

Ugás was only in the limelight because Spence was forced to drop out last week after discovering his retina was torn during a pre-fight physical exam. Ugás had been booked for a fight on the undercard, but he jumped on the kind of showcase and paycheck that had been just out of reach since he left Cuba on a small boat bound for Mexico 11 years ago. .

“I’m very excited, but most of all I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in this ring today,” Ugás said through a translator. “We only had two weeks of training, but I listened to my corner and everything went well.”

The T-Mobile Arena appeared to be sold out despite the late opponent change, and the crowd of 17,438 was vocally behind its Filipino hero. Even after a long layoff in the later stages of his career, Pacquiao remains a sure-fire draw and a bankable star in a sport that is lacking both at its highest levels.

Ugás had a clear game plan on short notice, working hard in the opening laps with an efficient jab and body shots. Pacquiao was more aggressive and sometimes lifted the crowd with combinations, but Ugás’ lanky jab thwarted him.

Ugás’ confidence grew in the middle of the laps, and he responded to a seventh-round bell action with a provocative movement of his shoulders in the direction of Pacquiao. Pacquiao consistently threw more punches than Ugás, but they landed about the same number that Ugás showed his defense and accuracy against Pacquiao’s activity.

Pacquiao caught Ugás with a combination in the 10th round and pushed him back as the crowd grew in excitement, but Ugás recovered and rallied with some big shots. Ugás also looked sharp in the 12th round, lacing Pacquiao until the final bell.

Pacquiao had won three consecutive fights since July 2017, but he hadn’t fought since defeating Keith Thurman in 2019 to win the WBA welterweight title.

This belt belonged to Ugás at the time of Pacman’s return: While Pacquiao’s political career and the pandemic kept him out of the ring in 2020, the WBA removed the belt and awarded it to Ugás, who had won a different version of the belt in the Byzantine championship system of the WBA.

The WBA decision upset Pacquiao, who held various welterweight belts for a decade after first hitting 147 pounds in 2009 and stopping Miguel Cotto in arguably his greatest performance.

On the undercard to Ugás’ victory at T-Mobile Arena, Robert Guerrero returned from a 23-month absence in the ring with a unanimous decision over fellow veteran Victor Ortiz, winning 96-94 on all three cards.

Guerrero, 38 (37-6-1) put in a solid second round and persevered with high punching volume to beat Ortiz, 34 (32-7-3), who hadn’t fought for 42 years. month. Ortiz was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault in 2018, but the charges were dismissed late last year.

Filipino featherweight Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs) also kept his unbeaten position with a spectacular 10th round knockout of Julio Ceja, who was leading on the three judges’ scorecards.

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