By: Hans Themistode
On its face, everything appeared to be the same.
Despite the birth certificate of Manny Pacquiao collecting considerable more dust, the 42-year-old seemed to be in terrific shape. The hard work that the former eight-division world champion endured during a long and arduous training camp, was evident the moment he removed his shirt during Friday’s weigh-ins.
With a chiseled physique and all of the confidence in the world, Pacquiao appeared certain that he would dethrone Yordenis Ugas and reclaim his WBA welterweight title. However, as their showdown was underway, things never went the way Pacquiao envisioned it.
The future first-ballot Hall of Famer struggled with the persistent jab of Ugas, as well as his inside work. Through 12 rounds, Pacquiao stood stoically as all three judges scoring their contest from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, gave the edge to the 35-year-old Cuban.
Immediately following his defeat, Pacquiao reluctantly answered when asked what exactly went wrong. While he did his best not to take away from the victory of Ugas, Pacquiao also offered insight to an injury that prohibited him from taking charge in the ring.
“I’m not saying this is my excuse but my two legs were cramping,” said Pacquiao. “That’s why I cannot move around.”
If Pacquiao was, in fact, hampered, Ugas took full advantage. The former Olympic bronze medalist applied constant pressure throughout but remained disciplined behind the jab. Although Pacquiao attempted to make up for his lack of movement with high volume, throwing more than double the number of punches of his opponent, 815-405, Ugas traded in a high work rate for efficiency.
The Cuban product was more effective in every department. He landed 21.4% of his jabs as compared to the 8.8% of Pacquiao. He also had the edge in power punches. Not only did he outland Pacquiao 101-88, but his percentages in that area far overshadowed that of Pacquiao, 59.1% to 25.9%.
Regardless of Pacquiao pointing a blaming finger in the direction of what he describes as “cramps” he appeared cautious of how he came across.
As the Filipino senator paused to find his words, he seemingly flashed back to the days when issues such as cramps, were nonexistent. With the curtain call on his career possibly upon us, Pacquiao juxtaposed what would have happened if this fight took place approximately a decade ago.
“In my early days, I can easily move and outbox him. This time around, it’s like my two legs were tight and hurting me in the second round until the 12th round. I’m not making excuses but that’s the reason why I can’t move.”
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