By: Sean Crose
Okay, so we’re not getting the dream bout we all wanted this weekend. It would have been completely different if Errol Spence didn’t have to drop out of his scheduled August 21st battle with the one and only Manny Pacquiao. Excitement would have been in the air. The internet would be on fire. Would the 42 year old Pacquiao actually be able to fight a younger, bigger, undefeated world champion arguably in his prime? It would have been something. Sadly, it was not to be.
But things aren’t as bad as they seem.
For Pacquiao’s replacement opponent, Yordenis Ugas, is a very good fighter. He was also training for another opponent when he got the chance to face Pacquiao, so he’s had plenty of time to get into fighting shape. In other words, although Pacquiao will clearly be walking into the ring as the favorite on Saturday night in Vegas, a win over Ugas is far from guaranteed. And, make no mistake about it, the talented Ugas knows this is the chance of a lifetime. A serious professional, the Cuban born Ugas is extremely skilled and knows how to do damage. He’s also, at thirty five, around seven years younger than the Filipino icon. Ugas will also answer the bell on Saturday with a three or four inch height advantage over Pacquiao. Such things can matter in the fight business. The fact that Ugas gave Shawn Porter an exceedingly close run for his money (some say Ugas should have won the decision that night) is also telling.
“It has been a champion year,” Ugas posted on social media Thursday, “always having to answer a question about this man. I’m happy to have my chance against him A legend that I respect a lot, but on Saturday when the fight starts, respect ends.”
Manny Pacquiao is a fighter like no other, however. He’s been a titlist in eight different weight divisions, has fought for over twenty five years as a pro, and bested the younger and very capable Keith Thurman in 2019. Pacquiao has not fought since then, so there’s questions as to whether or not age has caught up with the legendary boxer/senator. That’s something that fans, and Ugas, will have will to wait for the answer to.
“I’m anxious to get in the ring,” Pacquiao posted on social media Thursday. “Fighting is what I love to do and it’s going down Saturday night! “
Pacquiao-Ugas will air Saturday night on Fox Pay Per View.
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