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The Advantage of Being Lesser-Known, and “What Now, Pacquiao?”

By: Charles Jay

This is what Yordenis Ugas tweeted the other day:

“All the comments that I read that it was very slow for Pacquiao and they were going to destroy me. Where are they?? I took the biggest fight of my life 10 days in advance. And thank God I had the biggest victory of my career against a future Hall of Fame.”

Well, I have some thoughts on that, and there are some other smart folks around boxing who feel the same way:

I’m sure that Ugas has spent quite a bit of time over the last few years thinking about how he would fight Pacquiao. That’s often the case when there’s a guy out there who’s a rock star, and against whom you could conceivably pick up your biggest career payday.

And I bet Pacquiao spent all of ten days or so thinking seriously about how to fight Ugas. 

Now, it would be one thing if you’re just digging some opponent out of the lower rungs of the top ten or 12 or 15. This was someone with ability, and in fact a “super” champion as designated by the WBA. Not only that, but he was training for his own tile fight on the undercard, so he was in top shape. And if an opponent like that is pretty good, and you are 42 and haven’t fought in two years, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to deal with him on short notice.

So IMHO the guy who is lesser-known can extract something of an advantage in this situation – again, if he has enough talent to pull it off. 

Anyway, that’s my theory. 

And congratulations to all of you who took the underdog price. 

So what else?

Should the fight date have been moved back? 

I believe so. I’m not talking about three, four, five months. I’m talking about a month or two. Just enough time for Pacquiao to put together more of a game plan. Not to say that it would have made all the difference in the fight, because it would have given Ugas extra time as well. 

In communicating with Sean Gibbons, the president of Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, Manny had to fight and was “comfortable” with Ugas as the opponent, even with short notice.

But there is another angle to look at here. Errol Spence wasn’t necessarily a household word for the casual boxing fan, but Ugas had much less in the way of name recognition. If you’re promoting a fight like this and you’re asking the boutique price of $74.99 on the pay-per-view, the most judicious course of action would be to take some extra time to “sell” the new opponent. 

This promotion was under the auspices of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), as well as Fox Sports. But Pacquiao, by way of the aforementioned MP Promotions, had substantial “back-end” interests just as he did when dealing with Top Rank. So in effect, he’s a co-promoter, as well as the star of the show. 

So he had enough leverage to do it. As a businessman, I’m thinking he may well have left quite a bit of money on the table. 

I’d be interested in seeing a reliably-sourced tally on the pay-per-view take on this fight. 

Will Ugas become boxing’s next “superstar”?

I doubt that. It didn’t work out that way for some of the previous people who beat Pacquiao. Timothy Bradley, who won by a disputed decision the first time around, got two more bouts with Pacquiao and beat Juan Manuel Marquez, but did he become a major draw on his own? Jeff Horn obviously attained lofty status in his homeland of Australia, but on the world stage he sort of came and went, losing to Terence Crawford, Michael Zerafa, and then Tim Tszyu. 

The likelihood is that this win earned Ugas another nice payday, maybe two, but he’ll have to register more victories over recognizable opposition. 

Should Manny Pacquiao retire?

Whether Pacquiao should retire or not is a decision that is entirely up to Pacquiao. His status dictates it. He has put in enough time, generated enough revenue and achieved enough in the way of accomplishment to make that call independently of anyone’s opinion. 

There are so many cries from the media about the need for Pacquaio to hang up the gloves. I don’t know if these people consider themselves the guardians of his “legacy” or not, but it kind of looks like it. He doesn’t need any strategic career advice.

And if it’s a matter of people who are “looking out for his health,” I think Manny Pacquiao is plenty equipped to look after himself. 

I kind of chortle when I see writers droning on and on about how they don’t want to see a famous and /or legendary fighter take too much punishment. Yet they’ll slobber over every would-be contender who is moving up the ranks, seemingly without any awareness that the opponent-types he’s rolled over earlier in his career have probably been taking unnecessary punches for years. 

I don’t notice the concern for the health of THOSE guys. It’s funny the way that works. 

WILL Manny Pacquiao retire?

Those of you who have been around long enough to remember Flash Gordon, a cult figure who published an “insider” newsletter years ago, know that he always referred to someone announcing he’s hanging ’em up as “retired…. until their next fight.”

That’s been a custom in boxing. So excuse me for applying my own rule – that until about five years pass, I remain skeptical. 

Maybe there’s something with big money attached to it that pulls him back. An exhibition with Floyd Mayweather? A fight against an MMA competitor; if not Conor McGregor, then someone else? Who knows. Running for president of the Philippines – as appears to be the running story – requires bankroll. So he can flip on the switch and create some kind of money-maker. 

Who knows.

If and when that happens, those who would urge him to quit for good can just boycott it, right?

Somehow, I don’t think that would be the case.

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