By: Sean Crose
Perhaps it was age. Perhaps it was a bigger, stronger opponent. Perhaps it was just that time. Whatever the reason may have been, few would argue that Manny Pacquiao didn’t clearly lose his 12 round bout to Yordenis Ugas on Saturday night in Las Vegas. By the end of the fight, the man clearly looked beat up. Pacquiao was supposed to have faced welterweight kingpin Errol Spence this weekend. I’m glad he didn’t. It just didn’t look like the old Pacquiao on Saturday. I simply get the feeling that Spence, who had to pull out of the fight due to an injured eye, would have taken Pacquiao out in grand fashion.
Pacquiao didn’t say he would retire when interviewed immediately after the bout, and perhaps he shouldn’t. He’s in dangerous waters now, though. He’s pushing his mid forties. What’s more, he didn’t move his head on Saturday. He still had his speed, but he was getting hit by Ugas – a lot. Clearly this had something to do with Ugas’ advantages in the height and power department. Still, it’s hard not to think back to what Pacquiao once did to the bigger and arguably stronger Antonio Margarito many moons ago. The Manny Pacquiao who fought Saturday night was clearly not the same man who bested Margarito back in 2010.
How could he be, though? The Margarito fight was nearly a full eleven years ago. Times change. The body changes. Things simply don’t remain stagnant. It’s easy to forget about such things when remembering Pacquiao’s impressive victory over Keith Thurman two summers ago. People essentially expected the result of that fight to be the same as tonight’s – a Pacquiao loss. The old man turned back time against Thurman, however, leaving many of us to wonder if he could do it again. We all got the answer loud and clear on Saturday.
This isn’t to take anything away from Ugas, of course. An aging Manny Pacquiao is still head and shoulders above 95% of the fighters out there. Ugas, no doubt, put on a brilliant performance. One the likes of Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, and others might want to study before getting into the ring with the man. Make no mistake about it, Saturday was Ugas’ night. It’s hard not to feel bad about Pacquiao losing, though, even though he did lose fair and square.
For, when someone defies the odds for as long as Pacquiao has, it inspires the rest of us. When someone is no longer able to defy the odds, it lets the rest of us know that even the best physiques and mindsets in the world can’t climb to the summit perpetually.
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