By: Sean Crose
“Ugas is a very good fighter,” Errol Spence said last year of Yordenis Ugas, “but nobody knows who he is.” As of Tuesday it looks as if that’s all about to change. For Spence himself is suddenly out of an August 21st mega-bout against the one and only Manny Pacquiao due to an injured retina. With just a handful of days before the scheduled throwdown, the 35-year-old Ugas has stepped in as Spence’s replacement. To call this the chance of a lifetime for the Cuban immigrant might be something of an understatement. Ugas was supposed to be on the undercard of the August 21st card. Now he’s one half of the main event.
The 26-4 Ugas has won all of his last twelve bouts except for one. And that one loss was questionable. For back in 2019, the 5’9 welterweight gave the popular and lauded Shawn Porter the fight of his life. He may have lost to Porter by a split decision, but there’s no doubt boxing aficionados took notice. They’ve continued to take notice since that time. In fact, he was seen as a potential opponent for Spence before the fight with Pacquiao was signed. Now it’s all up to Ugas to rise to the considerable challenge of facing one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of gloves.
The truth is, Spence was right when he said “Ugas is a very good fighter.” Not only has the man given Porter a run, he’s bested the likes of Omar Figueroa Jr and Abel Ramos. He’s going to have a height advantages of several inches when he squares off against Filipino icon Pacquiao. What’s more, Pacquiao hasn’t fought since he surprised Keith Thurman back in 2019. Then there’s the age factor. Now 42, it’s hard to imagine even an impressive Pacquiao being able to continue his run at the fight game much longer. As they say, in boxing, fighters get old overnight.
Still, this is Manny Pacquiao Ugas is going to face. Manny Pacquiao. The one and only. Pacquiao may have been training for the hard hitting Spence, but he and trainer Freddie Roach will quickly alter their plan in order to deal with the tools Ugas brings to the table. The question now looks to be whether or not Pacquiao will be able to get through Ugas’ long, effective jab in order to get in on his man. If he does it will be a long night for Ugas.
But if he can’t…
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