Pacquiao wary of history


MANNY PACQUIAO had been into two humps leading to his fight against Yordenis Ugás on Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Not of his own making.

First, his US-bound plane made a medical emergency landing in Tokyo then flew back to Manila for refueling and routine checkup.  But although it took Pacquiao nearly 30 grueling hours to reach Los Angeles, he immediately went to work the following day after arrival.

“There’s a job to do,” Pacquiao told Freddie Roach, his Hall of Fame trainer, lacing up his sneakers for the morning jog at Griffith Park.

Second, Pacquiao’s original foe, Errol Spence Jr., backed out after suffering a torn retina just 10 days before the fight.

Although a quick replacement was found in Ugás, who was in shape anyways as he was set to see action in the bout’s undercard, Pacquiao still faced a problem: his new foe is orthodox.  He’d been training all this time to meet a fellow southpaw in Spence.

And is there a portent of things to come that doesn’t seem to favor Pacquiao?

In 2001, Pacquiao, like Ugás, was also a replacement.

Given just two weeks to toughen up his skills—and mind—against reigning world champion Lehlo Ledwaba (bless his soul), Pacquiao shocked the world by knocking the African out in the sixth round—with Roach in his corner.  Thus began the Pacquiao-Roach partnership that has, thus far, produced 12 major world titles and much of Pacquiao’s record eight world weight division crowns.

The 5-foot-6 Pacquiao, 62-7-2 with 39 knockouts, is three inches shorter than Ugás (26-4 with 12 KOs), a bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Ugás’s World Boxing Association super welterweight crown that was lifted from Pacquiao’s head because of the pandemic-induced inactivity, is at stake.

“That gives me extra motivation,” said Pacquiao. “A title is not to be gifted.  It must be contested in the ring.”

Pacquiao, 42, is tipped to make short work of Ugás, 35.

But seemingly, Ledwaba is at the back of his mind.

“Twenty years ago, I was Ugás,” he said.

Pacquiao is wary, if not worried, of history?

THAT’S IT Here’s a glass to Chery Tiggo for its dramatic, come-from-behind five-set victory over Creamline to become the first winner of the re-baptized PVL league.  In winning the newly-minted professional volleyball league in the country, Chery Tiggo, behind the explosive Santiago Sisters  Dindin and Jaja, erased a two-set deficit by sweeping the last three frames for a thrilling 3-2 victory and a 2-1 series triumph in the Bacarra bubble in Ilocos Norte.  Cheers to Chery owner Rommel Sytin!

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