Payback in Vegas


IT will be payback time in the Nevada desert for Senator Manny Pacquiao when he fights Cuba’s Yordenis Ugás still on August 21 (August 22 in Manila).

“The proper way and the only way to win a world title is inside the ring,” Pacquiao said in an Associated Press report on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Ugás was elevated to welterweight super champion in the World Boxing Association’s byzantine championship system last January after Pacquiao was abruptly stripped of the belt for inactivity.

The WBA stripped last January 30 the former eight-division world champion of his super welterweight belt which he won from Keith Thurman via split decision two years ago also in Las Vegas for not figuring in a single fight in 2020.

Pacquiao, 42, quickly agreed to shift his focus to Ugás after Errol Spence Jr. announced on Wednesday his withdrawal from the fight because of a retinal tear in his left eye.

“It’s definitely a huge disappointment,” MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons told BusinessMirror also on Wednesday. “But things happen in boxing, it is not unusual and you have to make something out of that bad situation.”

With Spence out, Pacquiao won’t be aiming for a legacy fight. Instead, it will be payback for the Filipino boxing icon.

But Gibbons said Ugás could pose as a tough customer in the fight set at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“Ugás is a very tough WBA super champion…he holds our belt that they [WBA] gave him,” Gibbons said. “So basically, the Senator will get his title back, which they took it away from him.”

Pacquiao  (62-7-2 win-loss-draw record with 39 knockouts) told his fans to pray for Spence’s fast recovery in a statement relayed by his American publicist Fred Sternberg.

“I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence,” Pacquiao said. “Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage.”

The Nevada State Athletic Commission’s physical examination revealed Spence’s injury, barring him from fighting Pacquiao in the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View showdown.

“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to fight Pacquiao,’’ Spence said in a statement. “I was excited about the fight and the event. Unfortunately, the doctors found a tear in my left eye and said I needed to get surgery on it ASAP and that there was no way I could fight with my eye in that condition.”

“I’d like to apologize to everyone. You know I’ll be back soon. We’ve come back from worse,” he added.

Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) was supposed to stake his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation welterweight titles in the fight.

Spence had surgery at home in Texas on Wednesday to repair the tear.

Ugás (26-4, 12 KOs) was scheduled to make his first career defense of his WBA title versus Fabian Maidana on the undercard of Pacquiao’s meeting with Spence, but the Cuban Olympic bronze medal winner instead will get the biggest showcase of his up-and-down professional career.

Ugás has won three straight fights, and he claimed the first version of his WBA title with a split-decision victory over Abel Ramos in his most recent bout last September.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight,” Ugás said in a statement. “Everyone knows my story about how I came to America to follow my dreams of becoming a world champion, and now it’s time to stamp my legacy with a victory as one of the best Cuban fighters to ever put on a pair of gloves.” With AP

Image courtesy of Wendell Alinea

Read full article on BusinessMirror