Ugas stuns Pacquiao to retain WBA welterweight crown

By: News Desk      Published: 11:01 AM, 22 Aug, 2021
Ugas stuns Pacquiao to retain WBA welterweight crown
The winner.

Cuba's Yordenis Ugas upset Manny Pacquiao to retain his WBA welterweight crown on Saturday, winning by unanimous decision after a bruising 12-round battle at the T-Mobile Arena.

Ugas -- drafted in at the 11th hour after Pacquiao's original opponent Errol Spence Jr. withdrew through injury -- dominated the Filipino icon with his jab and cleaner punching to win on all three cards by 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112.

Despite original foe, unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., pulling out of the fight on less than two weeks' notice, Manny Pacquiao is still expected to face a difficult challenge when the 42-year-old Filipino icon challenges for Yordenis Ugas' WBA title inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao was fighting for the title he won in his last fight when he dropped and outpointed then-unbeaten Keith Thurman in 2019. Ugas, a native of Cuba, moved up from the undercard where he was originally scheduled to defend his title against Fabian Maidana.

Pacquiao was the heavy favourite for the bout, with Ugas taking the fight on just 11 days notice after Errol Spence Jr. pulled out with an eye injury.

Pacquiao was controversially stripped of his WBA title on grounds of “inactivity” earlier this year despite the global disruption to boxing caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The WBA instead handed the belt to Ugas, a fact that upset Pacquiao.

Pacquiao showed his power early with a right hook and two left hands to the side of Ugas’ head. 

Ugas though was using his jab well to keep his distance and also went to the body late and a left hand ended with Pacquiao hitting the ground but no knockdown was scored.

The 35-year-old Cuban was not throwing as much but more accurate early, using his distance effectively.

At 42 years old and with 71 fights under his belt, Pacquiao has seen it all in the ring and yet Shawn Porter declared in commentary that the Cuban was giving him a “puzzle to solve”.

Pacquiao brought the crowd to its feet in the third with a big left and lunge that sent Ugas to the ropes, finishing the busier of the two with solid flurries to end the round.