HomeMMAUgas: If This Was The Final Struggle For Pacquiao, Was An Honor...

Ugas: If This Was The Final Struggle For Pacquiao, Was An Honor To Share The Ring With Him

Throughout the bout week, Manny Pacquiao repeatedly suggested that his bout with Yordenis Ugas could very well be the last of his amazing career. (Photo by Ryan Hafey)

The call for that to be the case has never been louder than at the end of their Fox Sports Pay-Per-View headliner on August 21. Ugas thoroughly boxed and defeated the legendary Filipino on his way to a unanimous win in twelve rounds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Pacquiao made no commitment to walk away forever, even hinting at a possible rematch with Ugas, without neglecting the opportunity to ride off into the sunset.

“If this was Pacquiao’s last fight, then it was an honor to share the ring with him,” Ugas said during a recent Zoom media conference to discuss his latest win. “Manny picked a really good welterweight who was there not only to hit him but also to hurt him and show his worth in the sport.

“I’m not only happy about the win, but also about the performance that I was able to deliver in Las Vegas.”

Ugas (27-4, 12KOs) accepted the challenge with just eleven days’ lead and replaced the injured Errol Spence (27-0, 21KOs). Ugas should already appear on the PPV sub-map but ultimately needed an opponent himself. Argentinian Fabian Maidana retired from his WBA welterweight title fight after sustaining a cut in his left eye during a sparring session late at camp.

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39KOs) made the decision to continue the show and offered to face Ugas and challenge the WBA belt, which was stripped from him earlier this year due to inactivity. Two rounds after the fight began, it turned out that the 42-year-old southpaw was well over his head – at least that evening. Ugas has grown to cope with this situation and delivered a great performance in what is by far the biggest fight of his career – and especially since his return to the ring in 2016.

Ugas is 12-1 since the end of a two-year hiatus that began with a ten-round win over the then undefeated Jamal James in August 2016. The only defeat over this route came in a controversial, split decision over twelve rounds in favor of the then WBC welterweight titleist Shawn Porter (31-3-1, 17KOs) in March 2019. Three fights later, Abel Ramos won his own title surpassed last September to win a version of the WBA welterweight crown.

The recent victory over Pacquiao is currently serving as a career-defining moment. Chances are it could serve as the final call for the former eight division club and guaranteed future Hall of Famer as well.

“Facing Pacquiao, facing a legend, was an absolute honor – the greatest moment of my career,” admits Ugas. “If this was the last fight in Manny Pacquiao’s career, it should be remembered that he was facing a world-class fighter who was able to beat him.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox


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