Just like that, superstar and living legend Manny Pacquiao has gone from being a considerable underdog in a fight (at least in the opinion of the fight experts, if not the betting odds) to being a big favourite to win. Would Pacquiao have beaten Errol Spence? We may never know now (although to his credit, Manny is saying he is open to facing Spence as soon as Spence is healthy, his eye having been operated on).
Now, Pac Man has another challenge: that of reigning a belt he never lost in the ring. Yordenis Ugas, who presents an entirely different challenge compared to Spence, was elevated to full WBA welterweight champ in January, Pacquiao being made “champ in recess” due to his not having fought since defeating Keith Thurman back in July of 2019. Pacquiao, 62-7-2(39) says he wants to put things right in what we all hope will prove to be a good fight.
“Ugas stepped up and is bringing his WBA championship into the fight, which I’m excited to fight for,” Pacquiao said this week. “I am happy to fight either right-handed or southpaw styles. It’s no problem for me at all to switch the styles that I’m going to face. What I can say is this is definitely not an easy fight. Ugas is champion because they gave him my belt. Now we have to settle it in the ring.”
Some people are grumbling at this fight, and it is obviously a far lesser fight than what Spence-Pacquiao would have been (for a number of reasons) but at least we will still get to see the great Pacquiao in a good fight. It would have been worse if the whole card was either cancelled or postponed. And who knows, we might get a great fight. Ugas, 26-4(12) is no bad fighter. In fact, if that fight was taking place anyway, if there had been no Pacquiao-Spence fight made, we wouldn’t really be complaining about this match-up.
Can Pacquiao win? Can he become the first man to KO Ugas? The odds say Pacquiao will win, but it could prove to be a tricky night’s work. Certainly, at age 35, Ugas has never been so super-motivated when approaching a fight.