Ugas Upsets Pacquiao: Father Time has finally caught up to Manny

It has appeared that Father Time has finally caught up to Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in his upset lost to WBA world champion Yordenis Ugas, who controlled the second half of the fight, en route to a twelve-round unanimous decision on all three judges’ scorecards (116-112, 116-112, and 115-113).

This bout was televised by Premier Boxing Champions on Fox Sports pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in front of a sold-out, pro-Pacquiao crowd of 17,438.

Pacquiao’s quick footwork, head movement, and power were nonexistent, which was not the case in his last outing against the former-undefeated WBA world champion Keith Thurman. He faded in the second half of the fight, as he was out-landed by Ugas and his defense was porous, as he got his head snapped by Ugas on several occasions and his face was swollen and marked up by the end of the fight (he needed eight stitches after the bout). This drop-off in performance by Pacquiao was in large part due to being forty-two years old and being out of the sport for over two years. He stated in post-fight interviews that his legs cramped up from the second round on, which might have been from age and or overtraining.

Pacquiao landed a hard left in the first round and Ugas connected on a right uppercut in the second. Ugas landed a powerful right hand in the third that caused Pacquiao’s right eye to swell, but Pacquiao countered with a left hook. In the fourth round, Ugas backed up Pacquiao with a straight right and jab to the head. He was also warned by referee Russell Mora for the third time not to throw low blows after hitting Pacquiao below the belt. Ugas landed two hard right hands and Pacquiao connected on an uppercut in the sixth. After the sixth round, the fight was even on all three judges’ scorecards.

In the second half of the fight, Ugas took over. He backed Pacquiao up with a series of left-right combinations, jabs, and straight right hands in the seventh and eighth that Pacquiao had no answers for. Pacquiao was his aggressive self, but a lot of his punches either missed or got blocked by Ugas. Pacquiao connected on a hard-left hand that moved Ugas backward in the tenth. He also fell to the canvas, but it was correctly ruled a slip. Ugas landed a powerful right hand that knocked Pacquiao backward and caused a cut over his right eye that bled for the rest of the twelfth round.

According to CompuBox punch statistics, Pacquiao threw more punches than Ugas (815 to 405), but Ugas landed more (151 to 131) and had a better connect percentage (37 to 16). Ugas also connected on more jabs (50 to 42), landed more power shots (101 to 88), and out-landed Pacquiao in ten of the twelve rounds.

Ugas improved to 27-4, 12 KOs, and made his first world title defense of the WBA belt that was stripped from Pacquiao for being inactive, despite many world champions not fighting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has won four in a row and is 12-1 in his last thirteen fights since he hired renowned trainer Ismael Salas. Ugas’ lone loss during this stretch was a split decision to former world champion Shawn Porter, in a fight that most people thought he had won.

He was a late replacement to fight Pacquiao on eleven days’ notice after WBC and IBF world champion Errol Spence Jr. withdrew from the fight after it was discovered that he had a detached retina in his left eye that was discovered during a pre-fight examination.

Pacquiao dropped to 62-8-2, 39 KOs. He had his three-bout winning streak stopped.

Ugas said in post-fight interviews that he wants a fight against either Spence or WBO champion Terence Crawford, to unify the division. He also said that he is willing to give Pacquiao a rematch if he wants.

There is a considerable amount of speculation, especially with his loss that this might be Pacquiao’s last fight of his career, as he might run for the President of the Philippines in May 2022, and if he does, he is considered the frontrunner. He has been a Senator in the Philippines since 2016. Pacquiao said he will make an announcement in September on his political aspirations. And if he does retire, what a legendary twenty-six-year career it has been.

Pacquiao is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, who is the only fighter to win a world title in four decades (the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s), the only boxer to win a world championship in eight divisions, and a lineal belt holder in five of them. He is the only welterweight fighter to win a world title four times, including his last one, a twelve-round split decision over Thruman in July 2019, making him the oldest welterweight champion at forty-years-old. Pacquiao was named the Fighter-of-the-Decade (the 2000s) and Fighter-of-the-Year by Ring and Boxing Writers Association of America three times (2006, 2008, and 2009). He defeated twenty-four current and former world champions (24-6-2), including a number of current and future Hall of Famers: Timothy Bradley (twice), Juan Manual Marquez (twice), Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), and Erik Morales (twice). He also fought in the highest-grossing pay-per-view fight of all time against Floyd Mayweather in 2015 that was watched by 4.6 million people.