Photo credit: Yordenis Ugas/Instagram
By Kriel Ibarrola
Boxing fans were hit with quite a bummer following news that the Manny Pacquiao versus Errol Spence Jr. fight on August 21 will no longer push through. This is after Spence suffered a torn retina during practice, making him not unfit to fight the legendary Filipino boxer. Damn.
Still, not all is lost since a replacement fighter has already agreed to take on Pacman.
Enter Yordenis Ugas, the WBA (Super) welterweight champion.
We don’t really know much about him, as he’s not a household name like Spence. But out of curiosity we recently dug up some interesting stuff about the guy—get yourself acquainted with Pacquiao’s latest challenge by reading below!
READ: Robredo in talks with Pacquiao for 2022 elections
Ugas is pretty good
Ugas is no slouch, hence the opportunity to fight one of the greatest boxers of all time. In 30 professional bouts, the 35-year-old Cuban has a record of 26 wins (12 by knockout and 14 via decision) and 4 losses. Not bad, eh?
He is currently on a three-fight winning streak, following that split decision loss to Shawn Porter back in 2019 for the WBC Welterweight title.
Ugas, of course, was supposed to be part of the undercard for the Spence vs Pacquiao tiff. But in a cruel stroke of fate, his supposed opponent Fabian Maidana also suffered a nasty cut in sparring and was also removed from the card.
Considering him and Manny both have no opponents, it only makes sense for them to match up.
Ugas and Pacquiao do have some history (sort of)
Pacquiao, of course, won the WBA (Super) welterweight title against Keith Thurman in his last fight. But considering the pandemic and his busy schedule as a senator in the Philippines, he wasn’t able to defend that belt around the time the WBA wanted him to.
They marked Manny as a “champion in recess" and stripped him of the title. Ugas, meanwhile, won the vacant WBA (Regular) welterweight title a year after against Abel Ramos. The WBA decided to elevate him as the (Super) welterweight following the Filipino’s inactivity.
Ugas will now have a chance to prove he is worthy of the billing, as he gets to face the previous owner of his shiny gold belt.
Ugas is a decorated amateur
While Ugas’ pro-career fails in comparison to Pacquiao’s (or even Spence’s) he actually has a tremendous amateur background. Ugas, who uses the in-ring moniker 54 Milagros, won the AIBA World Championship in 2005 in China and the 2007 Pan American Games as a lightweight.
He’s also an Olympian, winning bronze for Cuba in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ugas won his first 11 professional fights and is considered a sharp and technically accomplished fighter.
Pacquiao vs Ugas is not the only Filipino vs Cuban boxing match going down
A week before the Pacquiao versus Ugos fight, we’ll get another Cuba against Philippines war inside the ring.
Guillermo Rigondeaux takes on Pacquiao’s MP Promotion member John Riel Casimero in a double title defense, with both the WBA (Regular) and WBO bantamweight titles on the line.
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