Yordenis Ugas got the opportunity of a lifetime on Saturday night, and he took full advantage of it.
Ugas used a beautiful jab, some decent bodywork, and a lovely right hand to outbox and out-work Manny Pacquiao to win a 12-round unanimous decision and retain his WBA 147-pound title in the main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas(FOX PPV).
All three judges scored the bout in Ugas’ favor, one turning in a 115-113 card while the other two had it 116-112.
“I’m very excited but, most of all, I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in the ring today,” Ugas said afterward. “I told you, I am the champion of the WBA, and I showed it tonight.”
The 5-9 Ugas, who was elevated to the main event after Errol Spence Jr. had to withdraw due to an eye injury, used all his advantages on Saturday night, including his size and length, which helped him tag the 42-year-old Pacquiao.
“My trainer, Ismael Salas, and I had a plan,” Ugas said. “We were going to move him around; we were going to use the jab and keep him off balance. That was the whole game plan.”
Ugas, 35, also discussed the right hand that Pacquiao could not avoid, which helped open up a cut near Pacman’s left eye.
“The right hand was a shot I had planned to use on Manny,” Ugas said. “It kept working, so I kept using it.”
Pacquiao, who was trying to get the belt back that he won in 2019 against Keith Thurman and could run for president in the Philippines in the near future, was unsure what he would do next, but according to him, he will take some time to think about it.
“In the future, you may not see Manny Pacquiao in the ring,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t know. Let me rest first, relax and make a decision if I’ll continue to fight or not.”
Being away from the ring for two years is a long time, which could have impacted Pacquiao’s performance. However, give Ugas credit. He had the perfect game plan and executed it very well.
For Ugas, Spence Jr. will probably be next when he gets healthy. Regarding Pacquiao, there’s nothing left to prove. He could fight on and still be a credible opponent, but he’s a legend, and let’s hope the legend knows when it’s time to move on.