Ugas proves he’s WBA champ with win over Pacquiao
MANILA, Philippines—His elevation to champion status was controversial but Yordenis Ugas proved his worth against one of boxing’s greatest fighters ever that his trophy was no fool’s gold.
Ugas put on a technical clinic against surefire Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao as he defended his WBA (Super) welterweight title Sunday (Manila time) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I told you I’m the champion of the WBA,” said Ugas via a translator during the post-match interview in the ring.
Ugas, the World Boxing Association “regular” champion in September 2020, was promoted to Super champion in January 2021 after the WBA stripped Pacquiao of the belt he won in July 2019 due to inactivity to defend the crown.
Using his noticeable height and reach advantage, the 5-foot-9 Ugas took control of the pace with his jab against the 5-foot-5½ Pacquiao who struggled to mount his offense.
Ugas kept a near-perfect guard throughout the match and exploded for counter-right overhands that almost always landed on Pacquiao’s head.
Pacquiao was still the more aggressive fighter of the two but Ugas’ style clearly dictated the tempo of the match as the Cuban landed 151 to the Filipino icon’s 131 total punches.
Ugas threw 405 total punches, which was less than half of Pacquiao’s total of 815.
“I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in this ring,” said Ugas, who took the fight on 11 days’ notice after Errol Spence Jr., Pacquiao’s original opponent, pulled out of the match due to a torn retina that required surgery.
“He’s a great competitor but I came in here to show that I am the champion of the WBA,” said Ugas, who was supposed to fight Fabian Maidana in the undercard. “I have a lot of respect for him but I won the fight.”
“We only had two weeks of training but I listened to my corner and it all worked out.”
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