By Mark Elezaj
LAS VEGAS – Yordenis Ugas walked into the ring as a huge underdog, but the veteran stood toe to toe and upset Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision in their 12-round welterweight title fight, legitimizing himself as the WBA’s true 147-pound champion.
Ugas, who was a late replacement for an injured Errol Spence Jr., showed everyone what he was capable of, landing jabs and counter right hands against Pacquiao.
CompuBox credited Ugas for landing 21 more punches overall than Pacquiao (151-of-405 to 130-of-815).
According to CompuBox’s unofficial count, Ugas connected landed more power punches, (101-of-171 to 88-of-340), as well as more jabs (50-of-234 to 42-of-275).
All three judges had Ugas ahead when the final bell sounded, Dave Moretti had it 116-112, Patricia Morse Jarman had it 115-113 and Steve Weisfeld had it 116-112.
In the opening round, Pacquiao’s speed was on display, setting up combinations before Ugas landed a hard body shot, slowing Pacquiao down. Pacquiao would come back with more head movement and combinations while Ugas looked to utilize his jab.
Round two, Ugas found a home for his right hand, moving Pacquiao back. He continued to throw hard shots and began to attack the body. Pacquiao would respond with a flurry of punches but Ugas continued to stand in front of him, counter punching.
Round three was an active round for both fighters. Pacquiao was much more aggressive, landing his combinations while forcing Ugas up against the ropes. Ugas responded well, fighting off the ropes, landing punches while trying to slow Pacquiao down. The senator returned fire, landing another combination.
Round four, Ugas began to land at will with hard power shots. Pacquiao, much more defensive minded in the round, was able to rally with punches of his own to finish the round.
In the fifth round, Pacquiao began to apply the pressure again, countering an Ugas right hand. Ugas would respond with another hard that led to a beautiful exchange from both warriors. Pacquiao followed up with a combination that landed and Ugas returned the favor, landing two hard rights. Pacquiao, smiling at his opponent, finished off the round with another quick combination.
The action slows down on round six. Both men were looking to land something big, and Ugas did just that, landing a hard right hand in the final seconds of the round.
Round seven, Ugas landed another right hand that backed up Pacquiao with just over a minute left to to go in the round. Ugas, working off his jab, landed another right hand around Pacquiao’s guard as the round ended.
In the eight round, Pacquiao tried to to stay active, throwing his combinations but Ugas continued to land the bigger shots, landing two more right hands as the round came to a close.
Round nine, Pacquiao came out much more aggressive than the previous rounds, evading Ugas’ power shots while staying on the attack. Pacquiao went down to the canvas with 40 seconds left in round, but referee Russell Mora rightfully ruled it a slip.
Round ten, Pacquiao’s landed a left hand during an exchange with Ugas in the opening minute of the round, moved Ugas back toward the ropes. Ugas would come back and land a right hand that knocked Pacquiao off balance, although he responded well and continued to push the action.
In the eleventh round, Ugas would land another right hand around Pacquiao’s left glove, again knocking Pacquiao off balance.
Round twelve, Ugas caught Pacquiao with a right hand followed by another right that knocked Pacquiao across the ring in the opening minute of the final round. Pacquiao would respond, looking to land his power punch, but Ugas was able to defended against it.
The Cuban veteran came into Las Vegas and upset Manny Pacquiao, legitimized himself as the WBA’s true 147-pound champion.
“I’m very excited,” Ugas told FOX Sports’ Jordan Plant after earning the biggest victory of his 11-year career. “First of all, I wanna thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in this ring today. I told you I’m the champion of the WBA and I showed it tonight.”
“He’s a great competitor, but I came in here to show that I am the champion of the WBA,” Ugas said. “And a lot of respect for Manny, but I won the fight. … We only had two weeks of training [for Pacquiao], but I listened to my corner and it all worked out.”
The 42-year-old legend Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs), would not commit to whether this was the end of his amazing career.
The senator said that he might run for president of the Philippines next.
“I don’t know,” Pacquiao told FOX Sports’ Heidi Androl when asked if he would box again. “I don’t know. Let me rest first and relax, and make a decision if I will continue to fight.
I will make a final announcement next month [on running for president]. I know that this is a big problem, more difficult works than boxing. But I want to help the people. I want to help them.”
When speaking on the loss to Ugas:
“It was a big adjustment for a few days [to train],” Pacquiao said of the late change in opponents. “So, it’s good, but that’s boxing.”
~The Fighting Voice~