By Adrian Stewart Co
Manny Pacquiao failed to reclaim the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight championship after a unanimous decision defeat to Cuban Yordenis Ugás on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Filipino ring legend failed to sustain his aggressive start as he faded in the last few rounds to suffer a 115-113, 116-112, 116-112 defeat to the Cuban fighter, who took the fight on short notice.
Pacquiao made his presence felt in the opening round with a flurry of punches, some of which have inflicted damage on Ugás, but the Cuban responded in the second round with solid jabs to the face of the Filipino boxer.
Ugás was consistent with his short jabs in the succeeding rounds before he stunned Pacquiao late in the fifth round with a left-right combinations and a hard right late in the sixth frame.
Pacquiao, who was badly beaten by that time with red marks on his cheeks and forehead, continued to come forward but Ugás went on with his short jab and combinations on the Filipino boxer.
Ugás lorded it over in the 10th round after landing a double left jab and a right hook in quick succession before continuing his blows in the last two rounds to cement his impressive win.
“He’s definitely a great competitor. A lot of respect for him, but I won the fight,” the 35-year-old Ugás said on Pacquiao. “I told you I am the champion of the WBA and I proved it tonight.”
Pacquiao, for his part, was gracious in his defeat to the Cuban boxer but remains mum regarding his future plans for boxing and with his political plans in the 2022 national elections.
“That’s boxing. It is on me because I failed to adjust on Ugás,” Pacquiao said. “I just want to rest for now and decide on my future with boxing in the coming days. I will also decide on my political plans next month.”
With the loss, the eight-division world boxing champion saw his boxing record dropped to 67-8-2 with 39 stoppage victories, while Ugás improved to 27-4-0 with 12 knockout wins./ASC, WDJ