Yordenis Ugas upsets Manny Pacquiao by decision to retain WBA title

LAS VEGAS -- This was meant to be a celebration of everything Manny Pacquiao has achieved -- a champion in eight different divisions over four decades and a worldwide superstar.
Yordenis Ugas was not present for Pacquiao's party; Ugas was there for his arrival. He kept his promise to Pacquiao all his respect.

Ugas accepted the assignment with 11 days notice and won a unanimous decision against Pacquiao at T-Mobile Arena. He retained his WBA "super" title as welterweight. This upset win cements Ugas' status as one of the most important players in boxing's top division.

Yordenis Ugas beat Manny Pacquiao, 151-130, despite Pacquiao throwing more punches (815-405). Etienne Laurent/EPA

Ugas was rated by all three judges: 116-112,, 115-113, and 116-112. According to Caesars Sportsbook, ESPN gave Ugas a score of 116-112, 115-113, and 116-112.

Ugas (27-4-12 KOs), said, "I'm very excited but most importantly, I want to Thank Manny Pacquiao For Giving Me This Moment in the Ring Today." "Now, the plan is unifying the title at welterweight. Errol Spence will be the next on the list. ... I pray that he recovers."

Pacquiao (62-8-2; 39 KOs), was scheduled to face Spence, ESPN's No. In a super fight, Pacquiao would be fighting Spence (4 pound for pound). These plans were canceled when Spence was diagnosed with a detached retina in his left eye 12 days prior to the fight.

Punch Stats Punches Pacquiao Ugas Total Landed 130 151 Total Thrown 815 405 Percent 16 37% Jabs Landed 42 50 Jabs Threw 475 234 Percent 9 21% Power Landed 88 101 Power Thrown 340 171 Percent 26 59% -- Courtesy CompuBox

Ugas was a bronze medalist for Cuba at the 2008 Olympics. He is also ESPN's No. Ugas, a bronze medalist for Cuba in 2008 Olympics and ESPN's No. 6, was set to defend his title in the co-feature against Fabian Maidana. He didn't hesitate when Pacquiao presented him with the chance of a lifetime to fight him.

Ugas stated that they only had two weeks training, but that he listened to his side and it all worked out.

Ugas's strategy was simple but brilliant. He used a double jab to his head and then a right hand to his body. The high guard picked Pacquiao’s shots and then connected upstairs with a crisp right loop around Pacquiao’s gloves. Counterpunches that repeatedly hit the target, cutting Pacquiao's left eye in Round 12.

Under the most intense of light, Ugas showed the calm of a heart surgeon. He patiently picked his spots, using precise punches that always hit the mark.

He also made Pacquiao feel superior strength and size, possibly because he was fighting in his last fight.

The 42-year-old Pacquiao, flat-footed and not as fast as his predecessor, was not the same Pacquiao who soared to the top of the sport with dizzying speed. He also had a wide range of combinations that could be thrown from almost every angle. This could be the end for Pacquiao, who is now well past his peak and has a presidential race ahead of him.

When Pacquiao was asked whether this was his last fight, he replied, "I don’t know." I need to let go and make a decision.

He said, "That's boxing." I had difficulty making adjustments in the ring. ... My legs were tight. "I'm sorry that I lost tonight. But I tried my best."

Pacquiao, a senator from the Philippines, said that he will make an announcement in September about his decision in advance of May's presidential elections against Rodrigo Duterte.

Pacquiao is still loved by his countrymen and the sporting world, regardless of whether he wins or loses. Pacquiao is a star in a sport that lacks them, admired for his infectious smile and brutality inside the ring.

He smiled again to the tune of Eye of the Tiger and entered the ring. Pacquiao would not find another fight like it in his career. That moment might not come again for him.

In the cruelest of sports, fighters rarely come out on top. It would be fitting that Pacquiao retire after such a devastating loss. In 2008, Pacquiao beat Oscar De La Hoya eight times from pillar to pillar, leaving "The Golden Boy" on the stool.

It wasn't like that. It was actually a slower Pacquiao. He still had the fighting spirit, but not the speed or power that made him famous.

Pacquiao is known for attacking from angles. He will slide to his right and left to find an opening. He attacked flat-footed, in straight lines on this night. Ugas seemed to have seen every shot. His high guard snuffed out many of Pacquiao’s incoming combinations. They now lack the elite speed and movement needed to connect.

Ugas defeated Pacquiao by 151 to 130 despite Pacquiao throwing 815-405 more punches. Although the underdog didn't throw more than 45 punches per round, he did not have to. Ugas was much more efficient, content to sit in his pocket and deliver his own stinging counterpunches which were far more devastating.

Ugas, now 35, has won four straight after dropping a split decision to Shawn Porter, a fight many believed Ugas won. This was Ugas' first attempt at a title and his first fight against an elite boxer.

Ugas showed his skill and determination even in defeat to establish himself as one the top ten welterweights in the world.

In July 2019, four months after Ugas lost to Porter, Pacquiao won the welterweight title by winning by decision over Keith Thurman. This impressive performance proved that Pacquiao is still one of the greatest fighters in the world.

Inactivity prevented Pacquiao from defending the belt in the Ring. Who was the man who was made champion by his absence? Ugas.

Now it is possible that Ugas will retire Pacquiao. This Pacquiao version, which fought Ugas, doesn't seem to be the same as the one that fought Thurman.

In 25 months, a lot can happen. In December, Pacquiao will be 43 years old. People will continue to watch and care if Pacquiao wants to fight on. It won't be the end. It's possible that there will never be another Manny Pacquiao.

However, Pacquiao is unlikely to be the same Pacquiao we saw in the ring.