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Boxing: Pacquiao eager to fight Ugas, reclaim WBA 'super' title

From a report by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2021 11:52 AM

Manny Pacquiao poses for media at Wild Card Boxing Club in this August 4, 2021 file photo in Los Angeles, California. Michael Owens, Getty Images/AFP
Manny Pacquiao poses for media at Wild Card Boxing Club in this August 4, 2021 file photo in Los Angeles, California. Michael Owens, Getty Images/AFP

Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao assured that he is not underestimating Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas, who will replace American Errol Spence Jr. in their August 21 fight card in Las Vegas.

Spence had to withdraw from the bout after suffering an eye injury. 

The 35-year-old Ugas, who holds the "super" version of the WBA welterweight title, will now be elevated to the main event. He was originally set to defend his title against Fabian Maidana in the undercard.

"We're not underestimating Ugas," Pacquiao told Philippine media at the Wild Card Gym, hours after the change was announced. "We should make sure na naka-focus pa rin tayo and then manalo tayo kasi championship din ito."

"WBA world championship, so malaki pa rin itong laban na 'to. Malaking karangalan para sa atin," he added.

Pacquiao is also motivated to defeat Ugas, as the fight will be for the WBA (super) welterweight belt -- the title that the "Pacman" never lost.

The Filipino won the WBA belt after beating Keith Thurman in July 2019, but was declared champion in recess last year due to his inactivity. Ugas, who held the "regular" version of the WBA title, was instead elevated to "super" champion.

"Itong si Ugas, ito 'yung nagkuha ng belt ko na binigay ng WBA, na hindi naman kami naglaban," Pacquiao said. "So this is a good thing, kung sinong … saan dapat nararapat ang belt na WBA."

Pacquiao, who has been training in Los Angeles since early July, is confident that Ugas will be in good shape as he was also supposed to see action in the undercard.

"Ugas is in shape also. Good thing na, undercard siya eh. Nagkataon din na 'yung kalaban ni Ugas, dito sa undercard ko, naputukan din, nagkaroon ng headbutt," he noted. "So hindi siya maka-fight."

"Parang coincidence ba 'yan o ano. But I believe that it's God's plan. It happened that way for a purpose," he added.

The Pacquiao-Ugas bout will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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