By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
FILIPINO boxing legend Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao fell short in his bid to reclaim the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight belt, losing to reigning champion Yordenis Ugás of Cuba by unanimous decision in their title fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday (Manila time).
Not able to move around as he wanted to and, in his own acknowledgment later, did not get to adjust as the fight wore on, Mr. Pacquiao, 42, was outlasted by replacement opponent, Mr. Ugás, who won in all of the judges’ scorecards, 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112.
Mr. Ugás, 35, who took the place of original Pacquiao opponent Errol Spence, Jr. (out with an eye injury) a fortnight ago, made full use of his height and reach advantage in keeping Mr. Pacquiao at bay for much of the 12-round contest.
“Now, the plan is to unify the title,” Mr. Ugás, 35, said in the ring through a translator. “Everyone said he was the champion, now they know who the real champion is.”
The eight-division world champ Mr. Pacquiao had his moments, especially in the early part of the match, but they were not enough to swing the tide in his favor.
The Compubox later showed how Mr. Ugás had his way, landing more total punches 151 to Mr. Pacquiao’s 130 and with more efficiency, 37% to 16%.
The WBA champion landed 21% (50-of-234) of his jabs to Mr. Pacquiao’s nine percent (42-of-475) and power punches 59% (101-of-171) to 26% (88-of-340).
The crowd was reduced to a nervous silence as the fight headed into the final rounds with no sign of the knockout that Mr. Pacquiao needed to come out a winner, although spectators were roused into voice when the fighters went toe-to-toe in the 10th.
“That’s boxing,” said Mr. Pacquiao after the defeat. “I just could not make the adjustments. My legs got tight as the fight progressed.”
The defeat was the eighth in the storied career of Mr. Pacquiao, who before Sunday’s fight last fought in July 2019. He has 62 wins.
The Sarangani native was the WBA welterweight champion until it was taken from him early this year and he was rendered “champion in recess.” The belt was given to Mr. Ugás (27-4).
Asked if it was his last fight, Mr. Pacquiao declined to make any announcements, saying instead “I don’t know yet. I will first take time to rest and relax and think things over.”
As to his plans to run for Philippine president, Mr. Pacquiao, also a sitting senator of the republic, said he will make his final announcement on the matter next month.
He went on to say that being a president of a country entails a lot of work and should be given much thought.
“[Being a president], you have to deal with bigger problems than boxing. But I want to help the people,” he said. — with reports from Reuters