Most of the boxing world was expecting a somewhat vintage performance.
As Manny Pacquiao stepped into the ring this past Saturday night against Yordenis Ugas at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer was pegged as the heavy favorite. With Pacquiao originally scheduled to face Errol Spence Jr. before the unified welterweight titlist was ultimately forced to pull out due to injury, Ugas was mostly considered a step down in competition.
Yet, as the two clashed in front of over 17,000 thousand fans, Pacquiao simply had no answer for the long jab and right hand that Ugas placed in his face all night. While Pacquiao may have suffered the eighth defeat of his career, in no way, shape or form does he consider Ugas one of his more challenging opponents.
“In my entire career, Ugas was one of the easiest opponents,” said Pacquiao during an interview with The Athletic. “He only had one style and I should’ve been able to easily move away.”
Immediately following his defeat, Pacquiao looked both dejected and despondent with what took place. Normally elusive and bouncing up and down on his toes, Pacquiao appeared more stationary than ever before. While he seemed to be in terrific physical shape, Pacquiao pointed to his trustworthy legs as the reason why he lost.
“My two legs were cramping,” said Pacquiao following the loss. “That’s why I can’t move around.”
Pacquiao’s so-called cramping issues proved to be his detriment, as he was forced to sit in the pocket and trade shots with a much larger man. While he was able to throw 815 total shots, he was incredibly inefficient, landing at only a 16% clip. Ugas, on the other hand, was more reserved in his punch output, throwing less than half of Pacquiao’s total, 405. Still, the Cuban native made his punches count as he connected on 37.3% of his total shots.
Although almost no one will fulminate that Pacquiao should have been given the victory, the 42-year-old is still adamant that if his legs were underneath him, the outcome would have been far more different.
“You’ve seen how I have moved in my fighters before. I couldn’t move in this fight. My legs just stopped.” (philboxing)(Hans Themistode).