Pacquiao vs. Ugas: Early Fight Predictions, PPV Schedule and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2021

FILE - In this Saturday, July 20, 2019 file photo, Manny Pacquiao prepares to fight Keith Thurman in a welterweight title fight in Las Vegas. Qatar is preparing to host the 2022 World Cup and is now looking to attract big-name boxing. Promoter Bob Arum has been in talks with Qatari officials about bringing a welterweight unification bout between Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford to the energy-rich Gulf nation. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
John Locher/Associated Press

Despite being 42, Manny Pacquiao remains one of the most notable names in the boxing world. Pacquiao has held titles in eight weight divisions and has won 12 world championships in all. On Saturday, he will fight again, this time against WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas.

While Ugas makes for an intriguing opponent, this wasn't the original matchup. Pacquiao was initially set to face undefeated WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on the same date.

Unfortunately, Spence was forced to withdraw because of an eye injury.

"I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to fight Manny Pacquiao," Spence said in a press release. "I was excited about the fight. Unfortunately, the doctors found a tear in my left eye and said I needed surgery on it ASAP and that there was no way I could fight with my eye in that condition."

Ugas was originally slated to defend his title against Fabian Maidana on the undercard.


Pacquiao vs. Ugas

When: Saturday, August 21

Time: 9 p.m. ET

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas




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The shift in Pacquiao's opponent may be a disappointment to some fans because the undefeated Spence was just about as elite an opponent as the aging legend could have hoped to face. Eleven years younger than Pacquiao and with a 27-0 record (21 knockouts), Spence promised to be a daunting challenge.

However, Ugas is still a tremendous opponent. He's seven years Pacquiao's junior and has lost only one bout since 2014. That defeat came via split decision against Shawn Porter in March 2019. He's gone 3-0 since then, while Pacquiao hasn't even fought since July 2019.

Saturday's battle for the WBA (super) welterweight title promises to be a good one.

While changing opponents on short notice could be a problem, Pacquiao insists that it hasn't changed his preparation much.

"I think the only adjustment that I'm going to make is southpaw and right-handed," Pacquiao said, per Mark Lelinwalla of DAZN. "That's the only thing because Errol Spence is aggressive also and Ugas is aggressive, so that's good. We can create more action in the ring. The fans will love it."

With 71 fights on his professional resume, Pacquiao has enough experience that going from facing a southpaw in Spence to an orthodox fighter in Ugas shouldn't be an issue. Age and conditioning could be, however, in a 12-round bout.

The younger and more recently tested Ugas should be able to separate himself in the latter rounds, assuming the fight goes long. While both Ugas and Pacquiao are aggressive, offensive fighters, Ugas has never lost by KO, and Pacquiao hasn't been knocked out since losing to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.

Expect Ugas to pull out a tight points victory, though Pacquiao will certainly make him work for it.

Prediction: Ugas wins by split decision.