Pacquiao vs. Ugas Highlights: Top Moments from Superfight

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2021

Yordenis Ugas, left, of Cuba, hits Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, in a welterweight championship boxing match Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Yordenis Ugas saw an opportunity, took it and changed his life forever.

Ugas was brought in as a late replacement to fight Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night on a pay-per-view card after the boxing icon's original opponent, Errol Spence Jr., was diagnosed with an eye injury and forced to withdraw. Not only did Ugas show courage in taking on Pacquiao, but he was also able to win the fight by unanimous decision and retain his WBA world welterweight title.

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The judges scored the bout 115-113, 116-112, 116-112 in favor of Ugas, who dictated the fight from the beginning. He planted himself in the center of the ring, using his length to keep Pacquiao at bay. His jab was strong and accurate, and he did a fine job of using it to set up combinations.

Even at 42, Pacquiao's hand speed was impressive. He threw more punches than Ugas and did well to keep up the pressure, especially early on. However, Father Time seems to have finally started catching up with him. Pacquiao's legs weren't quite there in the latter stages of the fight, and he struggled to find consistent openings.

It was a disappointing result yet entertaining fight for the pro-Pacquiao crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Pacquiao's ring walk was the first highlight of the evening, as he strutted to the ring with "Eye of the Tiger" blaring over the speakers.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

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Between the ropes, it was Pacquiao forcing the action and Ugas doing an excellent job of taking what was given to him. The first two rounds saw Ugas essentially batting away the feisty Pacquiao with his long left hand. He didn't waver and got the results he wanted.

The third round saw Pacquiao finally find a crack in Ugas' armor. Here's a look at the exchange, via Fox Sports PBC:


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Another big exchange came at the end of the fifth round. Pacquiao loaded up on the Cuban but again struggled to make meaningful connection. Still, it was another sign that he was getting his timing down after struggling mightily in the first two rounds. Here's the action, as shared by Fox Sports PBC:


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Again, there were plenty of strong moments from Pacquiao, but this was Ugas' show. He was feeling it and did a little celebrating following the seventh frame:


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To his credit, Pacquiao kept coming after Ugas. Here's a look at a late combination that did some damage:


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Ugas did plenty of his own damage, however, rocking Pacquiao in the later rounds with some great one-two combinations. Pacquiao struggled at times to get away from Ugas' right hand. When it was all said and done, Ugas got the deserved win and retained the WBA title, which belonged to Pacquiao before the WBA stripped him of the belt at the start of the year for inactivity.

Coming into this bout, many wondered whether this would be Pacquiao's last fight. He said he wasn't ready to make a decision right then and there, per Fox Sports PBC:


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Ugas, 35, is a veteran fighter who's had a solid career but never quite caught on as a big name. He has a chance at cashing in now after defeating Pacquiao, who could end up retiring after the eighth loss of his brilliant career. After the bout, Ugas said he would like to take on Spence in a title-unification fight. He's earned the opportunity with a strong performance on the biggest stage of his career.