Yordenis Ugas put on a clinic in the biggest win of his career to date, utilizing a fantastic jab and nullifying Manny Pacquiao's attacks en route to winning by unanimous decision Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The judges scored the bout 115-113, 116-112, 116-112 in favor of Ugas, who was a late replacement for the injured Errol Spence Jr.
Even though the crowd was on Pacquiao's side for most of the fight, CBS Sports' Brian Campbell felt the judges made the right decision:
Ugas retained the WBA world welterweight title with the win. The belt had been awarded to him after the WBA stripped the title from Pacquiao earlier this year because of inactivity. On Saturday, Ugas showed he was a worthy successor.
Pacquiao, 42, was the far more aggressive fighter, doing everything he could to get into close range and string together combinations. Ugas was steadfast in his approach, controlling distance with the jab and countering with his accurate right hand.
The punch stats reflect those approaches, as CompuBox showed:
Pacquiao threw twice as many punches as Ugas but was far less accurate. The Cuban did a good job of either blocking the legend's shots or firing off a jab so that he could get back to a more comfortable distance.
Ugas, 35 also picked his spots well, landing 59 percent of his power punches over the 12 rounds. Those power shots became more apparent in the later rounds, when he took advantage of Pacquiao's fatigue and landed repeatedly with his right hand.
According to ESPN Philippines' Carlo Pamintuan, Ugas' performance was a textbook example of how to handle a southpaw like Pacquiao:
This exchange from the third round shows how even when Pacquiao was able to get Ugas on to the ropes, the crafty Cuban was able to create space and move back to the center, as shared by Fox Sports PBC:
Pacquiao did have his moments, such as at the end of the fifth round. Even in those instances, though, Ugas was able to make the most of his punches.
Boxing trainer and ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas praised Ugas' strategy and tactics:
It was a spirited performance from Pacquiao, but he couldn't overcome age and ring rust. His previous fight was more than two years ago, a split-decision win over Keith Thurman, and it seems like some of his speed (both hands and feet) diminished in that time. When asked on the Fox Sports pay-per-view broadcast whether he was planning on retiring after the loss, Pacquiao said "I don't know."
As for Ugas, he's in a good spot to try to put together a lucrative title-unification bout, either against Spence or Terence "Bud" Crawford. He has some name recognition after beating Pacquiao and would be wise to try to capitalize on that as soon as a top-tier opponent becomes available.