Pacquiao vs Ugas Preview
By Gary Kittilsen
After an absolutely loaded past weekend of boxing that featured at least four major televised cards and filled up our Saturday with high leveling sweet science, boxing returns with just one major card this weekend.
However, that one card is a can’t miss! As the legendary eight-division world champion “Pac Man” Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring for possibly the last time.
The now 42-year-old Filipino icon sports a record of 62-7-2 (39) but has not fought in just over two years when he successfully turned back the clock and beat up Keith Thurman, who is a full decade younger than Pacquiao, over 12 rounds back in July 2019.
Given the level of opposition, it was among one of the best performances of Pacquiao’s historic career.
Pacquiao was originally scheduled to take on unified WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence of Dallas, Texas. However, Spence had to pull out of the fight due to a detached retina, and WBA titleholder Yordenis Ugas, who was already scheduled to fight on the card, got the call to fill in for Spence and immediately accepted.
Ugas, a native of Santiago de Cuba, is a very formidable replacement and poses a serious threat to Pac-Man. He won the vacant WBA strap in his last outing against Abel Ramos, a belt that was previously held by Pacquiao but was taken from him due to inactivity, Pacquiao was designated “Champion in Recess” by the WBA back in January. Ugas has won three fights in a row since losing a very controversial split-decision to Shawn Porter back in 2019 and in all the Cuban has won 11 of 12 fights since leaving the 140-pound division and moving up in 2016.
The undercard features an interesting scrap between two former world champions on the comeback trail as “Vicious” Victor Ortiz who has not fought in over two and a half years steps back in the ring and battles former two-division world titleholder Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.
Guerrero has held belts at both the featherweight and super-featherweight divisions. He lost three fights in a row including a blowout loss to Omar Figueroa in the summer of 2017 and retired shortly after the bout. He returned 17-months later and has scored three fairly impressive victories in the interim, but has been inactive since September 2019. Ortiz has had an even longer layoff having not fought since a highly disputed draw against Devon Alexander back in February 2018.
The card also features undefeated featherweight prospect Mark Magsayo, who last fought back in April and scored a fourth-round TKO of Pavle Cruz.
Magsayo takes a major step up and puts his 22-0 record on the line against hard-hitting Mexican contender Julio Ceja, who last fought Brandom Figueroa to a draw, back in November 2019, on the undercard of Wilder-Ortiz 2.
Fellow undefeated featherweight Carlos Castro also returns to the ring to take on former world title challenger Oscar Escandon.
Escandon, resurrected his career in his last outing when he bested, the highly touted and unbeaten prospect Jhack Tepora, in December 2019. Castro, who is 26-0, last fought in the summer of 2020 when he beat up and stopped veteran Cesar Juarez. #PacquiaoUgas