The world will have to wait for Pacquiao vs. Spence.
The unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence, Jr. withdrew from his blockbuster showdown with eight-division and former welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao on Saturday, August 21, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas due to a retinal tear in his left eye.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) August 10, 2021
WBA Welterweight Champion Yordenis Ugas will replace Spence and defend his title against Pacquiao, who won that title when he defeated Keith Thurman in his last fight in July 2019.
“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on August 21,” Spence said. “I was excited about the fight and the event.
“Unfortunately, the doctors found a tear in my left eye and said I needed to get surgery on it ASAP and that there was no way I could fight with my eye in that condition. I’d like to apologize to everyone. You know I’ll be back as soon back soon. We’ve come back from worse.”
Errol Spence Jr. has withdrawn from the Aug. 21 fight with Manny Pacquiao due to a torn retina in his eye.
Pacquiao is now scheduled to fight Yordenis Ugas for the WBA welterweight title. pic.twitter.com/swsikZhmC9
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 10, 2021
Ugas was preparing to make his first title defense against Fabian Maidana in the co-feature of the Spence-Pacquiao card. Being elevated to the main event against boxing legend, Pacquiao means Ugas will get a career-defining fight sooner rather than later.
On Monday, Spence discovered a torn retina during a pre-fight medical examination by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in Las Vegas. He flew back home to Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday and will have surgery to repair the tear on Wednesday.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol Spence Jr forced to withdraw from fight with Manny Pacquiao due to a retinal tear in his left eye 🚨
Yordenis Ugas will step up to replace Spence and will defend his WBA title against Pacquiao on August 21 pic.twitter.com/mcOtpsgVdh
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) August 10, 2021
However, Spence expects to make a full recovery and return to the ring.
“First and foremost, I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence Jr.,” Pacquiao said. “Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage. I have agreed to fight Yordenis Ugas on August 21 for the WBA welterweight super championship. The proper way and the only way to win a world title is inside the ring.”
“It’s an unfortunate turn of events that Errol has a retinal tear and subsequent surgery has prevented him from participating in this big pay-per-view event. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to the ring,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “We’re excited that Manny has agreed to move forward and Ugas has stepped up to defend his title against the man who once held the title. Ugas was in the co-feature and had been preparing to fight on this date, so he’s ready. It’s a major challenge, because now he has to make his first title defense against a boxing legend in a career-defining fight.”
BREAKING: Errol Spence Jr. is out of the Manny Pacquiao fight next week due to a torn retina in his left eye. Yordenis Ugas, who was on the undercard defending his welterweight title, will step in and take his place. #boxing #PacquiaoSpence #PacquiaoUgas
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) August 10, 2021
The 35-year-old Ugás (26-4, 12 KOs) has established himself as an elite welterweight since returning from a layoff in 2016 and was elevated to world champion in January after winning a WBA Championship belt defeating Abel Ramos last September.
Ugás, from Santiago, Cuba, and now lives in Miami, Florida, was on an eight-fight winning streak before losing a narrow split-decision to Shawn Porter in a world title fight in March 2019. The Olympic bronze medalist trains in Las Vegas and owns victories over then-undefeated fighters Jamal James, Omar Figueroa Jr., and Bryant Perrella, plus veteran contenders Thomas Dulorme and Ray Robinson.
“It’s an honor to fight the great multiple division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, as I am more than ready to take on this challenge,” Ugas said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight. I’ve been in camp working hard with my coach Ismael Salas and I know together we will come up with a masterful game plan to combat anything Manny will bring to the ring. I wish Errol Spence Jr. a speedy recovery, and I want to ensure the fans that I will be at my best for this fight.”
“Everyone knows my story about how I came to America to follow my dreams of becoming a world champion, and now it’s time to stamp my legacy with a victory, as one of the best Cuban fighters to ever put on a pair of gloves. I love my country, and I want to dedicate this fight to all the men and women who are fighting for freedom.”
Errol Spence would have been Manny Pacquiao’s toughest test to date as he still reigns as the boogeyman of the welterweight division. However, Pacquiao wants to fight Spence, Jr., after Ugas, although the streets are still clamoring for Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford.
Crawford is the current WBO welterweight champion.