Pacquiao Wants You To Stay Interested Even Though Spence Is Out

Image Credit: MP Promotions

Eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and WBA Welterweight World Champion Yordenis Ugás previewed their championship showdown during a virtual press conference yesterday.

The two meet in the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View main event Saturday, August 21, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ugás steps up to replace Errol Spence Jr. in the main event, as Spence recovers from an eye injury.

“I want to say that I’m praying for Errol to make a fast recovery from his injury,” said Pacquiao. “Health is always the priority and the most important thing. I did my best in training and in preparation for this fight, so I wanted to make sure my hard work was not wasted.”

Ugás had been preparing to make his first title defense in the co-main event. They will now face the boxing legend Pacquiao in a career-defining fight, defending the same title that Pacquiao won when he defeated Keith Thurman in his last battle in July 2019.

“Ugás was ready to fight and challenge me on August 21. So it’s a great thing that I can show off my hard work in the gym when we face each other on fight night.

“I’m not disappointed at all in what happened because my hard work will not be wasted. Ugás stepped up and is bringing his WBA championship into the fight, which I’m excited to fight for.

“I always consider myself a bipartisan boxer. I am happy to fight either right-handed or southpaw fighters. It’s no problem for me at all to switch the styles that I’m going to face.”

Now that Pacquiao isn’t facing Spence, Jr., the interest has waned for August 21. Immediately, the air burst out of the boxing fan expectation ballon.

“What I can say to the fans is that this is definitely not an easy fight. Ugás is a champion because they gave him my belt. Now, we have to settle it inside of the ring. I cannot take him lightly because he’s the kind of fighter who will take advantage of that.

“I have a lot of people around me that motivate me to win this fight, especially for my family. I’m also very motivated to give the fans a great fight that they’re going to enjoy in the arena or watching on pay-per-view.

“In the end, I want to win the belts. I’m so excited for this championship fight, and I don’t care if I’m the challenger or champion coming into it. We’ll see who is the champion after August 21.”

“I know that Ugás is also very prepared for his fight because he was going to be on the undercard. If there was no Ugás on the undercard, it’s possible we would have cancelled the fight. It’s a good thing we had another welterweight champion on the card for this scenario that happened.

“The only danger for this fight is the change instance. Both Spence and Ugás are aggressive fighters, which I like. We can create a lot of great action in the ring that the fans will love.

“I would tell the fans not to miss this fight. This is going to be a really good one. I’m sure that me and Ugás are going to give a fight full of action. I’m excited to see everyone in Las Vegas on August 21.”

Yordenis Ugàs’ Come Up

“I’m feeling great and super excited to fight on this big stage. I’m ready to go get in the ring on August 21. I couldn’t be more excited for this fight.

“When I got the call that I was going to face one of the best fighters in history, it just pushed my excitement to new highs. I can’t wait to show everyone what I’m capable of.”

WBA Welterweight Champion Yordenis Ugas agreed to replace Spence and defend his title against Pacquiao. Ugas was preparing to make his first title defense against Fabian Maidana in the co-feature of the Spence-Pacquiao card.

“I’m used to taking fights at the last minute. It’s really nothing new to me. Once I knew I was fighting Pacquiao, I got right back to work, because I’m always ready to fight anyone they put in front of me.

“I got elevated to being the WBA champion in January, but now we can say that whoever wins on August 21 is the true WBA Welterweight World Champion.

Being elevated to the main event against boxing legend Pacquiao means Ugas will get a career-defining fight sooner than later.

“It’s all about making adjustments at this point. I’ve had a lot of experience doing this before fights. It’s happened multiple times, so I’m truly prepared at all times to adjust to whatever comes my way.

“Fighting Manny Pacquiao is very significant to me. It means the world to me. I’m not fighting for the money; I’m fighting for my legacy and for my country. This is the most important fight of my life.

“I’m well-aware that Pacquiao is the favorite. But at the same time, I’m a champion. Since I came back five years ago, I’ve overcome so much. I’ve faced so many strong opponents in order to get to where I am today. I have full confidence in myself and my ability to get a victory.”

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 by defeating Abel Ramos last September.

“When I went away from boxing, I was focused on family and spending time with my son. At that time, I never thought I would be defending a title against Manny Pacquiao. But for the past five years, I’ve been one of the most active and successful boxers out there, and I’m ready to prove myself once again.

“I’m a fighter not only inside of the ring but outside of the ring. I fight for the freedom of my people. That’s the most important thing to me. I hope everyone fighting for freedom in Cuba is safe and knows that I’ll be fighting for them on Saturday, August 21.

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 undefeated fighters Jamal James, Omar Figueroa Jr., Bryant Perrella, and veteran contenders Thomas Dulorme and Ray Robinson.

“Underestimating Manny Pacquiao is out of the question. He’s going to be ready. I have prepared to face the best so that I can become the best.

“This is going to be a great fight for all the fans. I’m planning on leaving everything in the ring. I can guarantee an amazing fight. We’re going to give a big gift to the fans on August 21. I’m leaving my heart out there for all my fans.”

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.