WBA World Champion Yordenis Ugás Honored with the “Key to the City” of Miami

Image Credit: Lester Silva

WBA Welterweight World Champion Yordenis Ugás was honored with the “Key to the City” of Miami by Mayor Francis Suarez. Appropriately, the ceremony took place yesterday afternoon during a ceremony at Mayor Suarez’s office.

Amazingly, Ugás defeated legendary eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao on August 21, 2021. In addition, he retained his title in a fight viewed by millions on pay-per-view.

“Ugás could have used that platform to talk about himself,” said Mayor Suarez. “Instead, he highlighted the oppression, the brutal dictatorship in Cuba. That’s something that we have to be eternally grateful for.

“He is more, in that sense, an activist than he is a fighter. And I think that’s really impressive. I knew at that moment that I had to invite him and give him the key to the city. He earned it.”

Native Son

“It brings me great joy that I was presented with the Key to the City of Miami by Mayor Suarez,” said Ugás. “I had a great victory against a boxing legend like Manny Pacquiao, and I was able to bring attention to the oppression my people back home in Cuba are dealing with.

“I will always fight for freedom, not only for my countrymen in Cuba, but those being oppressed all over the world. I’m grateful to all my fans who have been with me from the beginning. Today was a great day from me and I will forever be thankful.”

Yordenis Ugas shone brightly on the biggest of stages.

In addition, a sold out crowd of 17,438 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas watched event. Subsequently, the underdog Ugas outbox and out-fight the great Manny Pacquiao. He won a 12-round unanimous decision to retain his WBA Welterweight World title. The event was the main event of an August 21st FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view.

However, Ugas used his size, strength, and length to keep Pacquiao guessing. He slowly wore down boxing’s only eight-division champ to win decisively.

Pacquiao, 42 (67-8-2, 39 KOs), promised a fast start. He lived up to his word in the first, darting in and out with combinations. Unfazed, the 35-year-old Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) maintained.

“The right hand was a shot I had planned to use on Manny,” said Ugas. “It kept working so I kept using it.”

The History Books

Ultimately, the triumphant Ugas raised in his arms in victory as the bell sounded.

“In the future, you may not see Manny Pacquiao in the ring,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t know. Let me rest first, relax and make a decision if I’ll continue to fight or not.”

“He’s a legend, one of the greatest fighters that ever lived,” Ugas said of Pacquiao. “I’ll always respect him not only as a great fighter but outside the ring. I also admire that he fights for his country, as I do. I want to free Cuba.”

Ugás joins an elite club of athletes that have received this distinction in South Florida. He now takes his place among luminaries and past recipients.

Florida Marlins pitcher and World Series champion Livan Hernández, NBA Champions Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O´Neal have received the honor.

Ain addition, global music superstars Shakira and Jennifer López and actor Will Smith have been honored through the years.

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.