BOXING

Manny Pacquiao to fight Yordenis Ugás after Errol Spence Jr's injury

Manny Pacquiao will square up against Yordenis Ugás on 21 August after his scheduled opponent Errol Spence Jr had to withdraw from the pair's title bout.

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Manny Pacquiao to fight Yordenis Ugás after Errol Spence Jr's injury
Michael Owens AFP

Manny Pacquiao will be in the ring for his welterweight title fight on 21 August. However, his scheduled opponent, Errol Spence Jr, will not be strapping on the gloves after withdrawing due to injury on Tuesday afternoon.

Ugás steps in after Spence Jr surgery on retina

Cuban slugger Yordenis Ugás will step in for the injured American boxer, after the Nevada State Athletic Commission was told by medical examiners that Spence Jr had a retinal tear in his right eye.

The 31-year-old boxer underwent surgery on his injured retina on Wednesday, but assured his fans that he would be returning to the ring after getting approval from three different doctors.

Undefeated Spence Jr sends message to fans

"I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on Aug. 21," said Spence, who is undefeated at 27-0. "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.”

Spence took to Twitter to reassure the public that he would be back, declaring: “I came back from worse.” That is no understatement, considering he was in a one-car accent almost two years ago which put him in hospital for a long time. After fully recovering from his injuries, Spence won a unanimous decision over Danny Garcia, which preceded his scheduled fight against the Filipino Senator.

Fortunate timing gives Ugás fight of his life

Pacquiao will now be taking on the sixth ranked boxer in the world at 147 pounds according to ESPN. He was on a collision course to defend his belt against Fabián Maidana in a PBC title fight on the same day. Maidana was injured in a sparring session and was forced to withdraw from the Ugás fight.

Spence Jr is hoping to get a chance at the winner of the Pacquiao-Ugás fight, but there has been nothing cemented in terms of contracts or agreements. Pacquiao will also have his hands full after the fight as he prepares a for a presidential race in the Philippines.

Pacquiao, classy as ever

Pacquiao spoke with reporters after the announcement, saying, "The proper way - and the only way - to win a world title is inside the ring," said the welterweight "... I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence Jr. Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage.”

The 35-year-old Ugás will have just over a week to prepare for the fight of his life. He has only been in one other title fight, which came back in 2019 when he lost a controversial decision to Shawn Porter. "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," he said.

Pacquiao heavy favorite early on

“Pac Man” last fought in July 2019 when he defeated Kieth Thurman to take the WBA belt. In Manny’s absence the WBA recognized Ugás as its champion. Pacquiao was posted as a -300 favorite in the odds makers' eyes in the opening line for the fight.