If this was Manny Pacquiao’s last fight, he was determined to go out in style with a win. The only problem was his opponent, Yordenis Ugas had a victory on his mind as well.
But when all was said and done, Ugas won a unanimous decision to keep his WBC welterweight championship belt. The scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112.
There were no knockdowns in the fight, although Pacquiao was tripped in the first round. Pacquiao was fighting Ugas only because his original opponent, Errol Spence, suffered an eye injury.
“I’m very excited, I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in the ring today,” Ugas said. “He’s a great competitor. But I came in to show who I am. I have respect for him.”
Pacquiao was noncommittal on whether it was his last fight or not.
“I don’t know,” he said.
In the early rounds, Pacquiao did what he does, coming in with quick bursts to try and overwhelm his opponent.
The problem was that Ugas, with two inches of reach advantage, was laying back and effectively countering. And the counters were the bigger shots between the two.
In the seventh round, Ugas started taking control of the fight. Pacquiao’s bursts weren’t finding their mark when he could even find a way in around Ugas’ left jab.
In the 10th, Pacquiao started fast, but Ugas weathered the attack. Late in the round, Ugas landed two jabs and a big right hand that backed Pacquiao up.
Midway through the 11th round, Ugas connected with a big left hook as Pacquiao continued to come up short on his combinations.
Both fighters came out and battled toe-to-toe in the 12th, but it was more of the same as Pacquiao could do no damage against Ugas’ defense.
Manny Pacquiao, General Santos, Philippines, fell to 67-8-2, while Ugas, of Santiago, Cuba, is now 27-4.
“My plan is to unify the title,” Ugas said.
The undercard of possibly Pacquiao’s last fight
• Robert Guerrero, of Gilroy, California, won a unanimous decision against Victor Ortiz, of Garden City, Kansas, in a bout featuring two multiple division world champions. All three judges scored the fight 96-94. Guerrero raised his record to 37-6-1 (20 KOs) while Ortiz fell to 32-7-3.
• Mark Magsayo connected on a straight right that sent Julio Ceja reeling into the ropes 50 seconds into the 10th round and then Ceja caught another right hand while coming off the ropes that sent him tot he canvas for good.
Magsayo, of Tagbilaran, Phillipines, landed a left hook in early in the first round that sent Ceja, of Atizapan de Zaragoza. Mexico, down. Ceja (32-5-1) came back with a knockdown of his own at the end of the fifth round. Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOs) claimed the WBO International featherweight title with the win, which was also a WBC Featherweight title eliminator bout.
• Carlos Castro, of Phoenix, knocked out Oscar Escandon, of Ibague, Colombia, at the 1:08 mark of the 10th round in a featherweight bout. Castro (27-0, 12 KOs) landed a straight right hand and followed it up with a flurry of punches sending Escandon (26-6) to his knees.